Elementary Algebra Syllabus
Spring '11


INSTRUCTOR:  Geoff Hagopian 
Email: ghagopian@collegeofthedesert.edu
OFFICE HOURS in M12: 10:40 to 12:00
WEB SITE: http://geofhagopian.net
PHONE: 776-7223


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to the real number system and the use of variable expressions and equations in problem solving.  Topics include properties of the real numbers, arithmetic of algebraic expressions including polynomials and algebraic fractions, solving linear equations and inequalities in one variable, factoring, square roots, an introduction to the Cartesian coordinate system and the equations and graphs of simple equations in two variables with an introduction to pythagorean theorem and basic geometric formulas. Modeling applications using the algebraic method of problem solving with  dimensional analysis is included.  The standard use of math notation and language is emphasized.

Topics delineated in the Course Outline

a.   Development of the Real Number System: Integers, Rationals, and Irrationals.

b.   Properties of Real Numbers and operations: commutative, associative, distributive, identity, inverse.

c.   The concept of a variable.

d.   Use of variables and algebraic method to generate algebraic expressions modeling an application problem.

e.   Arithmetic of algebraic expressions; the use of the commutative, associative, distributive, identity, and inverse properties, the use of the order of operations, and the use of integer exponents and the rules of exponents.

f.   Simplifying algebraic expressions, including algebraic fractions.

g.   Scientific notation

h.   Solving linear equations in one variable: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division properties of equality

i.   Creating equations that model real world situations given in application (word) problems.

j.   Solving linear inequalities in one variable: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division properties of inequality - One dimensional graphing of solutions.

k.   Creating inequalities that model real world situations given in word problems.

l.   Polynomial arithmetic, including multiplying polynomials.

m.   Factoring out the greatest common divisor from a polynomial expression.

n.   Factoring simple quadratic polynomials.

o.   Solving rational equations that reduce to linear equations.

p.   Roots and radicals including radical equations.

q.   The Cartesian coordinate system and the graphing of lines including the slope of a line and the different standard forms of the equation of a line.

r.    Solving quadratic equations by completing the square.

TEXTBOOK:  Elementary Algebra, 8th ed., by Charles McKeague. ISBN: 0-495-10839-1

LECTURE/HOMEWORK/LABS:  Generally, you can expect to do most of your learning by applying yourself to the problems assigned for homework and lab time.  Of course, you will have a much easier time doing homework and performing well on exams if you pay attention and take good notes during lecture. Complete the homework assignment for each section to be well prepared for quizzes and exams. Do assignments to the best of your ability before the next class and have specific questions about places where you become stuck or confused.  You should be prepared at the beginning of each class with questions from the homework.  Homework notebooks will not be routinely collected; rather, I will ask to see your homework notebook from time to time and pose spot quizzes from the homework. 

To get credit for homework assignments use the web site http://webassign.net/.  Click on the "I have a class key" link and then enter
    institution code: dccd.cc.ca
    Two four-digit numbers: 4840 7413
You will then need to choose a username and password.  Choose something you can remember and then write it down somewhere in case you forget.  A standard protocol is your first initial + last name as username and your seven-digit student number as a password.


Getting Help: This semester we are blessed with two excellent teaching assistants who will be available in the lab on Mondays and Wednesdays: George and Chloe. They are accomplished in the art of getting you to learn how to find your own answers to questions and are discouraged from just providing you with answers that you are expected to be learning how to find for yourself. There are a number of other resources on campus you can access: The Mind Shack in WA4 and the Academic Skills Center in E4 and the Math/Science Study Center in M4. Their is also the Hild Student Center and the Library.

PROJECTS:  At the end of each chapter is a pair of projects.  We will use these to experiment with the mathematical ideas and as another opportunity to show what you're learning.

EXAMS:  The class schedule indicates there will be 6 tests over the course of the 15 week semester and a final exam on the 16th week.  It is important to remember that the point of these exams is to test your understanding of the concepts covered; that is, they will not necessarily consist of just homework problems with the numbers changed, but may involve novel problems testing your understanding of how to use basic principles of algebra in context.

TECHNOLOGY:  A calculator is not required for this course and you will not be able to use a calculator on the tests.

ATTENDANCE:  You are required to attend all lecture and lab sessions: 6 hours per week for 15 weeks: a total of 90 hours.  The two most significant indicators for success in this course are attendance and completion of the homework. If you're not there doing what it is that defines the class, you missed it.

GRADE:  Your grade in this class will be a weighted average of your homework, quiz, project, chapter test and final exam scores, using the following apportionment:

Homework/quiz 25
Projects: 15 pts.
Chapter tests: 40 pts.
Final Exam: 20 pts.