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INSTITUTION:     Montana State University – Great Falls

COURSE TITLE:     Introductory Algebra


NUMBER OF CREDITS:     4 (four) Semester

INSTRUCTOR:     Becky Johnson

PHONE & E-MAIL:     (406) 268 – 3707         


    Monday, Wednesday, Friday   11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Tuesday, Thursday                   9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.       
     or by appointment


Introductory Algebra initiates development in students' ability to organize thought processes and systematically solve problems while preparing students for studies in other courses.  Course emphasis includes manipulation of variables, exponential applications, scientific notation, polynomials, factoring trinomials, solving equations, systems of equations and graphing quadratic equations.  This course is intended for students who havenot studied algebra but have a firm background in basic mathematics or whowish it as a review.


Textbook:  Introductory Algebra, Ninth Edition, MarvinL. Bittinger, Addison Wesley, 2003.  ISBN 0-201-74631-X

Calculator:  A scientific calculator is required.  Note that calculators with symbolic manipulators (TI-89, TI-92, etc.) will not be allowed for testing.


Students will demonstrate competency (score at least 73% for the course grade) over the following areas:
1.    Manipulating the real numbers and algebraic expressions.
2.    Solving equations and inequalities.
3.    Graphing equations.
4.    Polynomial operations including using exponents and scientific notation.
5.    Factoring polynomials.
6.    Manipulating rational expressions and solving rational equations.
7.    Linear graphs, slope, and applications.
8.    Solving systems of equations using substitution and elimination.
9.    Manipulating radical expressions and solving radical equations including the Pythagorean theorem.
10.  Quadratic equations including solving quadratic equations bycompleting the square and the quadratic formula.


Introduction to Real Numbers and Algebraic Expressions
Introduction to Algebra
The Real Numbers
Addition of Real Numbers: Applications
Subtraction of Real Numbers: Applications
Multiplication of Real Numbers: Applications
Division of Real Numbers: Applications
Properties of Real Numbers
Simplifying Expressions: Order of Operations
Solving Equations and Inequalities
Solving Equations: The Addition Principle
Solving Equations: The Multiplication Principle
Using the Principles Together
Applications of Percent
Applications and Problem Solving
Solving Inequalities
Applications and Problem Solving with Inequalities
•    Exam 1

Graphs of Linear Equations
Graphs and Applications
Graphing Linear Equations
More with Graphing and Intercepts
Slope and Applications

Graphs, Slope, and Applications
Slope-Intercept Equation
Graphing Using the Slope and the y-intercept
Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
Graphing Inequalities in Two Variables
•    Exam 2

Systems of Equations
Systems of Equations in Two Variables
The Substitution Method
The Elimination Method
Applications and Problem Solving

Polynomials: Operations
Integers as Exponents
Exponents and Scientific Notation
Introduction to Polynomials
Addition and Subtraction of Polynomials
Multiplication of Polynomials
Special Products
Operations with Polynomials in Several Variables
Division of Polynomials
•    Exam 3

Polynomials: Factoring
Introduction to Factoring
Factoring Trinomials of the Type x2 + bx + c
Factoring ax2 + bx + c
Factoring Trinomial Squares and Differences of Squares
Factoring: A General Strategy
Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring
Applications of Quadratic Equations

Rational Expressions and Equations
Multiplying and Simplifying Rational Expressions
Division and Reciprocals
Least Common Multiples and Denominators
Adding Rational Expressions
Subtracting Rational Expressions
Solving Rational Equations
Applications Using Rational Equations and Proportions
Complex Rational Expressions

•    Exam 4

Radical Expressions and Equations
Introduction to Radical Expressions
Multiplying and Simplifying with Radical Expressions
Quotients Involving Radical Expressions
Addition, Subtraction, and More Multiplication
Radical Equations
Applications with Right Triangles

Quadratic Equations
Introduction to Quadratic Equations
Solving Quadratic Equations by Completing the Square
The Quadratic Formula
Applications and Problem Solving

•    Exam 5

•    Optional Final Exam


Suggested Homework:  Suggested homework assignments willbe given for each section that we cover; however, suggested homework willnot be collected nor graded.  Students are strongly encouraged to completethese assignments, as a successful grade in the course is unlikely withoutsuggested homework completion.

Assigned Homework:  Assigned homework will be given for eachsection that we cover.  These assignments will be no more than 10 questionsin length.  They will be collected and graded.  Note that you may continue to re-work a problem until it is solved correctly without lossof points.  Homework will be done entirely online, and will accountfor 20% of your final grade.

Quizzes:  No quizzes will be given in this course.

Discussions:  There will be weekly online discussions in this course.  Participation in these discussions is mandatory and will account for 5% of your final grade.

Exams:  There will be 5 semester exams and one optional final exam for this course.  Exams will be taken in the presence of an approved proctor (see Testing Information) on scheduled exam days.  No make-up exams will be given.  Your cumulative exam average will comprise 75% of your final grade. 
Final Exam:  The final exam is optional and willbe comprehensive.  Your final exam score will replace your lowest semesterexam score.  The final exam will be held in-class during the week ofMay 2.


Course Average
Letter Grade
93% - 100%
83% - 92%
73% - 82%
65% - 72%
64% and below


In addition to your instructor, Bob Donovan and other mathematics tutors are available free of charge to assist you.  These tutors are located in the Learning Center, Room R276.  Bob's hours are Monday - Thursday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. or by appointment.


Students with documented disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations in their classes. If you have a disability that may require accommodation, please contact the Disability Services office in Academic Resources asearly as possible in the semester.