Math 1100 Algebra I Syllabus

The Math 1100 course in the Developmental Math Program in the Department of Mathematics at Western University is designed to sharpen algebra skills and concepts.

TEACHING TEAM

Course coordinators

Instructors

See the program schedule or course times, rooms, office hours and final exam dates

Overview

Some of the topics covered in this course to help sharpen your algebra skills and concepts are arithmetic foundations of algebra, properties of real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, and systems of linear equations. In addition to this, the course is designed to strengthen analytical thinking. Students will be asked/ encouraged to find patterns, make conjectures, and judge the validity of given conjectures. Students will test their conjectures and eventually provide counter examples to disprove invalid conjectures or give justifications for conjectures they determine are valid.

Required course materials

  • Graphing calculator: If you already own a graphing calculator, then that will suffice for this course. If you do not own a graphing calculator, then determine which course you will be taking to satisfy Proficiency 3 and then see which graphing calculator best suits your future needs. Your instructor will be demonstrating on a TI 84. Feel free to discuss your graphing calculator needs with either your instructor or the director of the Developmental Mathematics Program.
  • Course Pack: A course pack is needed for this course; the materials in the course pack will be used every day.  The course pack must be purchased from the WMU bookstore. 
  • Three-ring notebook at least 2 inches wide so that your textbook, noted and other work will fit in one notebook.

Course format and participation

This is a laboratory-oriented course in which you will often investigate mathematics collectively (with a partner, in small groups, or whole class). Whole class discussions of different solutions to a problem and the mathematics underlying these solutions will play a central role in this course. Though these discussions will take different forms on different occasions, it will always be the case that your ideas, strategies and questions will guide the discussion. Thus, as a class, we will examine each other’s thinking and come to a better understanding of the mathematics by doing so. Given the student-centered nature of this course, attendance and participation is of the utmost importance. Satisfactory participation means that you are willing to share your thought process, questions and solutions with the class (even when you don’t think you have the right answer), that you support your classmates by listening and thoughtfully reacting to their ideas, and that you attempt all of the homework before class so that you can actively participate in our discussions. Consistent and productive participation in class will be considered in determining final grades (see participation rubric below).

Grading policy

If all course requirements have been met, grades will be assigned according to the scale:

A: 90-100 percent
BA: 85-90 percent
B: 80-85 percent
CB: 75-80 percent
C: 70-75 percent
DC: 65-70 percent
D: 60-65 percent
E: Below 60 percent

NOTE: You must attain at least a C in this course in order to take the mathematics course which satisfies Proficiency 3 of your general education requirements.

Course requirements
The following is a tentative outline of the required graded assignments and their weights:

Exams: 39 percent of final grade
Comprehensive final exam: 25 percent of final grade
Online homework: 15 percent of final grade
Prep and post work: 21 percent of final grade

Attendance policy

As much of the course content is presented in a small-group, problem-solving format, daily attendance is required. Each class utilizes tools and concepts learned from previous classes, so be sure to arrive on time and stay until you are dismissed. Not only do excessive absences, tardiness, and early departure suggest a lack of professionalism and commitment, but they also guarantee that you will not attain the objectives of this course. A class participation grade is included in prep and post work category (see participation rubric below); you will not earn any class prep and post work points if you do not attend class.

Course notebook

You are required to organize your work for this course in a notebook (e.g., one-inch three-ring binder) that includes the following sections:

  1. Lessons with in-class notes. Use this section to organize your completed work from each lesson along with the notes you took during class. Note that you are expected to finish any lesson not completed in class including assigned prep and post work.
  2. Post-class notes. It is often the case that you may have difficulty taking notes on the discussions that occur during class. For this reason we require that you take at least 10 minutes after each class to capture important mathematical ideas that have been discussed during class. This will help to solidify your understanding, and highlight areas/issues around which you still have questions. Post-class notes will save you valuable time when studying for an exam. Along with providing the main ideas of the activity, the post class notes could also contain "aha" moments (a defining moment in which you gained real wisdom or insight), a list of questions you still have about the material in the activity, a completed "wrap-up" from lessons that contain wrap-ups and a cheat sheet list (things you would need to know for an exam: definitions, formulas, important examples, calculator key strokes, etc.).
  3. Scratch work. Use this section to organize scratch work from MyMathLab. Most of the problems on this online homework will require paper and pencil calculations. You will not want to complete the assignment in your head.  You will want to keep all of your work (correct and incorrect calculations). Cross out incorrect work rather than erasing it and then write notes as to why your first methods were invalid. This will help you learn from your past errors rather than repeat them.
  4. This section will contain all of your exams and assignments. You will want to keep both the graded and not-graded assignments in this section as well as all of your drafts of each assignment so that you can reflect on all before tutor sessions, group homework sessions, or an exam.

The goal is to make your notebook into something that will serve as a resource for you over time. This will also serve as your main resource when studying for each exam. Items within your notebook will be assessed through various means. Therefore, it is critical to always bring your notebook to class with you, and to keep up on your daily work and seek help when you don’t understand an assignment. If you have a more efficient way of organizing your notebook, discuss your plan with your instructor.

Assignments

In order to succeed in any class, it is critical that you stay on top of your assignments. Be sure to start your homework (prep and post work) early and utilize your instructor and the tutor lab when needed. Similar to your notebook, prep and post assignments will be assessed through various means. Also to keep you on schedule, late homework will not be accepted. In the event that you must be absent from class, have your homework delivered to your class. If allowed by your instructor, you may either send an e-mail scanned copy of your homework before class or have your homework delivered to the Math Department mail room before class.  Each instructor has a mailbox in the Department of Mathematics, 3319 Everett Tower. Be sure to attach a cover sheet to your homework that contains your name, class time and instructor's name.

E-Learning

We use E-Learning as an online interactive tool that can provide immediate feedback. All quizzes can be attempted infinitely many times, so start early and retake the quiz until you earn a 90 percent or higher. We will be utilizing this tool to help strengthen your mathematical skills and help you to become more efficient. Efficiency will be vital for your success in both this mathematics course and the next. After completing an activity in your text, go to E-Learning and take the corresponding quiz. Note that most quizzes will be due the Thursday or Sunday after you finish the corresponding activity in class. Be sure to visit E-Learning a few times throughout the week so that you do not miss a due date. If you miss a quiz due date, you can take the quiz with penalty. You can earn at most a 75 percent on the penalty quiz, but this is much better than a zero.

Collaboration

Your instructor might allow or encourage students to work together on assignment. What this means is that students can share strategies. You cannot share final versions of assignments. The final polished version of the assignment must be your own work. Similar problems may appear on an exam, so you will want to be sure that you can complete each problem on your own after working with peers.

Exams

There will be four unit tests worth a total of 39 percent of your final grade: two 25-minute exams each worth 6.5 percent and two 50-minute exams each worth 13 percent. Most of the problems on the unit tests will be similar to, or elaborations of, homework and group work. Other questions may test definitions, example problems, and/or class work. The final will be a comprehensive test worth 25 percent of your grade. If you are unable to attend class on any exam day you must notify Dr. Eisenhart (269) 387-4117 or (269) 873-8194 before the exam or a make-up may be denied. All APPROVED make-up exams will be given on the mass make-up exam date: Thursday, December 14 during the evening

Accommodations

Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact their instructor and the Center for Disability Services at the beginning of the semester. If you believe you need some type of accommodation due to a disability, please contact them. 

Incompletes

According to University policy, incompletes are given only in those rare instances when extenuating circumstances have prevented a student from completing a small segment of the course. An incomplete is never given as a substitute for a failing grade and the Chair of the Department of Mathematics must approve all incomplete grades. The last day a student can process an officially withdrawal from a class to avoid a failing grade is Monday, November 6 for fall 2017.

Academic integrity

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.

Student conduct

Please familiarize yourself with the student code of conduct and the definition of plagiarism. The use of cell phones is strictly prohibited during class, unless it’s a life-and-death emergency. Silence your phones, tablets, iPods, etc., at the entrance of the classroom and store them.

Class participation rubric

Class participation will be informally assessed on a continuing basis. Class participation grades will be based on participation in both small group and whole group settings.

A: Contributing to others' learning

  • This is the goal of the class. This does not mean telling or showing someone else how to do something. Sometimes it means sharing your thoughts about the mathematics so that others can analyze and learn from it. Always it means listening carefully to what others are saying, connecting what you hear to your own thinking and asking questions that will help everyone involved better understand the mathematics. The expectations for receiving this grade will increase as the semester goes on. That is, it is assumed that these are skills that you are learning so in the beginning attempts at doing this will be sufficient to earn the grade. As you develop these skills, it will require competence in them to earn the "A".

B: Contributing to one’s own learning

  • Here you are clearly engaged in learning the mathematics, but haven’t moved outside yourself to interact well with others. It generally means doing quality work, but not being willing to share your thinking with others or not showing interest in making sense of their thinking. In the context of whole class discussion, it would mean listening and learning, but not sharing your ideas or observations with the class.

C: Getting by

  • This involves showing up, minding your own business and doing what you are told.

D: Interfering with learning of self or others

  • There are various ways one can do this; the most obvious are distracting group members from the task at hand or being belligerent about what one is asked to do. More subtle ways include implying someone is stupid because they don’t understand a problem or telling someone how to do a problem and thus undercutting their opportunity to figure it out for themselves.

F: Not there

  • This includes not being there physically and/or mentally. Note that whenever you are absent, it is your responsibility to make up the work, preferably before the next class so that you are able to participate in class.