Syllabus for MAT-121



College Algebra provides an understanding of algebraic concepts, processes, and practical applications. Topics include linear equations and inequalities, quadratic equations, systems of equations and inequalities, complex numbers, and exponential and logarithmic expressions and functions. These topics are fundamental to the study of advanced courses in mathematics, statistics, engineering, and computer technology, as well as in the sciences. Various applications in other fields such as finance, medicine, and environmental studies also require an understanding of algebraic concepts.



After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Incorporate and further develop critical thinking skills through the use of algebraic concepts and processes.

CO2        Identify and implement basic pre-algebra concepts.

CO3        Identify and implement algebraic concepts.

CO4        Graph a variety of equations/functions including linear, quadratic, cubic, absolute value, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic.

CO5        Solve problems involving variation, linear, quadratic, power, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic equations/functions.

CO6        Model real-world applications using direction/indirect/joint variation, linear functions, quadratic functions, exponential functions, and logarithmic functions.

CO7        Solve systems of linear and nonlinear equations and inequalities.

CO8        Apply algebraic concepts and processes to solve real-world problems.        


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is a free, open-source textbook which you may access online and/or save as a PDF.

Required Textbook


MAT-121 College Algebra is a three-credit, online course consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take online module quizzes, and take a proctored midterm examination and a proctored final examination. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in this document.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in five graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six written assignments. The written assignments consist of exercises based on assigned sections in the textbook. You will be provided with the assignment sheet so you can work directly in Google Docs or download it as a Microsoft Word document. For more details on how to use equations to prepare your assignment electronically, follow the note about preparing assignments in the Written Assignment 1 section of Module 1.


You will be required to take eleven module quizzes for this course. These quizzes will help prepare you for the exams.

You may take these quizzes multiple times for additional practice; the result of your most recent attempt will appear in your gradebook.


You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the Examinations and Proctors section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course website) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exams within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course website. Consult the Course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Exam Study Tools

For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

Untimed and ungraded practice exams are available. They contain questions similar to those that you will see on the graded exams and should serve as an effective way to prepare. In the course website, click on a practice exam link in one of the Examinations sections to begin.

Midterm Examination 

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in Modules 1, 2, and 3 of the course and is 3 hours (180 minutes) long. The exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions similar to those found in the text.

The exam is a closed-book exam. But you are permitted to use a calculator (scientific, graphing, or financial) but may not use a calculator on a phone, PDA, or any similar device. The use of blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations.

Final Examination 

The final exam covers all material assigned in Modules 4, 5, and 6 of the course and is 3 hours (180 minutes) long. The exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions similar to those found in the text.

The exam is a closed-book exam. But you are permitted to use a calculator (scientific, graphing, or financial) but may not use a calculator on a phone, PDA, or any similar device. The use of blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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