Academic Enhancement Center Course Syllabus Summer Term 2010

Course #
MAT 099

Course Name
Intro to Algebra

Credit
3 Credits

Class Schedule
M-W 9 AM to 1 PM

Computer Lab A AEC

Name of Instructor: Steven Diaz Phone: 305-628-6643 (office); 786-546-2415 (Cell) Email: sdiaz2@stu.edu Twitter: CafeRico IM: kaferico (Google & Yahoo) Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8 - 9 AM & T-Th 1:30 – 3 PM Course Description:
MAT-099 is an introductory course in Algebra. The course covers the concepts of variables, expressions, linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; algebraic manipulations, and use of graph. The goal of the course will be to ensure a solid understanding of the basic elements of algebra. Credit not applicable toward total credit graduation requirements. Eligibility to enroll in this course is based on placement examination (CPT) or passing grade in MAT 098.

New students can exit this course and be placed in the next higher level math course if they score 90% in the Initial Assessment that will be administered during the first week of the course. Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this course, students should have achieved the following learning outcomes:

1. Students will demonstrate improvement of their pre-algebra skills by increasing their pretest scores by at least 30% during the post-test. 2. Students will demonstrate mastery level on each of the main concepts of the course (see below the Course Curriculum section) by earning at least 70% in the assessments (i.e. quizzes) scheduled for each main concept. 3. Students will demonstrate college readiness to handle the rigor of the next mathematics course by attaining a score of at least 70% in the post-test. 4. Students will demonstrate higher confidence and motivation doing mathematics by scoring on average at least ½ point higher in the math anxiety post-survey (Likert scale) than in the math anxiety pre-survey.

Course Text & Materials: • ALEKS Access Code: ISBN 0072391308 (required) • Bello, Ignacio (2006). Basic College Mathematics, A Real-World Approach 2e; McGraw
Hill: ISBN 0-07-283104-9 (optional) A different way of learning math with ALEKS ALEKS is a web-based assessment and learning math system that uses artificial intelligent programming to provide an individualized learning experience for every student. The instructional model of this course will mainly consist on students actively learning at their own pace with the assistance of ALEKS, the online resources available in Blackboard, and the faceto-face classroom meetings. Students must take the initiative and responsibility to use all the available resources to actively learn the course content. Instructional time will be spent less on listening class lectures and more on learning by doing and reflecting. Taking into consideration our diverse population of students and to ensure they are involved as much as possible in the learning process, this course will be based on a blended learning model. In a blended course, students complete the majority (60%) of the learning activities online (i.e. Blackboard and ALEKS), and the other learning activities (40%) takes place in the face-to-face classroom. Here is what students should expect in this course: Face-to-Face Meetings: Class will meet 3 times a week in the classroom (math center), where students will complete interactive practice sets in ALEKS with the assistance of the instructor.  Computer assisted instruction: A learning and assessment web-based system (i.e. ALEKS) is used to help students grasp and master the course content. ALEKS will assess students’ prior knowledge of the course content and create a visual representation (i.e. pie chart) of what they know and need to learn. Based on this assessment, students work on the topics they are ready to learn. Students receive immediate feedback for their performance and are continuously assessed to guarantee mastery and retention of the course content.  Self-paced learning: Students complete the course content at their own pace based on their prior knowledge of the math concepts and skills covered in the course, and with the guidance of a suggested timeline available in this syllabus. Students have the opportunity to complete two courses in one academic term.  Online Learning Resources: ALEKS provides detailed explanations and demonstrations of the concepts and skills covered in the course. It also provides supplementary resources such as videos, animations, Power Point presentations, math dictionary, and the course textbook (i.e. e-book). In addition, students have access in Blackboard of additional instructor-made resources (i.e. handouts, Power Points, screencasts, etc.) and math links to other Internet sites that provide tutorials, virtual manipulatives, and multimedia materials.  Available Assistance: Students have many alternatives to seek assistance to succeed in this course: (a) Visit the math center to get individual assistance from the instructor (see office hours info); (b) Visit the math center during business hours to sign up for a tutoring session; and (c) Ask questions using the Question thread in the discussion board of Blackboard (questions will be answered within 24 hours).  Reflection Journals: At the end of each class session, students must post a reflection in the discussion board in Blackboard of what they learned on such day. These reflections are based on instructor’s questions.  Bb Quizzes: Students will watch short video lectures and take a quiz about the lectures in Blackboard (Bb).

Course Curriculum
In this course, students will cover the following main concepts: • • • • • • • Arithmetic Real numbers Linear equations Linear functions Polynomials Rational Expressions Quadratics

The main topics are represented visually with a pie chart in ALEKS. Students meet the course objectives of each main topic when they have filled the slice that represents the main topic. In total, students must master 182 objectives (or topics) to pass this course. To see a detailed distribution of the 182 topics by main concepts, please visit the site http://www.aleks.com/highered/math/course_products and select the course Beginning Algebra. A dark color in the pie represents how much students have mastered a particular main topic, and a light color represents how much of the main topic students still need to master. The course textbook is an important source of reference to help students master the course concepts. Each main concept (slice of the pie) consists of the following chapters in the course textbook: Course Concept Arithmetic Real numbers Linear equations Linear functions Polynomials Rational Expressions Quadratics Pie Slice Color Dark Green Light Green Red Orange Purple Yellow Blue Textbook Chapter(s) R 1 2 3 4 and 5 6 (a portion) 5

Grading Policy:
Letter Grades 70-100 0-69 Pass (P) Fail (F)

A student must earn an average of at least 70% to pass this course.

Course Grading Criteria:
• Your grade for this course will be based on the following components: Grading Categories
ALEKS (Fill Pie Chart) Final Exam Quizzes Reflection Journals/ Bb Quizzes TOTAL 20% 25% 30% 25% 100%

Important Notes

• • • •

• • •

Students take an ALEKS quiz only when they have filled a pie’s slice. An ALEKS quiz should be taken immediately after completing a slice of the pie. Students must complete the whole pie; take all ALEKS quizzes and earn 70% in each one; and take Final Exam (Assessment) to have a chance passing the course. ALEKS quizzes must be taken on-site (at the math center) during class meetings. Students must retake a quiz until they earn at least 70% to pass. If an assessment pops up in the system, contact the instructor immediately. Do not take the assessment unless the instructor specified otherwise. Pie and quizzes must have been completed prior the final exam week. Incomplete grade is only granted if a student completed his/her pie and s/he took 3/4 of the quizzes by end of course.

Course Outline/Schedule:
This schedule is the suggested timeline (i.e. the slowest pace) that students should follow to complete successfully the course objectives in ALEKS. However, students can complete the course objectives at a faster pace. Students who fall behind the schedule are jeopardizing their chances to pass this course.

Week

Item/Subject

Readings 

Assignments Initial ALEKS  Assessment Syllabus Quiz Survey(Bb): Mathematics Anxiety Reflection Journals ALEKS Quizzes Reflection  Journals Bb Quizzes ALEKS Quizzes Reflection  Journals Bb Quizzes ALEKS Quizzes Reflection  Journals Bb Quizzes ALEKS Quizzes Reflection  Journals Bb Quizzes ALEKS Quizzes Survey(Bb):  Mathematics Bb Quizzes ALEKS Quizzes Final Exam

Pie Slice Color Dark Green

Course Introduction Pre-Algebra Review

1

• •

Syllabus Chapter R

 

 

2

Real Numbers and their Properties Equations, Problem Solving, and Inequalities


Light Green

Chapter 1

  

Red

3

Chapter 2

  

4

Graphs of Linear Equations, • Inequalities, and Applications Exponents and • Polynomials

Orange Slice

Chapter 3

  

5

Chapter 4

Purple (or Dark Blue)

  

6

Factoring

Chapter 5

  

Purple (or Dark Blue) and Light Blue

COURSE POLICIES

1

Practice Problems and Quizzes All practice problems and quizzes are done in ALEKS. Students can do the practice problems at any time and any place since ALEKS is a web-based program. Students should average at least 6 hours per week working in ALEKS to have a chance to complete the course objectives. Quizzes are taken only in the classroom during the instructor’s office hours. Students must earn at least 70% to pass a quiz; otherwise, the student must retake the quiz. Attendance Educational research has proven there is a positive connection between attendance and academic success, so students are strongly urged to attend classes regularly. Face-to-Face attendance is mandatory on Wednesdays. Students who miss half of the class sessions will automatically earn a No Pass (NP) grade. Contact immediately the instructor to find out how to make up an absence. Use of Computers “Computers and network systems offer powerful tools for communications among members of the St. Thomas community and of communities outside St. Thomas. When used appropriately, these tools can enhance dialogue, education, and communications. Unlawful or inappropriate use of these tools, however, can infringe on the rights of others. Activities that are expressively forbidden on St. Thomas’ computers include but are not limited to the viewing, downloading or use of inappropriate materials, vandalism, virus propagation and installation of unauthorized materials. In addition, you are expected to act as a professional and use the equipment only when directed or appropriate to classroom activities. A lack of compliance with any of these directives could result in disciplinary action and dismissed of class or course. Expected Classroom Behavior Students have a responsibility to maintain both the academic and professional integrity of the school and to meet the highest standards of academic and professional conduct. Students are expected to do their own work on examinations, class preparation and assignments and to conduct themselves professionally when interacting with fellow students, faculty and staff. Academic and/or professional misconduct is subject to disciplinary action including course failure and/or probation of dismissal. No food allowed in the classroom. Dress appropriately to attend class. For additional clarification, please see Student Code of Conduct as stated in the Student Handbook. Cell Phones and Calculators Cell phones must be turned off or in vibrating mode. If a student must answer a phone call then the students must leave the classroom without disrupting the flow of the class. Students who spend a considerable amount of time attending a phone call outside the classroom will be considered absent. Calculators permitted during class only in certain circumstances the instructor considers appropriate. Assistance and Tutoring Students should take advantage of the individualized assistance from the instructor during his office hours at the Math Center (Academic Enhancement Center). One of the keys to pass this course is to ask questions without hesitation. In addition, students can sign up for tutoring sessions at the Academic Enhancement Center. Visit the center for additional info. Incomplete Grade Students will be granted an incomplete grade if s/he completed the whole pie in ALEKS by week 15 and took ¾ of the scheduled quizzes. An incomplete grade grants the student another week to complete pending assignments.

2

3

4

5

6

7

Rubric for Quizzes The following rubric (grading criteria) will be used to score quiz items. Points
1-point

Expectation
Correct answer. Work or process to support answer is logical and neatly organized. It reveals student understanding of concepts and skills. Incorrect answer. Work or process to support answer is logical and neatly organized. It reveals student understanding of concepts and skills. Minor computational or careless mistakes. Correct or Incorrect answer. Work or process to support answer is not logical or shown. It reveals student’s misunderstanding of concepts and skills. Major computational mistakes.

1 1 2 3 , , , or - point 4 2 3 4
0-point

Rubric for Reflection Journals
The following rubric will be used to grade students’ reflection posts in the discussion board:

Scor e

Criteria Response is coherent and well structured. Mathematical ideas are communicated clearly and concisely. Student demonstrates full understanding of the mathematical ideas and processes. Student identifies all the key points of the activity and presents strong supporting arguments. Response includes examples and counterexamples. Response is coherent and adequately structured. Mathematical ideas are communicated fairly well. Student demonstrates sufficient understanding of the mathematical ideas and processes. Student identifies most of the key points of the activity and presents good supporting arguments. Response is somewhat coherent and structured. Mathematical ideas are vaguely communicated. Difficult to make sense student’s explanation or reasoning. Student demonstrates limited understanding of the underlying mathematical ideas and processes. Student identifies few key points of the activity and presents weak supporting arguments. Response is incomplete. Ideas are incoherent. Ideas are written in fragments; therefore, student omits most key points of the activity. Student fails to prove understanding of the mathematical ideas and processes. No response or ideas are completely irrelevant and inadequate.

5

4

2

1 0

Become an Active Learner
An active learner takes control and ownership of the learning process to meet the course’s goals and expectations. Active learners decide why, what and how of their learning. They do not wait for learning to happen; instead, they make it happen. The instructional model of this course requires students to become active learners to meet successfully the course objectives. The following traits are typical of active learners: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Identify personal goals and the steps necessary to achieve the goals. Use resources. Identify the people and tools available to aid in goal pursuit. Learn how to solve almost any problem they ever have to face. Look at situations objectively. Ask the right questions. Use time well. They organize and set priorities. Apply good reading, studying, and questioning skills to course materials. Apply good listening skills in the classroom. Find patterns and take effective notes to organize materials for studying.

10. Assess progress along the way and revise their plans.
Source: http://www.lafayettehigh.org/Course%20Guide/becoming_an_active_learner.htm

English Second Language Learners
For students who do not speak English as their first language, the following suggestions may be helpful to succeed in this course:

1. Bring a dictionary that translates from the student’s native language to English and vice
2. 3. 4. versa. If a student does not have a dictionary, the following website provides word and text translation: http://www.foreignword.com/. Find a classmate or group of students who speak English fluently to study for the class and to gain proficiency with the English language. If there is a classmate that speaks the same native language, students can ask for clarification or assistance using their native language as long it does not disrupt the classroom learning experience. The instructor of this course is bilingual (English-Spanish) and welcome students to speak Spanish during office hours or before-after class. In addition, there are many languages that have words which are pronounced and written similarly. Therefore, the instructor encourages students to sometimes use words in their native language to communicate ideas, concerns, or questions. If students learned different ways or methods for simplifying or solving math problems in their countries, the instructor encourages these students to share their methods with him.

5.

In addition, ALEKS offers the option of presenting course content in Spanish for the Spanish speaker students.

Students with Disabilities
Please note that students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact Maritza Rivera (e-mail: mrivera@stu.edu and phone number: 305-628-6563) at the Academic Enhancement Center. Note for Changes: The instructor reserves the right to change this syllabus at any time during the term in order to better meet the needs of this particular class group.

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