MA109-023 (College Algebra) – Summer 2010

Instructor:   Megan Arthur            Lectures: MTWRF 12:00-1:20, CP 183
Office:             806 POT                      Office Hours: MTWR   1:30-2:15
Course Website:

Contacting Instructor: The best way to contact your instructor is via email.  Please be sure to place “MA109 – (your name)” in the subject box. An e-mail without this subject heading may be deleted by spam filters.   Also please note, your instructor may not be available to answer emails after 9:00 pm.

Textbook: College Algebra (4th edition), by J. Stewart, L. Redlin and S. Watson. We use a customized version of the original book, which is specifically published for the University of Kentucky and can be purchased at any UK bookstore.

Lecture Notes: MA 109 Lecture Notes, by A. Corso. These notes (also called activity sheets) have been written as a complement/guide to the textbook in order to assist you throughout the course. They can be purchased at any UK bookstore.   Note: these notes are not intended, nor will they serve you well, as a substitute for attending lectures.  If you want to learn the material, come to class!

Grading: The course grade will be based on three midterm exams, a final exam, a homework score, and an attendance/participation grade. Each midterm counts 100 points, the final counts 100 points, homework counts 75 points, and the attendance grade counts 25 points. Thus you can earn a total of 500 points for the course. Your final grade for the course will be based on the total points you have earned as follows:

A: 450-500  B: 400-449  C: 350-399  D: 300-349  E: 0-299

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all course meetings and participate fully.  Participation means that you are paying attention and engaging in class (i.e. taking notes, asking/answering questions).  Attendance points will not be given to students who are absent or not participating (including but not limited to: sleeping, reading the newspaper, doing work for another course, texting, playing video games, holding non-course related conversations).  A brief feedback quiz will be given at the end of each class period, worth 1 of your attendance points.  You must be present for 25 of these in order to get full attendance credit for the course.

Exams: Each exam is worth 100 points. You must bring a photo ID to each exam.  You may use a graphing calculator during the exams, but NO calculator with a Computer Algebra System (CAS) or a QWERTY keyboard is permitted (i.e. no TI-89 or higher, TI N-spire, or any calculator which can factor or solve equations). Absolutely no cell phone use during an exam (even if you forget your calculator) is allowed. The final exam will be comprehensive. Dates for the exams are as follows:

  • Exam 1 (Wednesday, July 7)
  • Exam 2 (Friday, July 16)
  • Exam 3 (Wednesday, July 28)
  • Final Exam (Thursday, August 5)

Homework: Graded assignments will be done on the online homework system WebClass.  In general, a new assignment will be given each day, with two days to complete it.  Feel free to work ahead on assignments if you like.  For additional practice, students are encouraged to complete problems from the textbook.  Although these will not be graded, they will be very similar to the problems on the test. This is the complete list of recommended problems. You are responsible for knowing how to work all the problems in this list, as the exams will be based on these problems.

The online homework system, WebClass, is found at the link DO NOT REGISTER FOR AN ACCOUNT. An account has been created for you. You can login to the online homework system using your UK Active Directory user name and password. This is the same user name and password that you use to access other systems including and Thus, if your user name is skova01, you will enter ad\skova01 (MAKE SURE YOU USE \, not /) as the user name and then the password for your Active Directory account. Note that will require you to include the prefix ad\ while other sites on campus may not. You will need to do a few things to secure your account. Read the instructions and complete the steps described in the “Account Maintenance” section of these instructions. For more detailed instructions about WHS, read the following document.

After you login, select the web homework link. This will take you to your MA109 class where you do your homework. Each student has an individual, Personal Version of the web-based homework assignments to work and submit. You may attempt a problem as many times as you like. Only your final (and hopefully correct!) answer will be recorded for your homework grade. Additional attempts at a problem need not be made in the same online session, so you can reattempt the problem after getting help from your instructor or The Study. If you submit the correct answer to a problem before the due date, you receive full credit for the problem. If the answer you submit is not correct, the first thing to check is the syntax you used to submit the answer. A typo will obviously result in an incorrect answer. If you check this carefully, and your answer is still incorrect, go back and rework the problem. It is often better to move on and work other problems first, since it is quite easy to make the same error over and over. If after a couple of attempts, you do not get a correct answer, then try to get help from your instructor, a friend, or a tutor in The Study. Although answers to the problems have been checked, it is still possible that a few errors remain in the system.

The homework due dates are listed in the course schedule. Homework assignments are always due at 11:59 pm (please note: your instructor may not be available to answer submitted questions after 9:00 pm).

Be sure to keep a record of your homework scores. Print a copy of your scores each time you work on an assignment.

Academic Honesty: Cheating or plagiarism is a serious offense and it will not be tolerated. It will be thoroughly investigated, and it might lead to failure in the course or even to expulsion from the university. See Student Rights and Responsibilities (Sections 6.3.1 and 6.3.2) for information on cheating, plagiarism, and penalties. A summary of recent changes to rules on cheating can be found at the Academic Ombud website. It’s not worth it, so don’t do it.

Services in The Mathskeller and The Study: The Mathskeller is located CB 065 in the basement of the classroom building. Many instructors from the Department of Mathematics will hold office hours in the Mathskeller. In addition, limited drop-in tutoring is available. The Mathskeller is open from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday (except academic holidays) during the semester. Additional information is available at

Academic Enhancement, located in The Study (in the Kirwan-Blanding Dorm Complex — more precisely, on the third floor of the Commons) offers a variety of services to undergraduate students. Free, drop-in peer tutoring is available for MA 108R, 109, 123, and 113, in addition to other subjects such as chemistry, physics, biology, organic chemistry, anthropology, sociology, political science, history, statistics, Spanish, French, Italian, and more! Peer Tutors are experienced undergraduate UK students who have successfully completed these courses. For more information on all the services available in The Study and for a complete tutoring schedule, visit or call 257-1356.

Additional Information:

Course Goals: Students will gain the understanding and computational knowledge necessary to use algebra in future courses and life situations.  This will include solving linear, quadratic and polynomial equations, graphing functions, and modeling with equations, and checking solutions.  Students should also be able to describe what type of solutions they expect from a problem, and decide if the solutions they find make sense.

Disabilities/Special Needs: Students with disabilities and special needs have a great deal to contribut to the classroom setting.  Students with documented disabilities or special learning situations should discuss these with the instructor during the first week of class.  If you have a situation that may cause you to miss class repeatedly (sick children, school sports, etc.), you should also discuss this with your instructor ahead of time to see if arrangements can be made.

Getting Help: If you find you are having trouble in the course, or would like additional help for any reason, please see your instructor as soon as possible.  Difficulties that start out small, will only grow as the course goes on (especially in a 6 week course) if you don’t seek help.  Students are encouraged to submit questions through the homework website or via email, or take the time to come to office hours or make an appointment with your instructor.  Don’t suffer in silence!!!

Suggestions For Success: Students who wish to succeed in MA 109 during an abbreviated semester should plan to:

  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong!  You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take (Wayne Gretzky).  Both you and your instructor can learn from your mistakes. Also, remember that you can retry your homework problems as many times as you need to, up until the deadline.  If you have attempted a problem more than 3 times and still not found the correct solution, please consider contacting your instructor for help.  Include the details of your attempts, solutions and how you arrived at these solutions, in your correspondence.
  • Read the appropriate chapters in the text before we go over it in class.  Make a list of any questions you have, and check them off as they are answered in class.  If questions remain after the lecture, ask your instructor.
  • Print out the common versions of the homework assignments for each of the sections we are scheduled to cover in class.  Take time to look these over and attempt a few of the easier problems, making notes of the questions you have.  Bring these materials to EACH class period. We may have time to go over some of the problems or answer some questions in class.
  • Organizing the above materials in a binder will give you a resource for problems later in the course.
  • Come to office hours and ask lots of questions! If you have questions about your homework assignment, please bring a printed version or a laptop that you can view it on.  You should also bring your book and your notes with you.
  • Before you ask questions on a homework problem or example, take a few moments to attempt it on your own – try something, even if you’re not sure it is correct.  This will allow your instructor to isolate the difficulties you’re having.  Please do not bring a blank homework assignment to office hours and expect your instructor to show you how to do every problem.  Though you may learn to FOLLOW math this way, you will not learn to DO it.  \
  • Please note, homework comments/questions not using proper English, or not containing details of your previous attempts, will be ignored.  Please don’t send comments like: “IDK how 2 do this”, “WTF?!” “I don’t get it”, “Please tell me how to do this”, etc.  An appropriate comment might be: “I have tried this problem two different ways.  The first time I subtracted three from both sides and then divided by two.  This gave me the solution x=3/4.  The second time I reversed these steps and got the solution x=5.  Could you please help me decide which strategy is better?”

Course Schedule

Day Date Activity Assignment
R 24-Jun Syllabus, Survey, Pretest Online Pretest Due @ 11:59pm
F 25-Jun 1, 2 Scavenger Hunt Due @ 5:00pm
M 28-Jun 2, 3 H.W.  1 Due @ 11:59pm
T 29-Jun 3, 4 H.W.  2 Due @ 11:59pm
W 30-Jun 4, 5 H.W.  3 Due @ 11:59pm
R 1-Jul 5, 6 H.W.  4 Due @ 11:59pm
F 2-Jul 6, 7 H.W.  5 Due @ 11:59pm
M 5-Jul 7, 8 H.W.  6 Due @ 11:59pm
T 6-Jul 8, Review H.W.  7 Due @ 11:59pm
W 7-Jul Exam 1 (Activity 1-7)
R 8-Jul 9, 10 H.W.  8 Due @ 11:59pm
F 9-Jul 10, 11 H.W.  9 Due @ 11:59pm
M 12-Jul 11, 12 H.W.  10 Due @ 11:59pm
T 13-Jul 12, 13 H.W.  11 Due @ 11:59pm
W 14-Jul 13, 14 H.W.  12 Due @ 11:59pm
R 15-Jul 14, Review H.W.  13 Due @ 11:59pm
F 16-Jul Exam 2 (Activity 8-13)
M 19-Jul 15, 16 H.W.  14 Due @ 11:59pm
T 20-Jul 16, 17 H.W.  15 Due @ 11:59pm
W 21-Jul 17, 18 H.W.  16 Due @ 11:59pm
R 22-Jul 18, 19 H.W.  17 Due @ 11:59pm
F 23-Jul 19, 20 H.W.  18 Due @ 11:59pm
M 26-Jul 20, 21 H.W.  19 Due @ 11:59pm
T 27-Jul 21, Review H.W.  20 Due @ 11:59pm
W 28-Jul Exam 3 (Activiy 14-20)
R 29-Jul 22, 23 H.W.  21 Due @ 11:59pm
F 30-Jul 23, 24 H.W.  22 Due @ 11:59pm
M 2-Aug 24, 25 H.W.  23 Due @ 11:59pm
T 3-Aug 25, 26 H.W.  24 Due @ 11:59pm
W 4-Aug 26, Review H.W.  25 Due @ 11:59pm
R 5-Aug Final Exam (Comprehensive)

Please keep in mind that homework assignments are due online at or before 11:59pm on the assigned date.  You are encouraged to work on these ahead of time and ask any necessary questions of your instructor before each assignment is due (your instructor will not answer questions after 9:00pm).  No late homework will be accepted for any reason.  This means you will have to plan ahead if you will be absent or miss class for any reason, including illness, school activity, or family issues.

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