MATH 001: Introductory Algebra
Semester: Fall 2005, Room: MRC 312, Times: MWRF 10:00-10:50 am
Instructor: Richard J. Maresh, Associate Professor, Dept. of Mathematics
Contact Information: Office: MRC 521, Phone: 796-3655, Office Hours: MWF 12-1, R 12-2 or by appt.
Final Exam: Wednesday, 14 Dec 2005, 7:40-9:40 am
Course Description: Real number system, order of operations. Algebraic problem solving, solving linear equations. Cartesian coordinate system, graphs of equations. Exponents and radicals. Factoring polynomials, solving equations by factoring. Credits not applicable toward graduation. Four Credits.
Note: This course serves as a pre-requisite for MATH 110 (College Algebra), MATH 130 (Introductory Statistics), or MATH 155 (Mathematics, A Way of Thinking). You must earn at least a “C” grade to qualify for the next course in your sequence.
Text: Introductory Algebra: A Real-World Approach. 2nd Edition. By Ignacio Bello. (McGraw-Hill, 2006)
Course Goals and Student Outcomes:
1. Students will demonstrate their readiness for learning algebra.
(a) Students will take ALEKS assessment.
(b) Students will work through pre-algebra ALEKS modules indicated as necessary.
2. Students will improve their mastery of algebraic skills.
(a) Students will take ALEKS assessment of algebra knowledge and skills.
(b) Students will work through the ALEKS modules indicated as necessary.
(c) Students will take indicated exams to demonstrate their learning.
3. Students will develop their ability to apply algebraic thinking and procedures to problem solving.
(a) Students will work through the ALEKS modules that focus on problem solving.
Course Procedures and Policies:
MATH 001: Math 001, “Introductory Algebra”, is a not-for-graduation-credit course intended to prepare students for the various courses for which 001 is a pre-requisite, namely MATH 110 (College Algebra), MATH 130 (Introductory Statistics), and MATH 155 (Mathematics, A Way of Thinking). The material is essentially the first year of algebra, which would typically be taken in high school, which explains why this course is numbered 001, and why the 4 credits you will earn here do not count toward graduation, even though they do count toward full-time status.
Your placement score indicated that you have not mastered this content, whatever the reason. Our job here is to make the best of the situation, to finally learn this material and master the necessary skills so that you can be successful in the courses you eventually need to take as part of your college program. In an ideal world, no one would need this course – they would have learned it the first time around – but since that isn’t the case we just have to do what is necessary to ensure your success in the long run.
ALEKS: ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is a web-based program designed to carefully assess what students know and what they are ready to learn, and then to methodically tutor them in the given material, in this case Introductory Algebra.
Probably the best thing about ALEKS is that it allows each student to take a course specifically designed for their needs – each student in the class will be working at their own pace and working on material they are ready to learn. The implication of this is that I will not be “lecturing” on textbook sections the way you might be used to seeing. My role as instructor here is to monitor your learning and to engage in individual tutoring as the need arises.
Another advantage to using ALEKS is that since it is web-based you can work on your course at your convenience. ALEKS will remember where you left off and will always make sure that you have shown readiness before presenting new material.
By the way, even though you will be expected to do a considerable amount of ALEKS work on your own time, it is very important to understand that it is important to DO YOUR OWN WORK! If you get someone else to do the work you will only be frustrated when ALEKS thinks you know more than you do and starts asking questions you are not ready for. Also the exams must be taken on your own so having someone work through the online material for you will not help your performance on those exams, and hence on your grade for the course.
Textbook: The textbook we will be using is published by McGraw-Hill, who also handles ALEKS for institutions of higher education. Our text has been precisely integrated with ALEKS, so that you can use your book for explanations, worked examples and practice problems as we move our way through the course material.
Attendance: A major factor in learning mathematics is a regular and focused schedule of practice. Can you imagine learning to play the piano by only practicing a few minutes a week! You need to practice virtually every day, and for considerable time each day. It takes the same sort of discipline to solidly learn algebra.
My attendance policy is given below. Because it is so important that you put in the time, I have a system that rewards regular attendance. On the other hand, I think a person who has missed 5 classes has demonstrated a clear lack of focus and discipline and should be dropped from the course.
In general I will not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, although I do consider absences due to participation in a school event, such as an athletic trip or a theatrical production, to NOT be “absences”. In this case, however, it is still important that you put in the extra time to catch up.
Number of Absences Points
ALEKS Time: ALEKS keeps track of how much time you have put in
as well as how much progress you have made. I will be using your ALEKS time as part of the grading scheme, as summarized below. Each week there will be a grade assigned based on the time you have spent working on ALEKS over the previous week.
ALEKS hours this week Points
8 or more +5
7 or more +4
6 or more +2
5 or more +1
less than 5 -2
The times INCLUDE the 4 hours spent in class, so that 9 hours for 5 points means you would need to work five hours outside of class to earn those points. In general college students are expected to work 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class. I have made this number a little smaller because I am trying to build in some time for studying the text book.
Some people will need more time to learn the material that others – life is not fair and some people learn things more quickly than others. I do expect each of you, however, to put in roughly 12 total hours per week working on learning the material. This does mean that some of you who are farther along than others might end up finishing the course at some point during the semester! ALEKS will tell you how far along you are and some of you will have a starting point farther along than others.
By the way, there are several “short weeks” this fall. Labor Day (9/5) week and Mid-semester break (10/21) week have only three class meetings rather than four, so these two weeks the 9-8-7-6 will become 7-6-5-4. Thanksgiving (11/24) week is very short, only 1 class meeting, on Monday; this week the numbers are 3 hrs = 5 points, 2 hours = 3 points, 1 hour = 1 point
Exams: ALEKS has the ability to construct exams at points indicated by the instructor. I tell ALEKS what material I want covered and the program constructs problems that test understanding of that material. I plan to ask ALEKS to give you an exam after you have completed every other ALEKS topic section, as numbered on the ALEKS page included here. Thus, after you have completed sections 1 and 2 you will have an exam, then after sections 3 and 4, after sections 5 and 6, and finally after sections 7 and 8. These exams will all be taken on line but you will have to take these in the classroom so that they will be supervised. It is important to know that you are actually able to do your own work.
You will also take a paper and pencil exam of my design at midterm and during finals week. I imagine that some of you will not be on schedule and this will no doubt affect your performance on these two exams, but then part of success in a course is learning the material within a designated amount of time.
Grading System: At present, and I want to reserve the right to make adjustments to this system as the semester wears on, I see your grade being determined by these four factors:
(1) Attendance: 25 points possible;
(2) Time: 75 points possible (15 weeks x 5 points possible per week);
(3) ALEKS exams: 200 points possible (4 exams x 50 points each);
(4) ALEKS modules completed: 200 possible (1 point per module);
(5) Mid-term and final: 200 points possible (100 for mid-term, 100 for final)
This makes for a total of 750 points. Grades will be assigned according to the scale: A = 90% or higher, B = 80% or higher, C = 70% or higher, D = 60% or higher. You also need to complete at least 160, or 80%, of the ALEKS topics to pass the course. You need at least a “C” grade to be allowed to advance to the next course in your sequence.
Schedule: Because ALEKS allows students to work at their individual pace you will be at a variety of places in the material throughout the semester. Still, in order to pass the course and move into the subsequent course you will need to finish the material within the semester’s time constraints.
It is possible that some of you will actually complete the ALEKS course before the calendar indicates the semester is over, and that’s fine. I will still have you take the final exam with the rest of the class on 14 December. And it is possible that some of you may reach December without completing the material. ALEKS offers a guarantee that if you put in a reasonable amount of time during the semester and do not pass the course your license to use ALEKS can be extended so that you can continue to work on finishing the course during the following semester – in this case you will be given a grade of “I” (Incomplete) so that you can work on completing the course during the next semester. Of course, this is far from ideal since it means you could not yet enroll in the course you need to take for your major, so it should be your goal to see that that does not occur.
Americans with Disabilities Act: If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services, or other accommodations for this class, please see me and/or Wayne Wojciechowski, the campus ADA coordinator (MC 335, 796-3085), within ten days to discuss your needs.
Your textbook should come with a username and password so that you can log onto ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces). Then to be enrolled in my specific course you need the course code, which will be given in class.
The first day of class you will each log in and we will take a look at the basics of using ALEKS. I will ask you to work your way through the tutorial so that you become familiar with how to enter mathematical expressions. Then on the second day of class I will have you take the initial ALEKS assessment to get a baseline rating of your skills and readiness for the material in this course.
ALEKS keeps track (and lets your instructor see the results as well) of how much you have mastered and what you are ready for. We have designed the syllabus by slightly modifying the standard ALEKS version of “Beginning Algebra” (adding or dropping a few topics), and the Viterbo version of MATH 001 now includes 202 individual topics.
Our basic course outline:
1. Arithmetic Readiness [Text: Chapter R]
Whole numbers (28 topics)
Proportions and percents (9)
Integers and signed numbers (9)
2. Real Numbers [Text: Chapter 1]
Number systems (2)
Substitution and evaluation (2)
Algebraic symbols (4)
Properties of real numbers (5)
3. Solving Linear Equations [Text: Chapter 2]
One occurrence of the variable (8)
Several occurrences of the variable (5)
4. Graphing and Functions [Text: Chapter 3, 7]
Ordered pairs (4)
5. Exponents and Polynomials [Text: Chapter 4, 5]
Properties of exponents (9)
Quadratic polynomials (8)
Special formulas (2)
Multivariable polynomials (4)
6. Rational Expressions [Text: Chapter 6]
Simplifying expressions (8)
Solving equations (4)
7. Systems of Linear Equations [Text: Chapter 8]
Linear equations (1)
8. Radicals and Quadratic Equations [Text: Chapter 9, 10]
Radicals and rational expressions
Simplifying expressions (10)
Solving equations (4)
Solving equations (3)