Colorado State University, Pueblo
Math 121 — College Algebra, Section 3
Spring 2009

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

Lectures: MTWF 10-10:50pm in PM 110      Office Hours: MWF 11-11:50am, TΘ 12-12:50pm or by appointment

Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: PM 248      E-mail:
Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 337-1210 (cell) and 473-8928 (home) (both for emergencies only, please)

Text: College Algebra Essentials, 8th Edition, by Michael Sullivan. Student access code for My Math Lab provided by instructor.

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

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: Attendance in class is a key to success. To that end, I will take attendance and enforce the attached attendance policy.

Calculators: Students are required to have and to become (somewhat) familiar with the basic functioning of a graphing calculator such as the Texas Instruments TI-83. Your calculators will be permitted (suggested) for (large parts of) all of our exams — while symbolic calculators (like the TI-89) will be forbidden — and in fact I suggest you generally bring it to class, in case we do group work for which it is useful. The TI-83 or a like calculator is required in many CSUP math and science classes, so it is a very reasonable investment.

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 performance in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see me as soon as possible to arrange these 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 daily, fairly extensive, homework set.
Most of this daily HW will be on-line, through the website. You will need an access code with which I will provide you in class to do this important (and fun! the system provides you with instant feedback and help as you do the HW sets!) part of the course.
There will also often be worksheets to hand in for HW credit during the group work sessions and perhaps during some regular class meetings. I may require some small, additional, pen-and-paper HW, depending upon how the class goes.

Quizzes: Most 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.

Exams: We will have three in-class hour exams, on dates to be announced (at least a week in advance). 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 Tuesday, April 28th at 8am in PM 110.

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. This means that the maximum possible course points are then 700. Letter grades will then be calculated in a way no more strict than:

A: 630-700
B: 560-629
C: 490-559
D: 420-489
F: 0-419
(This amounts simply to the old "90-100% is an A, 80-90% a B, etc." business.) Note that by Math Department policy, there will be no "+"s or "-"s.

Group Learning ProgramA mandatory part of this course is a group session which takes place for two hours a week in the Math Learning Center under the direction of an experienced tutor. Attendance will be taken, and students who miss four group sessions will be withdrawn from this class

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 (to be announced soon). 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 (usually 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 do not assume I have my book, it is often not available to me when I am answering e-mail; therefore, you should give me enough information about the problem so that I can actually help you solve it (i.e., "How do you do problem number n on page p" is often not a question I will be able to answer).

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.
The MLC opens at 8:30
weekdays and closes at:   
5pm 4pm 5pm 4pm 3pm

The General Education Tutoring Center: in the Psychology Building, Suite 232, is another resource for students. It offers one-on-one tutoring in one-hour blocks, either on a drop-in basis or, if they are busy, after and appointment. Tutoring is available M-F 8am-5pm in PSYCH 232 and M-Θ 7pm-9pm in the C-wing basement of the Belmont Residence Hall. Contact the math/science tutoring coordinator, Mike Giannetto, at 549-2290 for more information.