MATH 121: College Algebra
James Cook's College Algebra Homepage
Useful Materials and Links:
- Course Planner like a Syllabus, but with useful information only.
- Course Playlist in You Tube I typically update this after each lecture, please keep this resource in mind as you study. You can try to decide if my teaching got better this semester if you're especially bored. Here are the 4 section's I taught last term:
Missions = 300pts,
Tests 1, 2 = 2(190pts)=380pts,
Final Exam = 200pts,
Your grade earned is based on the scale: 600-699 D, 700-799 C, 800-899 B, 900 + A
- Instructions for Missions (the required homework assignments in this course)
- Please print the Missions single-sided. The homework solutions are to be written on a printout of the pdf of the Mission. There is a significant deduction for not printing and/or not working on the printed assignment as requested here. Thanks!
- If uncertain how to solve a problem, probably try it on scratch paper first. The turned in work should be clear and if the grader has to sort through
lots of wrong steps before finding the actual solution then it is unlikely they’ll see the correct solution amidst the wrong steps.
- The Missions are long. It will take several days to finish them. I would estimate 10 hours per mission, but it could be more or less depending on how much you need to learn as you’re solving it. Notice Mission 3 actually includes most of a Final Exam I gave in a previous term. I hope that helps you ramp-up for the Final Exam at the end of the Semester.
- Staple in top left corner
- Late Missions are usually awarded at most half-credit since solutions are likely posted on the day the Mission is collected.
- Instructions for Quizzes (there is a quiz every week in class on paper)
- Quizzes are timed in-class assignments which are based on lectures which came before the quiz
- Quizzes are likely to reflect some of the recommended homework problems from Essentials of College Algebra by Lial et al.(which is announced in the Course Planner)
- Quizzes are open notes and open homework you solved. However, they are closed laptop and no phones are allowed. Only your paper notes and non-graphing calculator
- Instructions for Tests (see Course Planner for dates)
- You are allowed the use of a scientific (non-graphing) calculator such as the TI-30 or Casio fx-115 (other brands also allowed, no cell-phone apps allowed). Same pattern for Quizzes 2 and 3. Notice, a calculator may be borrowed for test if needed. See Karen Guthrie in the Math Department on the 4th floor of DeMoss. Alternatively, I recommend the Casio fx115 which is available at Walmart and other fine retail establishments. Do NOT buy the TI-business calculator, those are pure evil.
- Test is closed notes and it is timed. I do allow you one page of notes, front and back for Test 1 and Test 2. You are allowed 2 pages front and back for the Final Exam
- I would advise you work on creating the page of notes as you work on your homework. A good goal is to have a page with quick notes and short examples on problems which we cover. You can use the same page for Test 1 and eventually you can use your note pages for Tests 1 and 2 to aid you as you work through the comprehensive Final Exam.
- Tests are taken in-class. They are timed, closed-book and must be taken at the scheduled time unless a documented university excuse or accommodation indicates otherwise. Please email me at email@example.com to discuss your ODAS accommodation before the day of the Test. If you are an athlete and are missing the test due to official travel then please email me to discuss options. If you miss a class due to extended sickness I typically add weight to your Final Exam. I don't typically give a Make-up Test after I have graded and posted the solution. Thanks!
- This is a timed test, when time is called at the end of class you must cease work and turn in the test.
- Tests and the Final are paper in-class tests and partial credit is awarded as appropriate. Feedback is given on the graded test which, Lord willing, I intend to return within a week of the test date.
- Tutoring is available, look for the announcement with this semester details
- Wolfram Alpha, a good way to check your answers (and learn more math). To use this site simply write in plain english what you want it to do. For example, try "factor x^3+3x+x-17" and see what happens.
My Old Lecture Notes:
I will not follow these notes precisely this semester. However, if you look through these notes you'll find most of the main calculations I cover in lecture (just not in the same order as I lecture). I am adding a few topics this semester to keep the course fresh. I do expect you take notes in my course. Part of class participation, really the biggest part, it simply the process of taking notes. This costs you nothing but a pen or pencil and some paper, but it is the best thing you can do with your time in a lecture. There is no need to have laptops or cell-phones out during lecture. I will tell you when class is over, relax and take notes. Thanks!
- [Pages 1-4] Number systems and the number line. (P.1, 8.3)
- [Pages 5-8] Laws of exponents and radicals.(P.2)
- [Pages 9-11] Polynomials and polynomial multiplication.(P.3)
- [Pages 12-14] Factoring polynomials.(P.4)
- [Pages 15-18] Algebra of rational expressions.(P.5)
- [Pages 19-21] Graphing equations, circles defined.(1.1, 1.2)
- [Pages 22-25] On solving quadratic equations.(1.4)
- [Pages 26-30] Applications of quadratic eqns, complex number arithmatic.(1.4,1.5)
- [Pages 31-34] Other algebra problems.(1.6)
- [Pages 35-38] Inequalities and critical points.(1.7,1.8)
- [Pages 39-40] Graphing lines, paralell and perpendicular.(2.1)
- [Pages 41-48] Functions, graphs and domains.(2.2,2.3)
- [Pages 49-50] Transformation of graphs, adding, subtracting, multiplying and composite functions, inverse functions.(2.4,2.5,2.6,2.7)
- [Pages 60-67] Graphs of quadratic functions and models.(3.1)
- [Pages 68-73] Graphs of polynomial functions.(3.2)
- [Pages 74-76] Theory of polynomials.(lots of places)
- [Pages 77-81] Guided factoring and long division.(not in text, 3.3, 3.4)
- [Pages 82-87] Rational functions and their asymptotes.(4.1, 4.2)
- [Pages 88-92] Compound and continuous interest, exponential functions.(5.1)
- [Pages 93-95] Logarithmic functions, graphs and domains.(5.2)
- [Pages 96-101] Properties of logarithms and exponentials and solving related equations.(5.3,5.4)
- [Pages 102-108] Solving linear and nonlinear systems through graphing and/or subsitution. (6.1,6.2,6.3)
- [Pages 109-110] Curve fitting.(6.3)
- [Pages 111] Systems of inequalities, linear programming.(6.4,6.5)
- [Pages 112-122] Matrix math, solving systems with multiplication by inverse coefficient matrix.(7.2,7.3)
- [Pages 123-127] Augmented coefficient matrix, Gauss-Jordon elimination by calculator.(7.1)
- [Pages 128-131] Determinants and Kramer's rule.(7.4,7.5))
- [Pages 132-134] Encryption by matrix multiplication.(7.5)
Solutions and Exercises from previous semesters:
Here's a bunch of problems for practice if you wish:
These solutions are on the same material as our course for the most part, however, if a textbook is mentioned below it is not the text we are currently using.
Quiz Solutions from Spring 2010 semester:
Note: this semester I have no fixed plan for quizzes. There might be 30 quizzes, there might be none. It totally depends on class participation and homework participation. The readiness quiz on day 1 is to gauge the prerequisite retention of the class.
- Quiz 1 Solution: lines,parabolas, laws of exponents
- Quiz 2 Solution: polynomials, factoring and graphing; the factor theorem.
- Quiz 3 Solution: polynomials, rational functions, linear and nonlinear inequalities
- Quiz 4 Solution: graphing rational functions
- Quiz Solution: (take-home, right before spring break) graphing, inverse functions, exponentials and logarithms
- Quiz 6 (not the Solution:) graphing rational functions, inverse functions ( don't have a solution, but good for practice)
- Quiz 7 Solution: conic section intersection problem
- Quiz 8 Solution: graphing inequalities, linear programming
- Quiz 9 Solution: conic sections, linear equations
Test Solutions from other semesters:
Note: these are not representative of your tests this semester. They give you a flavor for the length of the test, but the selection of topics is a bit different this semester. In particular, I intend to cover synthetic division, rational roots theorem and Descartes' rule of signs, and slant aymptotes. These topics are all in your MyMathLab assignments. The best review for the exams is the homework. You must do the homework by yourself. In my experience, students who rely on a tutor for homework tend to fail the course. Obviously I don't want you to fail, so think for yourself. Use tutors with care. Accept responsibility for your own actions and profit from this exercise of Christian virtue.
- pretest for Test 1, Spring 2010: polynomials and the factor theorem.
- Solution for Test 1, Spring 2010:
- Solution for Test 2, Spring 2010:
- Solution for Test 3, Spring 2010:
- Solution for Test 1: solution.
- Solution for Test 2: solution.
- Solution for Test 3: solution.
Bonus Point Policy:
Bonus points can be earned for correcting errors of a typographical nature. Also particularly insightful questions in lecture may earn bonus points.
Look, Hannah is studying, go do likewise.
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Last Modified: 1-7-23