MATH 098 W21 2545, 2575, 9537 – INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA

MATH 098 W21 2545, 2575, 9537 – INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA

The following statement about the required one-on-one conferences is also copied below:

Before COVID-19, all online classes required students to take their tests on campus (showing their photo IDs) during pre-scheduled times, or in an approved testing center near where the student was living.  In that way, we knew that the student enrolled in the class was showing his/her knowledge on the test.


In remote operations, the only way I can think of to verify that students are learning the material themselves and completing the tests without help, is with some sort of oral exam or conference. 


An oral exam online would be too awkward, time-prohibitive and stressful for students, so I settled upon these conferences on just a few problems similar to those that you already answered correctly on that test.  I don’t need to hear or see perfectly executed solutions or explanations, just enough to be generally consistent with your performance on the test.


My hope is that EVERY student does well on tests AND on these conferences.  Nothing makes me happier than to see students learning material and doing well in class, and it’s always inspiring when I see students working incredibly hard all quarter to learn, and it’s heartbreaking when I encounter other students who don’t put in much time and breeze through with outside help, especially when they earn higher scores than the students working hard themselves.  I feel that I owe it to those hard-working students to make sure everything is as fair as possible.


I’m actually very sad and stressed if I find that students might not be doing their own work, so I hope that every student does well on these conferences (and in Fall, only about 5% of students in my 2 classes did not do well enough for me to be confident that they were earning their very high scores on their own).


So my hope is that if students know they need to be prepared for these conferences, then they will be more motivated to learn the material carefully as they go, rather than taking shortcuts in their learning along the way, or getting outside help of any sort with tests.


In the zoom one-on-one conferences, you will be asked to:

  • Show me any picture ID with your WebCam on (or you can post a pdf of it on the Canvas “Conference for Test 1” assignment ahead of time).
  • Promptly “talk me through” the solutions to 2-3 questions SIMILAR to (but not the SAME as) problems that you answered CORRECTLY on the corresponding test. [Students who don’t feel comfortable explaining the solutions orally can write solutions for me live on a small whiteboard on camera instead.]
  • You can always write solutions on your own paper as long as you explain as you go through the problem, rather than quietly solving and then providing an answer minutes later.
  • If you need me to give you a different problem during the conference, I will do that, because I understand the role nerves can play when working under pressure, and my goal is for this to be as good of an experience for everyone as possible (and in fact, in the past, these conferences have turned out to be very positive).
  • If you don’t pass you can have a second conference (but the make-up conference might not be able to be on problems similar to your test questions,  if there aren’t enough left for variety.)
  • This is not designed to be a “make or break” situation, but rather an incentive for students to be inspired to
    1. understand the material as they’re studying
    2. to do their own work on tests without help, and to
    3. get individual feedback from me on the material if needed before the final exam

The thing I hope to avoid in conferences is seeing students unable to answer relatively simple questions similar to those they scored 100% on in their test, OR any indication that students are “looking up” answers online (or on notes or other materials) as they work on the problems in the conference.


I don’t expect students to instantly become teachers in material they’ve just learned, so I don’t expect a polished explanation of solutions to problems, but rather to hear students basically explain how they are starting, working on, and finding the answers to, a few problems that they already answered correctly on test.

So please try not to worry about these too much. I try to keep them as informal as possible, and focus on getting to know students and working through problems together.  As long as you aren’t taking “shortcuts” in the material and getting outside help on tests, you should be fine.

Thank you!



Course summary:



Math 098 Course Schedule Week beginning Sections to cover online Week 1 1/4 1.

Review: Introduction to Algebra 2. Review: Linear Equations and Inequalities 3. Review: Graphing Equations Week 2 1/11 4. Review: Systems of Linear Equations in Two Variables 5.

Review: Polynomials and Exponents 6.Review: Factoring Polynomials and Solving Equations Week 3 1/18 7.1 Introduction to Rational Expressions 7.2 Multiplication and Division of Rational Expressions 7.3 Addition and Subtraction with Like Denominators 7.4 Addition and Subtraction with Unlike Denominators Week 4 1/25 7.5 Solving Rational Equations 7.6 Problem Solving with Rational Equations 7.7 Complex Fractions Chapter 7 Quiz Chapter 7 Review Week 5 2/1 Test 1

Review TEST 1 (Students can choose from: Wednesday, 2/3/21 from 9:30-11:30am, Thursday, 2/4/21 from 6- 8pm* 3.6 Introduction to Functions 8.1 Linear Functions 8.2 Nonlinear Functions Week 6 2/8 9.1 Compound Inequalities 9.2 Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities 9.3 Absolute Value Inequalities 9.4 Linear Inequalities Week 7 2/15 Chapter 8 & 9 Quiz 10.1 Radical Functions 10.2 Rational Exponents 10.3

Simplifying Radical Expressions Week 8 2/22 10.4 Operations on Radical Expressions 10.5 Rationalizing Numerators and Denominators 10.6 Radical Equations and Problem Solving 10.7 Complex Numbers Chapter 10 Quiz Week 9 3/1 Test 2 Review TEST 2 – (Students can choose from: Wednesday, 3/3/21 from 9:30-11:30am, Thursday, 3/4/21 from 6- 8pm)* 11.1 Completing the Square 11.2

The Quadratic Formula Week 10 3/8 11.3 Solving Quadratic Equations 11.5 Graphing Quadratics Chapter 11 Quiz 12.3 Exponential Functions Week 11 3/15 12.4 Exponential Growth and Decay 12.5 Logarithmic Functions 12.8 Exponential and Logarithmic Equations Chapter 12 Quiz Finals Week 3/22 Test 3/Final Exam Review TEST 3 (CUMULATIVE Final Exam)* – (Tuesday, 3/23 from 5-7pm, Wednesday, 3/24 from 9:30-11:30am)* All exams, homework & assignments must be completed by 3/25 *If students have a conflict with all of these times, they can email me well in advance to discuss another arrangement.