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22M:001 Basic Algebra I (3 s.h.)

Students who wish to enroll: Link to enrollment information

Contact Us for more information about Guided Independent Study and other programs available through the Center for Credit Programs or if you are having technical problems with our Web site.

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About the coursewriter and instructor

Foster Baker received his B.S. in Education from Northwest Missouri State University and his M.S. from the University of Kansas, with additional work at the University of Kansas City and The University of Iowa. Mr. Baker taught for over thirty years in the secondary schools of Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. He has also taught at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. Since 1965, Mr. Baker has instructed and written study guides for several Guided Independent Study courses at The University of Iowa.

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About the course

This course provides an introduction to elementary college algebra. Among the topics covered are: operations with real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, polynomials, quadratic equations, and rational expressions. This course does not count toward the total credit required for graduation at The University of Iowa.

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Required textbook and materials

The required textbook may be ordered from the bookseller of your choice or from Iowa Book, L.L.C., Iowa City, IA: . Please do not order textbooks before you receive your study guide and the textbook order form provided, as texts and editions of texts may change.
  • Johnson, L. Murphy, and Arnold R. Steffansen. Elementary Algebra, second edition. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1989.

Each section of the textbook includes a number of examples with solutions provided. These examples should be thoroughly studied. Note that answers to odd-numbered exercises appear at the back of the textbook.

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Course format

There are 20 lessons in this study guide, each consisting of four parts: reading assignment, discussion, practice exercises, and written assignment.

Reading assignment

The required reading assignments are in the course textbook, although some optional material is included in Appendices A–D of this study guide.


The coursewriter's discussion is designed to highlight the important aspects of the textbook and in some cases to supplement its discussion of certain topics. You should read the discussion section before turning to the reading assignment; you may wish to review the discussion during or after your reading.

The discussion sometimes refers you to specific pages in one of the five appendixes (Fractions; Ratio and Proportion; Percentages; Perimeter, Circumference, Area; Positive and Negative Numbers). You may wish to work through each appendix in its entirety if you feel you need such a review. Completion of the exercises in the appendixes is recommended for review purposes, though this is not required.

Practice exercises

The third section of each lesson assigns practice exercises from the textbook. The practice exercises are always odd-numbered problems, and, as noted, answers to these can be found at the back of the textbook (pp. 397–448). You should work through all of the practice exercises before submitting your written assignment. Practice exercises should not be submitted for grading. However, if you have a question about any of the practice exercises, copy the exercise—do not merely refer to its number—on a sheet of paper and submit it along with the written assignment for the lesson. Your instructor will then furnish you with a solution to the exercise.

Written assignment

The written assignment for each lesson consists of selected even-numbered problems from the textbook. In the preparation of a written assignment, use a good grade of 8- by 11-inch white paper and a soft pencil or pen. Please use coordinate (graph) paper for graphing. Write only on one side of the paper and record the number of each problem and the page of the textbook on which it is to be found. Be sure to show your work so that the instructor can find any errors you may have made. The yellow Assignment Identification Sheet at the end of each lesson must be attached to your work before mailing. If you submit more than one lesson in a mailing, be certain to staple or clip each lesson separately.

Web option

This course is available on the Web; to access this course, go to GIS Online at . Although some material is available to the public, to access lessons themselves, a username and password are required. These may be obtained by calling or e-mailing our office (800-272-6430 or ). Technical assistance, including FAQs, software demos and downloads, and contact information and e-forms are provided on our SOS pages (Support for Online Students) at .

To access the course Web pages, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader; if you do not have Acrobat Reader installed on your system, it may be downloaded free from the Adobe Web site.

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There are three two-hour supervised examination. Examination 1 covers Lessons 1–6; Examination 2 covers Lessons 7–13; the final examination covers the entire course, with emphasis on the material in Lessons 14–18. The exams consist of problems to be solved. You may not schedule an examination until all the written assignments prior to that exam have been submitted and returned to you. Directions for arranging examinations follow Lessons 6, 13, and 20.

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You will receive letter grades of A, B, C, D, or F in this course. Your final course grade will be determined primarily by the following rules:

1. Written assignments and examinations alike will be graded according to the following scale:

A = 90–100 percent correct
B = 80–89 percent correct
C = 65–79 percent correct
D = 55–64 percent correct
F = 0–54 percent correct

Partial credit will be given on test items, provided your work is shown.

2. Your course grade will be determined as follows:

10 percent   Written assignments
30 percent   Examination #1
30 percent   Examination #2
30 percent   Examination #3 (final)

3. If two of the examinations are graded F, the course grade will be F, notwithstanding rule 2 above.

Your final grade in this course will be recorded on your official transcript as one of the following grades:

4.33 A+ 3.33 B+ 2.33 C+ 1.33 D+ 0   F
4 A 3 B 2 C 1 D
3.67 A- 2.67 B- 1.67 C- 0.67 D-

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Minimum completion time

There is a limit to the number of assignments that may be submitted at one time. Under current regulations, the minimum completion time for a Guided Independent Study course is two weeks per semester hour of credit or six weeks for this three semester hour course. Since there are twenty lessons in this course, no more than three lessons (written assignments) will be graded in one week, although you should expect it may take up to two weeks to receive graded assignments back. (If you have not done so already, please read the notice on time limitations in the General Directions.)

Plan your work so that lessons and examinations are completed at least two weeks before any deadline that you have to meet (such as arranging to have a transcript mailed for graduation, certification, or eligibility). This amount of time is needed for evaluation of your papers and for processing the final grade report. Although every effort will be made to correct and return your papers in a timely manner, neither the instructor nor GIS can assume responsibility for meeting your deadlines.

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List of lessons

Unit 1

Lesson 1 Fundamental Concepts
Lesson 2 Real Numbers
Lesson 3 The Distributive Law
Lesson 4 Linear Equations
Lesson 5 Applied Problems
Lesson 6 Inequalities, Graphing
Examination 1 (Two Hours)

Unit 2

Lesson 7   Equations of Lines
Lesson 8   Systems of Linear Equations
Lesson 9   Linear Inequalities - Polynomials
Lesson 10 Special Products
Lesson 11 Factoring Polynomials
Lesson 12 Solving Quadratic Equations
Lesson 13 Addition and Multiplication of Rational Expressions
Examination 2 (Two Hours)

Unit 3

Lesson 14 Fractional Equations
Lesson 15 Ratio, Complex Fractions
Lesson 16 Radicals
Lesson 17 Radical Equations
Lesson 18 Factoring
Lesson 19 Quadratic Equations
Lesson 20 Applications
Final Examination (Two Hours)

Note: A written assignment follows each lesson; you may submit up to three assignments per week.

Additional Information

| 05/10/2004