PCM FAQs

Here is a list of questions that have been asked by previous PCM students. Note: The questions/answers that are located in a cell with a background color have ’semester specific’ information.

Click here for the Rationale of the PCM Attendance Policy.

Q: I already have an ALEKS account. Can I still use this account for Pre-Core Mathematics?
A: Yes. But you may have to extend your ALEKS subscription for your account. When you log into your account, you will be told immediately if your account is expired.
Q: I’m trying to enlarge the ALEKS calculator. It doesn’t seem to enlarge with the built-in browser zoom. What can I do?

A: Option 1: Lower the resolution on the computer. You can do this by right-clicking on the desktop and adjusting the resolution. This increases the size of everything on the computer (calculator included). Option 2: Windows Magnifier. You can use the windows magnifying glass feature which can be found in the control panel.
Q: Where do I get help with my math outside of class?
A: The class meetings are valuable because they provide immediate help when you have trouble with a concept. Outside of class, you have options too. There is a free math tutoring lab, MAC I in DKSN 600. There are directions listed on the bulletin board as you walk through our classroom door.
TIP: If you just plan to ‘do your math’ in the MAC, then you’ll have immediate help like the classroom.
Q: I moved from an even module to an odd module (YEAH), but now I don’t see the time log into the even module. Do I need to start my 6 hours over for the week?
A: No. When you are successful on an even module assessment, we move you to another MyPie to continue working on the next odd module. When this happens, you no longer see your time/topics from the previous MyPie. Don’t worry, I do see the information and use it towards your weekly attendance hours. But I know it’s important for you to know these hours too. SO>>>>here’s my current solution until the ALEKS people are able to show us another way. BEFORE you take a proctored assessment on an even module, check your time for the current attendance week. Then you can estimate the amount of time you spent on the assessment and add it.
Q: Can I use a handheld calculator?
A: No. Remember, you should only be using the ALEKS calculator. We will remind you in class, but it’s up to you to refrain from using a handheld calculator outside of class. If you don’t practice using the ALEKS calculator, it’s an additional stress when you come to us for a proctored assessment. Learn to use it! Hint, if you turn the number lock on the keyboard, you can use the keyboard numbers and arithmetic keys instead of totally using the mouse.
Q: I wasn’t able to attend class because I was sick. Will it count as an attendance strike?
A: The classroom facilitator is the person who manages classroom attendance and awards attendance strikes for missing class. According to the syllabus, students can earn an excused absence with an official doctor’s excuse. If you have a doctor’s excuse, you should give it to your classroom facilitator asap. When the doctor’s note is received, the attendance strike will be removed.
Q: I wasn’t able to attend class because …. . Will it count as an attendance strike?
A: Missing class for reasons not supported by a doctor’s note will count as a attendance strike. Yes, if you get a flat tire on the way to campus and miss class, it will count as an attendance strike. This is why one attendance strike doesn’t have consequences. An accumulation of attendance strikes will be a problem. So, don’t miss class because ‘you just don’t feel like going today.’
Q: I was only short by 3 minutes for the required work hours. Will it count as an attendance strike?
A: Yes. I am the person who manages the required ALEKS work hours and award attendance strikes for logging in less than six hours. And six hours is six hours. Five hours and 59 minutes is not six hours. Be sure you are not waiting until the deadline is close to try to finish your hours. The ALEKS server clock may be different from your computer clock. The time I record is the login time that ALEKS gives me…which you can check in ALEKS yourself.
Q: My internet went out on Tuesday and I wasn’t able to get the required hours. OR I had three exams this week in my other classes. Will it count as an attendance strike?
A: Yes. It would be wise to work four or five days each week building a routine…and not wait until Tuesday to log in lots of hours. Technology issues do arise and may cause you to get an attendance strike. Exams will happen in other classes…but you still have this class to work on too. Again, this is why one attendance strike doesn’t have consequences. An accumulation of attendance strikes is a problem.
Q: When are the work hours recorded? What is a “work week for our class”?
A: For the current semester, click here to be directed to the page with the handout of important dates for the semester which includes the list for the start/end of each of “our weeks.”
Q: I have completed Modules 5 & 6 and made a 100% on the goal ‘pop-up’ assessment. Can I move on to Modules 7 & 8 without having to take the proctored assessment on Modules 5 & 6?
A: No. Every student is required to take a proctored module assessment to earn credit for the modules. Otherwise, there is no way of know who completed the work. This is how the integrity of the PCM program is maintained.
Q: My work schedule has changed and I am no longer able to attend the class that I am register for. May I just not go to class and work the six hours from home?
A: No. Class attendance is required for all students unless they are registered for the totally online section of Pre-Core Mathematics. And you may not be moved to the totally online section because they have other procedures that have been established with their facilititator. BUT you can contact the PCM Coordinator to see if there is room in another section for you to transfer to and attend class at an alternative time that fits with your schedule.
Q: I only earned credit for one/two modules this semester…not three to earn a passing grade. Will I have to repeat these modules?
A: No. When you earn credit for a module, your PCM record will reflect this credit independently from earning a passing grade for a PCM class.
Q: I am needing help with math but I don’t have class for a few days. Where can I get help?
A: You have several options to get help with issues related to math concepts. #1: Email your classroom facilitator. Be sure to provide them with enough detail to answer your questions. #2: Visit the tutoring labs. Tutoring is free to UALR students. For location and hours, click here for the information about the Math Lab.
Q: Can I keep working on ALEKS after the semester is over and then register for a credited math class next semester?
A: ALEKS is available to individuals. Individual accounts can be set up from the main ALEKS website. But the only way to use our module setup in ALEKS and earn PCM credit for modules is to be registered for a PCM class at UALR. Completing the PCM program is the recommended path for students to prepare for College Algebra and QMR. The record for success in the college credit courses is higher when students complete preparations using the mastery learning approach.
All students have the option to take the COMPASS test at UALR testing services to place into College Algebra or QMR. But this is not the recommended path. The COMPASS test has a lower threshold for success in College Algebra and QMR…meaning students placing into College Algebra or QMR using the COMPASS test have a lower chance of success in those course.
Q: What is the rationale behind the attendance policy?
The attendance policy was established to assist students in establishing good study habits to be successful in this course and future college courses. PCM class attendance is required to ensure students have a certain amount of time each week in their schedule where they have access to a math tutor and the opportunity to reflect on progress in the course with a facilitator. PCM work requirements are crucial to making progress through the material. But it’s more than just “hours logged into ALEKS”, it’s consistent quality math learning that leads to success. ALEKS keeps track of your interaction with the mathematics but you must make the interaction productive learning. ALEKS records the math interaction and displays it to you on the Time and Topic report. This is the official recording of your time for the attendance policy requirements.
Q: ALEKS isn’t recording all my time. Is there a glitch
in the time/topic report?
A: No. I will say without hesitation, ALEKS records math activity accurately. If there was any question, it wouldn’t be used as part of the attendance policy. When a student has questioned the validity of the time/topic report, the PCM coordinator has responded to each student individually and shared with them the details of their math activity to verify the time recorded by ALEKS. We are able to see the problems worked, answers entered, and able to detect when math activity was interrupted. There has never been an instance where the time wasn’t accurate. Typically, a student will forget they they walked away (or turned to another study subject or answered a phone call) for an amount of time they were ‘calculating’ as part of their math time. But ALEKS recorded math activity. These individual detailed responses have been taking more of my time each day. If the information increased a student’s understanding of math, the time spent would be worth it. But this is not the case. So, no more email responses will be given to these requests questioning the time recorded by ALEKS anymore. ALEKS is the official time keeper! Students are welcome to visit the PCM coordinator’s office to discuss the information in person.
Q: I am trying to register for a PCM class but it is full. How can I get into the class?
A: Full class overrides can only be given by the instructor on record. Typically, this is not a common practice. For the campus classes, the available seats are limited by the number of computers in the class. For the totally online sections, the seats are limited to allow the teacher the time to communicate with each student individually. The best advice is to watch closely for an open seat. Students regularly change their schedule and a seat may become available to add to your schedule.
Q: An assessment just popped up. What should I do?
A: Stop and study. Each assessment is extremely important to inform ALEKS of your progress on the material. Even though the pop-up assessments aren’t monitored, you should treat it like a test. Do not get help on a single question in any way. ALEKS needs to know what you remember. Before taking it, READ the assessment directions presented to you in ALEKS.
Click here to return to the Pre-Core Mathematics Program home.