COLLEGE ALGEBRA SYLLABUS

MTH 160.006 for Fall 1999

4 CREDIT HOUR

Instructor: William V. Thayer


St. Louis Community College at Meramec

Section information:
MTH 160.006 meeting on Mon., Tue., Wed., & Fri. from 10 to 10:50 p.m. in CN 128

Campus Hours and Office Telephone 314 984 7866 or Home Telephone 821 5299
    Office hours Mon., Tue., Wed., & Fri. from 8:45 to 10:00 a.m. in SW 218
    Office hours Mon., Wed., & Fri. from 12 to 1:00 p.m. in SW 218
    Office hours Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 12:30 p.m. in SW 218
    Office hours Monday and Wednesday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. in SW 218
    or by appointment with the exception of department meetings, campus meetings or:

MAJOR - MerAmec Juggling ORganization - on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    meeting in the Student Center Quadrangle or Student Center.
    Juggling Club Web Page URL http://www.jug/wt/major.htm

StLCC @ Meramec Web Pages URL http://www.stlcc.cc.mo.us/mcdocs/

Check with the math secretary if I am not in my office when you are free. You may also use email thayer@jug.net or my Web URL http://www.jug.net/wt to contact me for help or information.

PREQUISITE: MTH 140 with C, B or A or a satisfactory score on the placement test. Students from other institutions must provide appropriate documentation for enrollment to the instructor on or before Aug. 27, 1999.

COLLEGE ALGEBRA COURSE INTENT: This course is intended for students whose choice of academic fields requires a college level algebra course in preparation for mathematics used in such fields. This section will require the use of a TI-83 graphing calculator to help learn the topics of this course and on tests. Each student may check a TI-83 out of the library while enrolled in the course.

ALTERNATIVE COURSE: EARTH ALGEBRA - College Algebra with Applications to Environmental Issues" by Schaufele and Zumoff taught in MTH 155 Survey of Col. Math. may serve your needs for a college algebra mathematics course if you do not wish to major in science areas. Please confer with the Mathematics Deptartment Chairperson.

MTH 160 TEXTBOOK: COLLEGE ALGEBRA Graphs and Models by Bittinger, Beecher, Ellenbogen, and Penna

TIME ON COURSE: The four class hours, field trips and special projects time you spend on this course will require about fourteen homework hours per week for high grades to around eight hours per week for passing grades. It is best to construct a time schedule for each week of the course and mark out the study time you plan that gives you the needed ten to fifteen hours indicated above. This commitment is a pledge you make for yourself to "BE ALL YOU CAN BE" for the obligation you have undertaken to learn this mathematics.

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS: TI-83 "Graphing Calculator Manual" for the above textbook by Judith A. Penna and graph paper.

ADDITIONAL STUDY AIDS: Before the end of the first week take the Skills Test for beginning College Algebra found on pages 2-7 in the Mathematics Department's Syllabus. You should get 20 to 25 questions right or else consider repeating Intermediate Algebra to master necessary skills for College Algebra.

The student answer key has more than the answers.

Computer software may be used in SW 109 and I will help you with this mathematics software when needed.

After the first week our mathematics department tutors located in room SW 211 can help you and some library materials are available. Tutoring is also offered at the South County Education Center and the West County Education Center. To obtain individual peer tutoring through the College Success Program, contact Kathy Rose in the Administration Building, Room 232 (984-7571). Instructional videotapes (VL#--) are available for use in the Library Learning Lab.

Please consider HAVING TROUBLE WITH MATHEMATICS ideas on page 15 and read SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO STUDY MATH on page 14 of the Mathematics Department's Syllabus.

Please see me as soon as possible for any personal accommodations you require.

CHAUTAUQUA

TYPICAL CLASS PERIOD: The first part of class time is open for answering student questions about the previous assignment including exercises, reading material, or classroom notes. Add your questions to the class day's START UP LIST. You are encouraged to help answer other student's questions or show your solutions by presenting chalk board work. While presenting information is expected, this communication is not graded. Use this time to experiment with your ability to understand an exercise and convey your understanding to others. Subtract your contribution of board work from the START UP LIST as you put work on the board with your first name next to the section and problem numbers. Your frequent involvement will help you practice many of the activities covered in your general and specific goals covered later in this syllabus and generally aid your understanding of the problems of the course. Don't worry about mistakes you may make, that's included in this part. In fact, the first student that finds and reports a given textbook or answer key mistake on the day's attendance sheet may have extra credit for that discovery.

Another part of class is used to introduce new material with examples, discussion and demonstrations or proofs. I assume that prior to the class in which new material is introduced that you took notes as you read from the new textbook sections and practiced the new vocabulary.

You may wish to include the textbook examples in your class questions of new material as your instructor will cover these ideas and concepts and do additional examples.

Some class time is spent with all students working at the chalk board, some class time is spent working in teams and some class time is spent in the computer room SW 109.

TEAM ACTIVITIES: Some class time is devoted to team work aimed at a deeper understanding of some course topics or their applications. Your instructor will assign you to a team and assign team coordinators. Sometimes a grade may result from this team work. When working on a team, students are to think for themselves treating the instructor as a guide, consultant, coach and evaluator to the team. Always try to approach your team time with a knowledgeable position based on your personal studies. During team activity, you should display a willingness to generate discussion that leads to answers or more refined questions that converge to solutions to your team assignment.

You may be in the dark on some points but being open to change and willing to communicate your points even if mistaken at first helps the team toward the final goals while helping you toward greater clarity. At times we need team work to derive all the answers or computations in some assignments. And other times teams provide a natural background for discussion of the material and presentation of solutions. You are expected to help your team reach reasonable objectives on time and demonstrate to me that you are participating on your team in a meaningful way. Also, teams may wish to work as a study group covering daily assignments. This can be implemented via your telephone or computer networking.

Individual communication is not permitted in class. Please note that individual communication is not very productive while another person is speaking in a group or class room situation.

EXPECTATIONS: This syllabus including its Course Schedule (below), the Mathematics Department's Syllabus including Assignment Sheets on pages 12-13, College Algebra Objectives on pages 7-11, and Policies on page 16 combined with the St. Louis Community College Fall 1999 Fact Finder student handbook gives you the relevant course, student academic rights and responsibilities, and study guide information. These items will give you a sense of the quality that your instructor works to achieve in this course. Please see me as soon as possible for any personal accommodations you require and please keep in mind that: The quickest way to resolve any difficulty, no matter how small, is to let your instructor know about it as soon as possible.

SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS: You are expected to read the textbook and take notes from the textbook before the class in which the material is covered. Add to these notes or take separate notes covering the new material and activities in each class. Then, finish each assigned exercise, see the Department's Syllabus pages 15-16 or do ALL ODDS, for the following class except perhaps a few of the more difficult exercises that you should ask about in the next class and then finish. Put your list of studied but unsolved problems on the class day's START UP LIST. Definitely ask for individual help when needed particularly if you can not work large portions of the exercises. Review processes you used to solve home work exercises and practice vocabulary each day. Remember that you want to stay on top of your work and be able to adequately prepare for the unit test coming in a few days. This generally means you need to develop a dogged attitude with more than several hours per day spent on solving exercises, keeping good notes from the text and class, and doing plenty of daily reviewing likely including some daily memorization. Give yourself a short test of five problems each day! Use your personal weekly study schedule sheet to keep track of finished work and extra credit points. If you need help, I am located in the mathematics department during office hours or you may call my home telephone number before 8:30 PM. This course takes lots of gumption.


SOME GENERAL GOALS: Learning in this course may be enhanced by your frequent willingness to use and thereby improve:

    1. your ability to define and skill at defining terms, expressions, processes, operations, and strategies;

    2. your ability to listen, read, speak and write with vocabulary skills essential for progress in mathematics;

    3. your understanding of the general application of definitions and concepts and your energy in applying definitions and concepts to your basic areas of interest;

    4. your skill in computing accurately and efficiently with and without calculators or computers;

    5. your ability to recognize mathematics as a way of thinking and speaking about quantities, qualities, measures, and qualitative and quantitative relationships and to extend beyond to a level where you model your applications;

    6. your ability to use mathematics to gather data, to present and interpret this data, to read and understand mathematics reports, charts, graphs, and accounts with and without modern technology;

    7. your ability to use a general problem solving technique and incorporate computer and graphing calculator technology to facilitate problem solving;

    8. your understanding of the logical structure of a mathematical proof: both formal and informal and both deductive and inductive. Also, your understanding of the logical structure of subject areas within mathematics, and the logical structure of mathematics as a useful part of an individual's philosophy. Make these types of your logical structures meaningful;

    9. your ability to demonstrate mental traits such as visualization, curiosity, imagination, creativity, and play related to each concept and strategy to promote understanding and problem solving;

    10. your ability to develop attitudes that lead to appreciation, confidence, respect, initiative, and independence for yourself and foster the same for other individuals;

    11. your "preparation for" and "ability to" work with others in group activities and problem solving situations with an understanding of group dynamics for innovative decision making as well as conditions of "groupthink" that lead group problem solving astray.

within your individual studies, during small group interaction, through all class activities and in your community.*

Consider the above list as you strive for excellence in understanding mathematical ideas and develop corresponding techniques. Add more activities or general goals by experimenting with new ones that may help you increase learning or make learning more meaningful and pleasant. Reorganize your methods and even style of learning for deeper understanding and interest. Pursue the lines of inquiry that you find your mind selects naturally while not diverging from the outline of course material too far. It is OK to spend large amounts of time studying just a few ideas, pages, or problems and as a matter of fact this is YOUR MAGIC for learning mathematics. Also give yourself personal permission for making lots of mistakes. Use the criterion of "when time seems to flow" as your gauge for individual development to realize a sense of accomplishment then personal complexity may change as well. Don't get stuck or stay stuck! Help yourself to be an expressive engaged learner, that is, "be all you can be".


* Keep pencil and learning journal, log, personal weekly study schedule sheet or just plain scratch paper next to you and actively fill in the details of ideas that lack continuity.


SOME INITIAL SPECIFIC ALGEBRA GOALS: Know and apply these algebra properties and new ones to everything. Assume that p is any real number, q is any real number and r is any real number.

NUMBER OPERATIONS:

PROPERTY // ADDITION // MULTIPLICATION

CLOSURE
p+q is a real number and pq is a real number.

COMMUTATIVE
p+q = q+p // pq = qp

ASSOCIATIVE
p+(q+r) = (p+q)+r // p(qr) = (pq)r

IDENTITY
p+0 = p = 0+p // p1 = p = 1p

INVERSE (0 is not equal to 1)
p+(-p) = 0 // p(1/p) = 1

DISTRIBUTIVE (FACTORING OF COLLECTING SIMILAR TERMS)
p(q+r) = pq+pr

ZERO PRODUCT
0p = p0 =0

FACTORS OF ZERO (WHEN THEY EXIST)
pq = 0 implies p = 0 or q = 0

NUMBER RELATIONS:

PROPERTY // EQUALITY p = q // INEQUALITY p is less than q

REFLEXIVE
p = p // p is not less than p

SYMMETRIC
If p = q then q = p. // If p is less than q, then q is not less than p.

TRANSITIVE
If p = q and q = r then p = r. //
If p is less than q and q is less than r, then p is less than r.

SUBSTITUTION
Any number, letter or algebra combination of numbers or letters may be substituted for p, q, or r in the properties listed above unless stated otherwise.
also: If a = b, then b may be substituted for a in any statement.

NUMBERS AND GEOMETRY
The numbers p and q may locate points on one line so: p and q locate the same point when p = q. p and q locate different points when not equal to each other.

If p and q locate points on a horizontal line then the absolute value of ( p - q ) gives the distance between p and q.

Absolute value is written | p - q |.

Also, if p and q locate points on a horizontal line and p is less than q, then we generally consider p on the left of q. In fact, p is less than 0 is another way to say p is negative.

Geometry: distance between p and q corresponds to this absolute value, | p - q |, in algebra.

ASSIGNMENTS and NOTES: Your problem assignments, text notes and class notes are checked during regular test times. Turn in your notebook as you enter the test time and take it with you when you leave the test. All material should be in sequential textbook order. Seven extra credit points = 3 for completely worked homework exercises + 2 points for textbook notes + 2 points for class notes are given via a quick review of the thoroughness and spot checked for accuracy of your work.

TESTS: A regular test is given as shown on the Course Schedule and no make up tests may be taken. Regular tests are composed from the ODD EXERCISES in your textbook for 85 to 95% of the test and the rest from material highlighted during class. These tests are graded and returned as soon as possible but certainly less than a week. Ask for help if you need to develop better test taking skills. The final exam counts as two regular tests and is not returned.

REPORTS: A few team assignments are required and count as a regular test or a part of a regular test. Additionally, some extra credit exercises and reports are suggested during the course and carry the amount of points assigned with the given work. A rubric will be discussed in class.

GRADES AND THE GRADE SCALE: The final grade is based on the average of these regular tests and team assignments. Any extra credit points are added to the regular test points at the end of the course. The following scale is used on each unit:
A for 90 points or above,
B for 80 to 89 points,
C for 70 to 79 points,
D for 50 to 69 points, and
F for under 50 points.

Test grades correspond to percentages of highest raw scores. I recommend an average of 75 or better from the tests scores (without the extra credit points) before you take any courses for which college algebra is a prerequisite. You may ask about PR or I grades for your individual combination of circumstances.

You may give yourself one point extra credit on the day's attendance for each problem put on the board. You may give yourself one point extra credit for each error you find in the textbook or in the answer key as long as you document what error is and show the page number next to your one point on that day's attendance sheet.

ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED: more than four days of absences or eight times of tardiness gives you a course grade of F.

CHANGES: Some additions, substitutions and/or corrections to this syllabus will be made during the course.


COLLEGE ALGEBRA COURSE APPROXIMATE SCHEDULE

Week // Textbook Sections // Schedule comments
Aug 23 // Handouts, test, calculator, R - Basic Concepts of Algebra //
Aug 30 // 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 //
Sept 7 // 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 //
Sept 13 // 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 //
Sept 20 // 5.1, 5._ , TEST #1, 2.1 //
Sept 27 // computer room SW 109, 2.2, 2.3 //
Oct 4 // 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 //
Oct 11 // 2.7, TEST #2, 3.1, 3.2 //
Oct 18 // 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 //
Oct 25 // 3.5, 3.6, TEST #3 //
Nov 1 // 4.1, 4.2 //
Nov 8 // 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 //
Nov 15 // 4.6, 4.7, TEST #4 //
Nov 22 // M.I., 6.1, 6.2 //
Nov 29 // 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 //
Dec 6 // 6.6, 6.7, TEST #5 //
FINAL EXAM
FINAL Friday, Dec 17, 9 - 10:50 a.m.




Copyright © 1982 through © 1999 with all rights reserved by
William V. Thayer, PedLog

Reference: "The Evolving Self" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi © 1993