Colorado State University, Pueblo
Math 121 — College Algebra, Section 7
Fall 2010

Here is a shortcut to the course schedule/homework page.

Lectures: MTWF 2-2:50pm in PM 110      Group Meetings: MW 3-3:50pm
Office Hours: MWF 8-10am in PM 248

Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: PM 248     E-mail:
Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 357-MATH (personal; please use sparingly)

Prerequisites: A satisfactory grade on a placement exam and either Math 099, two years of high school algebra, or the equivalent.

Text: College Algebra Essentials, 8th Edition, by Michael Sullivan. You are expected to be reading the textbook sections as we cover them in class. This is partly so that you can see a different exposition of the material from what is presented in class. In addition, there may well be a result or example which we simply don't have time to talk about in class which is given in the textbook — and it will be assumed you have seen this material in your reading! To reward careful reading of the textbook, the weekly class quizzes will (usually) be taken directly from an example worked out in one of the book's sections covered that week.

On-line homework: Students must acquire access to the MyMathLab on-line homework system, which is then accessed through To connect to this course, use poritz52619 as the Course ID.

Catalog Description: Solutions of algebraic equations, graphs of rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations, matrices, and determinants.

Academic integrity: Mathematics is more effectively and easily learned — and more fun — when you work in groups. However, all work you turn in must be your own, and any form of cheating is grounds for an immediate F in the course for all involved parties.

Attendance: Regular attendance is a key to success -- every class you miss will harm your understanding of the topics we cover no only that day, but every other day of the term as well. For this reason, attendance will be taken each class period.

Calculators: A Texas Instruments graphing calculator is required. Calculators such as the TI-89 or TI-Nspire that can do symbolic calculations are forbidden. The department has a calculator rental program: the (non-refundable) fee is $20 per semester, while an additional $110 is billed if the calculator is damaged or is not returned. Please contact Mary Sandoval in PM 216 for more information.

Students with disabilities: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive this assistance, you must be registered with, and provide documentation of your disability to, the Disability Services Office, which is located in the Psychology Building, Room 232.

Homework: Mathematics at this level is a kind of practical (although purely mental) skill, not unlike a musical or sports skill — and, like for those other skills, one must practise to build the skill. In short, doing problems is the only way truly to master this material (in fact, the only way to pass). To this end, there will be homework sets assigned for every section we cover, through the website. You will need the access code that came with the Student Access Kit you purchased at the bookstore in order this important (and fun! the system provides you with instant feedback and help as you do the HW sets!) part of the course.
Since you can repeat the on-line homework as many times as you like, there is no reason not to answer every problem correctly. Therefore, in order to demonstrate mastery of the material, you will be expected to score at least an 80% on every homework set. To enforce this expectation, you must score at least 80% on every on-line HW and exam review due before any hour exam (including the final) to be eligible to take that exam.

Quizzes: Most (probably all) Fridays, during weeks in which there is no hour exam, there will be a short (10-15 minute) quiz at the end of class. These will be closed book, but calculators will (usually) be allowed. A missed quiz will receive a grade of 0 unless a satisfactory explanation (with documentation) is provided before the date of the quiz in question. The content of the quiz will almost always be identical to an example from that week's textbook sections — so don't forget to read (carefully!) the book.

Exams: We will have three in-class hour exams: on Friday, September 17, covering Chapters 1 and 2; on Friday, October 15, covering Chapters 3 and 4; and on Friday, November 5, covering Chapter 5. A missed exam will receive a grade of 0 unless a satisfactory explanation (with documentation) is provided before the date of the exam in question. There will be a comprehensive final exam on Thursday, December 9, from 3:30-5:50pm in a room to be announced (probably PM 110) — please note, this is not the final exam period written in the catalog corresponding to our class meeting times.

Group Learning Program: The Mathematics Department at CSU-Pueblo offers the Group Learning Program as a means of supporting student success in College Algebra. Attendance is mandatory. Students will not be allowed to take their course final after 4 unexcused absences from the Group Learning Sessions.
There will be worksheets each week in the GLP which will count towards your course grade.

Grades: Your total homework points will be scaled to be out of 100. So also will be the total quiz points. Each hour exam during the term will be graded out of 100, while the final will be out of 200. The GLP worksheets will count as 50 points. This means that the maximum possible course points are then 750. Letter grades will then be calculated in a way no more strict than the traditional "90-100% is an A, 80-90% a B, etc." system, based on your total points. (Note that by Math Department policy, there will be no +'s or -'s on final course grades.)

Contact outside class: Over the years I have been teaching, I have noticed that the students who come to see me outside class are very often the ones who do well in my classes. Now correlation is not causation, but why not put yourself in the right statistical group and drop in sometime? I am always in my office, PM 248, during official office hours. If you want to talk to me privately and/or cannot make those times, please mention it to me in class or by e-mail, and we can find another time. Please feel free to contact me for help also by e-mail at, to which I will try to respond quite quickly (always within the day, often much more quickly); be aware, however, that it is hard to do complex mathematics by e-mail, so if the issue you raise in an e-mail is too hard for me to answer in that form, it may well be better if we meet before the next class, or even talk on the telephone (in which case, include in your e-mail a number where I can reach you).

A request about e-mail: E-mail is a great way to keep in touch with me, but since I tell all my students that, I get a lot of e-mail. So to help me stay organized, please put your full name and the course name or number in the subject line of all messages to me. Also, if you are writing me for help on a particular problem, please state the complete problem in your e-mail.

The Math Learning Center: located in PM 132, is a fantastic resource for CSUP math students. Use it often! (Although during my office hours, come to my office, preferentially.) It is free and fun, staffed with friendly and helpful tutors. Hours for the fall of 2010 are:

M T W Θ F Sa Su
8:30-5 8:30-4 8:30-5 8:30-4 8:30-3 closed 11-4