Mathematical Modes of Thought
This is a course in modern mathematics. We will be exploring a number of topics that have been developed fairly recently in the mathematical world.
This class will be nothing like your intermediate algebra course. If you prefer equations and expressions, this is not the class for you. We will be looking at topics that might not seem like math to you. Many of these topics will be explored in context of their applications.
The purpose of this course is to expose you to the wider world of mathematical thinking. There are two reasons for this. First, for you to understand the power of quantitative thinking and the power of numbers in solving and dealing with real world scenarios. Secondly, for you to understand that there is more to mathematics then expressions and equations.
To be successful in this course, you will need some technical skills. Most important is access to a computer with a reliable internet connection, and the ability to operate that computer and a web browser. If you are reading this, you're probably OK for this part. There will be a couple assignments that ask you to upload files, cut-and-paste internet addresses (URLs), etc. In most cases, a non-technical alternative is available if needed.
Is this course right for you?
Math 1080 is a terminal math course, meaning it does not prepare you for any other math class. This course is intended only for people who will be seeing only one mathematics class in college.
Hopefully you went to an adviser who knows your educational goals when deciding which class to take. If you're not sure if this class is right for you, please feel free to email me and I'd be happy to discuss it with you.
I got tired of students having to pay over $100 for the book. So instead of using a traditional textbook, a book written by a friend from graduate school, David Lippman. The textbook is available online at http://dlippman.imathas.com/mathinsociety/ and is free.
Format of the Course
Each week there will be a specific set of material to learn, and assignments and tests on that material. There will be fixed due-dates for those assignments. However, the course is asynchronous, which means that you can log in any time during the week that is convenient for you and complete the assignments.
In addition to lecture, each week, you will be given a reading assignment. Attending Lectures and reading the textbook will be your primary way to learn the material for the course.
During class there will be frequent assignment, these can range from quizzes to group work. These assignments cannot be made up and make up a significant portion of your grade.
Outside of class a discussion forum will be provided where you can ask questions about the reading, and discuss the material with me and your classmates.In class you can ask me and we can discuss any problems you are having. Usually if you are having trouble, others are as well.
There will be a set of homework exercises assigned each week. The online homework exercises are required, and graded. However, if you miss a question, it will show the answer, allowing you to self-diagnose your mistake, and then you can try similar problems until you get the questions correct. You can ask questions in the discussion board about any homework questions you have difficulty with.
For each section there will be a "Skills Quiz". This will be a test consisting of problems similar, but not necessarily identical, to the homework problems, that test your understanding of the material and your ability to perform any procedures or techniques presented in that chapter. These questions will be numerical, multiple-choice, matching, or fill-in-the-blank.
Additionally, each week there will be an assignment not from the book. This assignment will be a more open-ended question that usually requires a bit more work, conceptual understanding, possibly some outside research, and may require a written solution or explanation. In some cases these may be collaborative assignments with intermediary due dates in the middle of the week. Be sure to keep track of the due dates.
Except in the case of collaborative assignments requiring feedback to fellow students, there are no graded forum response, email, or log-in frequency requirements. However, I strongly encourage you to not wait until the last day of the week to begin your assignments, as this does not allow time to seek out assistance if needed.
Midway through the course there will be a midterm exam and at the end of the course there will a final exam.
The course learning outcomes (aka objectives) describe what abilities and skills a successful student is expected to develop and demonstrate in this course. While often related, these are separate from the course content (the specific topics we'll be covering)
- Demonstrate a positive attitude towards mathematics and an appreciation for its power and uses.
- Explore new and unfamiliar problems and employ critical thinking skills.
- Form and communicate generalizations discovered through individual or group investigations.
- Communicate methods of solutions and solutions to problems for the clarity of the receiver.
- Model and solve problems using graphical methods.
- Analyze and interpret data, as well as calculate statistical mean and median and use these to describe data.
- Represent data using a histogram and/or other graphical forms.
- Solve problems using algorithms or formulas.
- Examine multicultural perspectives of at least one mathematical topic studied.
- Solve, analyze, and effectively communicate the solution to problems of the instructor’s choice.
- Participate actively and responsibly in all course activities.
Within each sections folder, you will find a list of that sections topic-based learning outcomes, and how they related back to these course outcomes. You will be able to meet these learning outcomes by reading the book, making sure you understand the examples in the book, and working through the online exercises, seeking out assistance if you have difficulties. You will, of course, also need to apply your critical thinking skills, since part of the purpose of this course is to expand your ability apply the skills you've learned to new and different scenarios. In real life, problems rarely tell you how to solve them :)
Late Work Policy
The online Homework and Skills Test deadlines are extremely firm. The link to these assignments will actually disappear at midnight on the due date, and the assignment must be completed before midnight. Because of this, I strongly recommend that students not wait until 11:50pm to start the test, in case if they have problems logging in or something.
The Graded Assignments deadlines are also very firm, since you have the entire week to work on them. If a graded assignment is turned in late, I will never give more than 50% of the possible points.
If something major comes up (a death in the family, hospitalization, etc.), go ahead and email me or call me to let me know, and we can work something out.
The discussion board is a forum where you can ask questions about the reading or homework, and get help from me or your classmates. The idea is to have the class operate like a study group - with all of you working together to further your learning. This is what distinguishes an online class from a traditional distance learning or math lab course.
Use the Discussion Board to ask for help on problems you don't understand how to do. If you do understand how to do the problems, help out your classmates by answering questions on the discussion board.
I will monitor the homework discussion boards, and will respond to questions if they go unanswered, or if someone provides an incorrect response. If you have additional questions, didn't understand the answer someone gave you, or have a question that has gone unanswered, don't hesitate to email me and ask questions. However, please use the discussion boards first, so that others can benefit from your questions.
I can't stress enough that without being able to see the expression on your face, there's no way for me to judge if you understand my or a fellow student's explanation to your questions. So, you need to be proactive about your learning, and ask for more explanation when you need it. Again, you can do this via email to me, or in the discussion boards.
In addition to the discussion board and emailing me, you are also welcome to come see me on-campus if your schedule allows. See the Instructor Information to see what my office hours are this quarter.
Additionally, you can get help from the drop-in tutors at the Academic Support Center on either campus. Be aware that not all tutors have taken this math course, and may have difficulty helping you. Writing tutors are also available to help with writing assignments.
You can contact me via the discussion boards, email, messages, by phone, or in person.
Please check Instructor Information for my email address, phone number, and office location and hours.
If you have general questions about the course, you can ask them in the "Ask John" discussion forum. If the question is of a personal nature, feel free to email me.
If you have questions about the homework or readings, you can ask them in class. Feel free to email me, call me, or visit me in my office for additional help.
When you post a message or email me, please understand that I am not online all the time. Please allow at least 24 hours for me to respond to your questions, possibly longer on the weekends (up to 48 hours).
- The first week of class there is a bio assignment and syllabus quiz.
- Each week you will have online Homework.
- Each section you will have a Skills Quiz.
- Each section there will be a written/extended assignment.
- There will be a midterm and final test.
- The midterm exam will count 20% of your course grade.
- In class assignments will count 15% of your course grade.
- Online homework will count for 15% of your course grade.
- Skills Quizzes will count for 15% of your course grade.
- Written assignments will count for 15% of your course grade.
- The Final will count for 20% of your course grade.
Your weighted percent in the class will be converted to a decimal grade via this scale:
- 90-100%: 3.5-4.0
- 80-89% : 2.5-3.4
- 75-79% : 2.0-2.4
- 70-74%: 1.5-1.9
- 60-69%: 0.7-1.4
- Below 60%: 0.0
Online courses have the same academic integrity as any other college course. You can trust that I will respond to your questions and comments in a timely manner, as well as be timely and fair in grading submitted assignments.
As your instructor, I trust that you will make your best effort to complete the activities in a timely manner and to the best of your abilities. If there is an unforeseen change in your schedule feel free to contact me for alternative arrangements. I expect that the work you submit for this course will be your own work. Cheating and/or plagiarism will not be tolerated. Please refer to the college's Academic Dishonesty policy for more details.
Much has been written about online etiquette. The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." is suddenly untrue. Words are our sole means of communication. Many times a sarcastic phrase you make to a friend is softened with a smile or eye contact. In an online situation, that same phrase can be very hurtful if read differently. Remember treat everyone the same way you would want to be treated: with respect.
There are ways to express emotions without words. These are called emoticons. You've probably seen several already in computer writing: ;-) :) :o) :-( etc., These are actually faces turned on their side to represent emotions. They take the place of body language and facial expressions that are a natural part of communication. In this setting, it's difficult sometimes to discern between sarcasm and criticism. Using emoticons can often convey the context of the comment when words can't.
Most importantly, this class will be free of sexual, verbal, and racial discrimination or harassment.
The NC policy has changed beginning with this semester. For a 100% refund the date is August 23 and for a 50% refund the date is September 1. The last day to obtain an NC is Friday Oct. 23. This is a hard deadline and will be enforced as such. The department will not approve any late NC requests. Students must request an NC through MetroConnect; faculty approval is no longer required. Holidays: Observance of religious holidays follows College policy, which is posted on the web at http://handbook.mscd.edu in the Academic and Campus Policies for Students section. Each student is responsible for understanding and abiding by the policy.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:
The Metropolitan State College of Denver is committed to making reasonable accommodations to assist individuals with disabilities in reaching their academic potential. If you have a disability that may impact your performance, attendance, or grades in this class and are requesting accommodations, then you must first register with the Access Center, located in the Auraria Library, Suite 116, 303-556-8387. The Access Center is the designated department responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities. Accommodations will not be granted prior to my receipt of your faculty notification letter from the Access Center. Please note that accommodations are never provided retroactively (i.e., prior to the receipt of your faculty notification letter.) Once I am in receipt of your official Access Center Faculty Notification Letter, I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your accommodations. All discussions will remain confidential. Further information is available by visiting the Access Center website