Colorado State University, Pueblo
Math 121 — College Algebra, Section 3
Summer 2012

Here is a shortcut to the course schedule/homework page.

Class meets: MTWTh 8-10:15am in PM 124
Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: PM 248 E-mail: jonathan.poritz@gmail.com
  Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 357-MATH (personal; please use sparingly)
  Office Hours: M-F 10:30-11:30am or by appointment (or walk-in!)

Prerequisites: A satisfactory grade on a placement exam and either Math 099, two years of high school algebra, or the equivalent.

Catalog Description: Solutions of algebraic equations, graphs of rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations, matrices, and determinants.

Text: College Algebra Essentials, 9th Edition, by Michael Sullivan. You are expected to be reading the textbook sections as we cover them in class. This is partly so that you can see a different exposition of the material from what is presented in class. In addition, there may well be a result or example which we simply don't have time to talk about in class which is given in the textbook — and it will be assumed you have seen this material in your reading!

SAFE: This course is designed to provide additional support for student success. The course will include small group work, hands-on problems at the board and other student-centered activities to encourage content mastery. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the services offered through the PROPEL Learning Center, LS 122/124.

Math/PROPEL Learning Center: Temporarily located in LS 122/124, the Math Learning Center is open for your use. You may receive assistance in the facility when it is open. The summer hours are 8:30-5:00 Monday-Thursday. No appointment is needed. Just walk in and ask for help. Tutors will be available for assistance in math, science and engineering courses

Academic integrity: Mathematics is more effectively and easily learned — and more fun — when you work with others. However, all work you turn in must be your own, and any form of cheating is grounds for an immediate F in the course for all involved parties.

Class dates This summer session runs from Monday, May 14th, through Thursday, July 5th. However, the university is closed for Memorial Day on May 28th, and for Independence Day on July 4th.

Calculators: A Texas Instruments graphing calculator like the TI-84 Plus is required. Calculators like the TI-89 or TI-Nspire CAS that can do symbolic calculations are not allowed.

Students with disabilities: This University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulates that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accomodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to: the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resource Center, Suite 169.

Group Learning Program: The Mathematics Department at CSU-Pueblo offers the Group Learning Program as a means of supporting student success in College Algebra. Attendance is mandatory. Students will be withdrawn from this class after missing three [3] Group Learning Sessions.

Attendance: Regular attendance is a key to success -- every class you miss will harm your understanding of the topics we cover no only that day, but every other day of the term as well. For this reason, attendance will be taken each class period. Your attendance must also not be a distraction to others, so disruptive behavior such as texting will not be permitted.

Work Load: Aside from attentive attendance in class, your hard work outside of class is a vital part of your success in this course. It is expected that you will spend at least 3 hours per day of such outside work, mostly on homework, but also in reading the book, and studying for quizzes and tests. This number is not an exaggeration (or a joke), but the good news is that if you put in the the time and energy you will get quite a bit out of this class, including the grade you need.

Homework: Mathematics at this level is a kind of practical (although purely mental) skill, not unlike a musical or sports skill — and, like for those other skills, one must practise to build the skill. In short, doing problems is the only way truly to master this material (in fact, the only way to pass). To this end, there will be homework sets assigned every day. You will have the opportunity to discuss homework problems during the first 15 minutes of class, before turning in the assignment. No late homework will be accepted. Your lowest three homework grades will be dropped.

Worksheets: There may be occasional in-class worksheets, which will be graded and those grades will be added to the homework total.

Quizzes: Every Thursday in which there is not an hour exam, there will instead be a (much shorter!) quiz, at the end of class. There will be four such. They are closed-book and -notes.

Exams: We will have three in-class hour exams: on Thursday, May 24, covering §§2.1—2.2; on Thursday, June 7, covering §§2.3—3.4, and on Thursday, June 21, covering §§3.5—5.3. A missed exam will receive a grade of 0. There will be a comprehensive final exam on Thursday, July 5, 8:00-10:20am, in our usual classroom.

Drops: Be aware that if you choose to drop this course with a grade of W, in accord with university policy and procedures, the last day this is possible is Monday, June 20th, because of the eight-week summer session.

Revision of work on homework, quizzes, and tests: A great learning opportunity is often missed by students who get back a piece of work graded by their instructor and simply shrug their shoulders and move on. In fact, painful though it may be, looking over the mistakes on those returned papers is often the best way to figure out exactly where you tend to make mistakes. If you correct that work, taking the time to make sure you really understand completely what was missing or incorrect, you will often truly master the technique in question, and never again make any similar mistake.

In order to encourage students to go through this learning experience, I will allow students to hand in revised solutions to all homeworks, quizzes, and midterms. There will be an expectation of slightly higher quality of exposition (more clear and complete explanations, all details shown, etc.), but you will be able to earn a percentage of the points you originally lost, so long as you hand in the revised work at the very next class meeting. The percentage you can earn back is given in the "revision %" column of the table in the Grades section, below.

Grades: On quiz or exam days, attendance is required — if you miss a quiz or exam, you will get a zero as score; you will be able to replace that zero only if you are regularly attending class and have discussed your valid excuse with me, in advance.

In each grading category, the total points possible will be multiplied by a normalizing factor so as to come to 100. Then the different categories will be combined, each weighted by the "course %" from the following table, to compute your total course points out of 100. Your letter grade will then be computed in a manner not more strict than the traditional "90-100% is an A, 80-90% a B, etc." method.

  pts each # of such # dropped revision % course %
Homework: 20 25 3 75% 25%
Quizzes: 25 4 0 50% 12.5%
Midterms: ≥100 3 0 33.3% 37.5%
Final Exam: ≥200 1 0 0% 25%

[Note that the math department does not give "+"s or "-"s.]
                    


Jonathan Poritz (jonathan.poritz@gmail.com)