Syllabus for Intermediate Algebra

I am teaching intermediate algebra this spring and I wanted to post the syllabus and give a bit of a comment here. You can find the syllabus on my math education page. The course catalog gives a description: A study of problem-solving techniques in intermediate-level algebra. The goal is to demonstrate number sense and estimation skills; interpret mathematical ideas using appropriate terminology; manipulate, evaluate, and simplify real-number and algebraic expressions; and translate, solve, and interpret applied problems. Emphasis is on numbers and algebraic properties, graphing skills, and applications drawn from a variety of areas (such as finance, science, and the

Say “Yes” to the Dress

One thing I am sure my students hate is that I don’t give extra credit. I’ve talked about this before, and there is no reason to rehash them. But I do like to add something when I can use extra credit to push their boundaries, or something neat. Last semester, while teaching precalculus, Nina decided to make a dress for Ducky. She made a small math error when she first did the calculations and the results were clearly incorrect at the end. Fortunately, we caught that before she started working from them, and we got it together on round two.

What Goes Around Comes Around, Teaching Edition

This spring, I will be teaching something a bit different. I will still be teaching mathematics online for UMUC, but I will also be teaching MSA 600 — Foundations of Research Methods in Administration, as part of the Master of Science in Administration (MSA) program at Central Michigan University. This short course (six weeks) focuses on research techniques for management, with the following objectives: Determine administrative issues and topics that can be researched within the private, public and not-for profit sectors. Identify, collect, evaluate, and synthesize research and professional literature to draw and support conclusions and make recommendations. Identify, evaluate,

My New Math Assignment Rubric

Two years after I wrote my big grading rubric in our Desire2Learn platform, it has become increasingly clear it is insufficient for effective grading. That’s not to say it is bad, but it is both too complicated and too simple to work. The biggest problem with it is that it is too subjective. The default comments do not align with actual issues, often, and the whole thing just needs updated. I was recently talking to a former high school math teacher and he told me about his old grading rubic. It’s far simpler, but it directly and objectively quantifies the

So I Am Not Teaching Calculus After All

Well, no sooner had I posted my note about teaching calculus again this fall when UMUC changed my schedule. This is not unusual for me (though I may be unusual in this regard at UMUC, it’s a bit unclear). I occasionally end up getting put in other classes than planned at the last minute. Part of this stems from the fact I have taught almost the entire undergraduate mathematics curriculum, and part of it is I just don’t mind the challenge of something good new. This fall, I will be teaching MATH 115 Precalculus. I have taught precalc several times