Welcome to College Algebra, MA109! Traditionally this is a very difficult course, but the decisions you make in these first few weeks can have a huge impact on your success in the course. Introduce yourself to a classmate or two each class. Stop by the mathskeller and the study at a few different times each week to see when works best for you and to get your routine set.
For now, you'll want to read the first few sections of our textbook College Algebra, by Jay Abramson and other contributors at OpenStax and getting some practice using the online homework system (linked from within canvas).
This space will be updated with exam study materials, written project reminders, and other timely reminders.
MA 109 is a 3 credit hour class taught by several instructors in several sections. For office hours, meeting times, and contact information, please see the tables below.
It is very important to keep up with your class and to inform your instructor as early as possible of any problems or concerns. Many instructors have multiple hundreds of students, and so there may be delays or special requirements needed to handle what may appear to be simple problems. On the other hand our instructors are highly trained professionals and may be able to help you solve what seem like insurmountable challenges. In either case, the more time the instructor has to consider your case, the more likely you are to have a good result.
Instructors hold dropin office hours at the times and places listed below. You can stop by to ask questions about the course material or structure. Most instructors also are available in the Mathskeller where you can ask them (or any other instructor present) for help in the course.
Instructor  Office Location  Office Phone  Office Hours  Mathskeller hours  

Melanie Brooks  melanie.brooks@uky.edu  POT 957  
Kathy Effinger  kathy.effinger9@gmail.com  POT 957  
William Gustafson  williamlgustafson@uky.edu  POT 902  (859) 2577216  
Ang Li  ang.li1414201@uky.edu  POT 722  (859) 2576807  
Charlene Norman  cnorman12@live.com  POT 957  
Katherine Paullin  katherine.paullin@uky.edu  POT 729  (859) 2578836  
Jack Schmidt  jack.schmidt@uky.edu  POT 761  (859) 2571429 
Active, engaged class participation is required in all sections. Make sure you know when and where your class meets and make sure to bring appropriate materials to class (a way to view the textbook, a place to take notes, any calculator you want to practice using). Your active, engaged class participation is a major component of your final grade.
The rooms for your exams are also listed (but please check back for possible room changes):
Section  Instructor  Room  Time  Exam 13 room  Final room 

001  Melanie Brooks  CB 114  MWF 8:00am–8:50am  CB 102  FB 200 
002  Katherine Paullin  CB 114  MWF 10:00am–10:50am  CB 106  JSB 121 
003  Katherine Paullin  CB 114  MWF 12:00pm–12:50pm  CB 106  JSB 121 
004  Kathy Effinger  CB 114  MWF 2:00pm–2:50pm  CB 110  JSB 321 
005  Jack Schmidt  CB 114  TuTh 9:30am–10:45am  CB 114  FB 200 
006  Charlene Norman  CB 238  TuTh 11:00am–12:15pm  CB 122  JSB 321 
007  Ang Li  CB 240  TuTh 8:00am–9:15am  CB 118  KAS 213 
008  Ang Li  CB 241  TuTh 9:30am–10:45am  CB 118  KAS 213 
009  William Gustafson  CB 246  TuTh 11:00am–12:15pm  CB 118  KAS 213 
010  William Gustafson  TPC 109  TuTh 12:15pm–  CB 118  KAS 213 
College Algebra covers selected topics in algebra, such as a review of grade school algebra, quadratic formula, systems of linear equations, introduction to functions and graphing. Please see this more detailed schedule. In particular, we will cover solving equations (linear, quadratic, power, radical, and absolute value equations, as well as equations mentioning the unknown only once), graphing on the Cartesian coordinate system (with special emphasis on lines, their slope, perpendicular and parallel lines), solving systems of equations (with substitution and elimination, both linear and nonlinear), using technology (such as graphing calculators and numerical root finders), solving applied problems, inequalities, and general functions, with special emphasis on exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, and rational functions.
The 20172018 Bulletin describes this 3 credit hour course as
Selected topics in algebra. Develops manipulative algebraic skills and mathematical reasoning required for further study in mathematics and use in mathematical modelling. Includes brief review of basic algebra, quadratic formula, systems of linear equations, introduction to functions and graphing, with applications. This course is not available for credit to persons who have received credit in any mathematics course of a higher number with the exceptions of MA 111, 112, 123, 162, 201 and 202. Credit not available on the basis of special examination. Prereq: Two years of high school algebra and a Math ACT score of 21 or above or a Math SAT score of 510 or above; or UK 096; or appropriate MathIndex; or grade of B or better in MA 111. Math placement test recommended.
The goal of this course is to prepare you to use the basic tools of algebra to manipulate both known and unknown numerical quantities. By succeeding in this course, you should be prepared to study elementary calculus (as presented in MA 123) as well as being able to understand and work with mathematical models in your other course work.
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
Your final grade is a letter grade A, B, C, D, or E. It is computed from several components (as indicated in the table). Each exam is taken in the evening, and has a very strict absence and cheating policy (be careful not to get a zero on the exam). Homework is completed online and requires internet access. The instructor score will measure active, engaged, inclass participation. It may be based on preclass online quizzes, inclass activities or quizzes, or postclass online quizzes. Once the semester is over, including the final exam, your total points can be compared against the grading cutoffs table to find the matching letter grade. Any curve will be decided after the final exam is graded, but is unlikely to be significant barring unforeseen circumstances. A typical grade distribution is 20% of students assigned an A, 25% B, 20% C, 10% D, 10% E, and an additional 15% withdrawing. Grade distributions may change from semester to semester, but this provides a rough indicator of the difficulty students as a whole have with the course. Please note that the option to retake this course are limited.
Grading components  

Points  %  Assessment 
100  20%  Exam 1 
100  20%  Exam 2 
100  20%  Exam 3 
100  20%  Final Exam 
40  8%  Online homework 
40  8%  Written Project 
20  4%  Active participation 
500  100%  Total 
Grading cutoffs  

Minimum points  Minimum Percent  Grade 
450  90.0%  A 
400  80.0%  B 
350  70.0%  C 
300  60.0%  D 
0  0.0%  E 
Midterm grades will be posted in myUK by the deadline established in the Academic Calendar.
The textbook College Algebra, by Jay Abramson and other contributors at OpenStax serves as an important reference work for the course. This textbook is available for free online, or printed for around $50 to $60.
Students are required to submit assignments via the Canvas and WebWork websites.
Your active particpation grade may require clickers, index cards, or other materials whose cost is not expected to exceed $20. The way this is measured depends on which section you are in. You may want to see the submission guidelines for some details.
In the sections 002003, you will need a “Reef Technologies iClicker subscription” for $15 per semester. They can be purchased from the UK bookstore, or directly from the phone app. If you don't have a device to view webpages on during class, then ask your instructor about other options. You'll need to register them on Canvas.
Students in the small sections, 001,004010, do not need an iClicker. You may be asked to purchase 3x5 index cards or something similar (a dollar or two for the semester).
Technology such as calculators can be very helpful for exploring mathematics. A simple ($10 to $30) calculator with powers and logs may be needed for some exam questions.
Using the calculator during a test for any reason other than performing the required calculations (for example, to recall a previously stored formula) will be considered cheating. You may use any graphing calculator that is allowed by ACT. Note that you will not be allowed to use the calculator on a cell phone, or any other communication device. Furthermore, you may not use any calculator that has a computer algebra system (CAS) or a QWERTY keyboard. In particular, you may not use the TINspire CAS, any TI89, any TI92, the HP 48GII, any HP 40G, any HP 49G, any HP 50G, the Casio Algebra fx 2.0, the Casio ClassPad 300, the Casio ClassPad 330, or any Casio CFX9970G.
A graphing calculator can be helpful for parts of the course. A standard choice is the TI84 ($75 to $125). Most graphing calculators have the same basic functions, and you should be able to learn about your calculator by reading the manual. A free online graphing calculator such as Desmos may be easier and cheaper to use while still providing all the conceptual benefits, however it cannot be used on exams, so one should be familiar with whatever sort of calculator one decides to use. Exams require a scientific calculator (powers, e, log; TI30 series, $10 to $30), or graphing calculator.
There are a number of important policies that can have a dramatic effect on your understanding and final grade in this course. These policies are intended to be uniform and simple, but if you have not read over them, they may have unexpected consequences.
See the Academic Calendar, the Common Hour Exam schedule, and the Final Exam schedule for Spring 2019.
Wednesday, January 9  First Day of Classes 
Tuesday, January 15  Last Day to Add 
Monday, January 21  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (no classes) 
Wednesday, January 30  Last Day to Drop 
Wednesday, February 6  Exam 1 (7:30pm – 9:30pm) 
Friday, February 22  1st Written Project Due 
Wednesday, March 6  Exam 2 (7:30pm – 9:30pm) 
Friday, March 8  Midterm grades 
Monday, March 11 to Saturday, March 16  Spring Break (no classes) 
Friday, March 22  Last Day to Withdraw 
Wednesday, April 10  Exam 3 (7:30pm – 9:30pm) 
Friday, April 19  2nd Written Project Due 
Friday, April 26  Last Day of Classes 
Wednesday, May 1  Final Exam (8:30pm  10:30pm) 
Active, engaged, inclass participation is mandatory and forms a major portion of your final grade. You should be ready to work when class begins (for example: seated, notes and pencil ready, attention to the front, quiet at 8:00am if the class starts at 8:00am). You should not pack up or leave until class is over (for example: you should still be working at 8:49am if the class ends at 8:50am). If you have special circumstances, please contact your instructor before class begins so that they can excuse late arrivals or early departures. Unexcused late arrivals or early departures may result in significant reduction in participation grade for each day on which they occur.
An absence can only be excused if the instructor is notified within a week of the absence. The choice to excuse the absence is with the instructor, though excuses will be granted (given timely notification) according to University Senate Rule 5.2.4.2: namely (a) serious illness, (b) illness or death of a family member, (c) University related trips, (d) major religious holidays, (e) other reasons deemed reasonable by the instructor. In the case of (c) and (d) notification must be provided one week in advance. In all cases documentation may be requested to ensure the absence does meet policy. For (a) a University Health Services Tier 2 or Tier 3 excuse is required, or a similar note from a health care provider who will confirm that you are a patient and were seen on the indicated day. Documentation that cannot be verified may result in the absence not being excused.
Absences can affect three major types of grade, and the policies for how absences affect each grade differ: Homework extensions should be requested before the homework solutions are available. Homework is available many weeks in advance, so that absences of type (c) and (d) can usually be handled without recourse to a homework extension. Instructor score measures a continued commitment to engaged, active inclass participation. Consult your individual instructor for details on how this will be measured, and how excused absences affect this measurement. Absences for exams are quite serious. An unexcused exam absence results in 0 for the exam grade, which lowers your final grade by at least a letter grade. To allow for exceptional circumstances, there is a simple alternate exam signup available in your canvas course. We have a number of alternate times available to take each exam, and any request received before two weeks prior to the exam for one of those times will be automatically granted (excused). On the other hand last minute requests or requests that would require undue hardship are likely to be rejected (unexcused) or only given with a severe point penalty. Absences of type (a) and (b) should be reported within 24 hours of the exam to ensure that a reasonable accommodation can be found. Exam absences not reported within a week are automatically unexcused and result in a zero on the exam.
Homework must be submitted online at WebWork, in the appropriate course as accessed from Canvas. Each student is responsible for submitting the assignment in a way and time that the server will accept. Internet outages, different clocks, and other technical difficulties that occur after 5pm on the due date are at your own risk.
The homework due dates are listed in the course schedule. Homework assignments are always due at 11:59 pm. There will be many homework sets throughout the semester. You can see the homework assignment due dates on the class schedule. Note that a few of these assignments are due during Dead Week.
Exams must be taken at the specified times and locations, or an alternate exam must be approved by the instructor, using the form in canvas. You are expected to take the exam without notes, textbooks, online access, or communication with your peers. You may use a calculator approved for use on the ACT.
Active participation may require submission of online quizzes (also on WebWork) that may be due before class, during class, or after class. Sections 002003 require the use of Reef Technologies iClicker which costs about $15 (and can be used on your smart phone, tablet, or laptop). Instructor score may also require taking a short inclass quiz at the beginning (“entrance slip”), middle (“pop quiz”), or end (“exit slip”). You may be expected to bring your own index card to turn in the quiz, especially in sections 001,004010.
Two written projects will be submitted through Canvas (instructions will be posted on Canvas). The due dates are Friday, February 22 and Friday, April 19 and at 5pm. This project is a mandatory part of the class and fulfills Gen Ed requirements (UK Core Quantitative Foundations). Information about the project can be found here (1st) and here (2nd). These projects are worth 40 points in the calculation of your final grade. One point is deducted for every 6 hours the project is late.
Please notify your instructor in advance if you need accommodations due to disability. Exam accommodations require one week notice to get everything in place. Most accommodations can be worked out (in broad strokes) with the disability resource center. They will provide you with a letter for your instructor that should make finding accommodations easy. You should still check with your instructor that everything looks fine (and arrange a private meeting if details need to discussed).
All assignments, exams, quizzes, projects, and exercises completed by students for this class should be the product of the personal efforts of the individual(s) whose name(s) appear on the corresponding assignment. Cheating or plagiarism is a serious offense and will not be tolerated. Any potential cheating case will be thoroughly investigated, and could lead to failure in the course or even to expulsion from the university. See Student Rights and Responsibilities in the University Senate Rules (Sections 6.3.1 and 6.3.2) for information on cheating, plagiarism, and penalties. A summary of recent changes to rules on cheating can be found at the academic ombud website.
Students are expected to be actively participating during class. Students are also expected not to distract others. If you arrive late, leave early, are distracted by your phone, or are otherwise not actively engaged with the class you may not receive credit for participating that day. If you are disrupting class, you may be asked to leave.
College Algebra is traditionally a very difficult class, and many of your classmates will be having a hard time adjusting both to the university and to the demands of the class. You are expected to treat your classmates with respect. It is reasonable to disagree, but you should express your disagreement respectfully. Personal attacks or statements denigrating another on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, age, national/regional origin or other such irrelevant factors are considered a severe disruption. Harassment will not be tolerated.
The University of Kentucky faculty are committed to supporting students and upholding the University's nondiscrimination policy.
Discrimination is prohibited at UK. If you experience an incident of discrimination we encourage you to report it to Institutional Equity & Equal Opportunity (IEEO) Office, 13 Main Building, (859) 2578927.
Acts of Sex and GenderBased Discrimination or Interpersonal Violence: If you experience an incident of sex or genderbased discrimination or interpersonal violence, we encourage you to report it. While you may talk to a faculty member or TA/RA/GA, understand that as a "Responsible Employee" of the University these individuals MUST report any acts of violence (including verbal bullying and sexual harassment) to the University's Title IX Coordinator in the IEEO Office. If you would like to speak with someone who may be able to afford you confidentiality, the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) program and Bias Incident Support Services (Frazee Hall – Lower Level), the Counseling Center (106 Frazee Hall), and University Health Services are confidential resources on campus.
Homework score and instructor score continue as usual. Homework is due and the typical measures of inclass participation will be present. No papers or exams will be given during dead week.
University Senate rule 4.3.3 allows department chairs to prevent a student from registering in a course for a third time, unless a student has withdrawn for urgent, nonacademic reasons. The Department of Mathematics enforces this rule for students attempting a fourth registration in MA 109, 110, 113 and 137.
The following is a tentative course schedule. The homework assignments correspond to the online textbook.
Week #  Sun  Mon  Tue  Wed  Thu  Fri  Sat 

1  Jan 6  Jan 7  Jan 8 
Jan 9
First Day of Classes

Jan 10 
Jan 11
HW01B: WebWork Intro

Jan 12 
2  Jan 13  Jan 14 
Jan 15
Last Day to Add
HW02A: Section 2.1

Jan 16  Jan 17 
Jan 18
HW02B: Section 2.2

Jan 19 
3  Jan 20 
Jan 21
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (no classes)

Jan 22
HW03A: Section 2.3

Jan 23  Jan 24 
Jan 25
HW03B: Section 3.1

Jan 26 
4  Jan 27  Jan 28 
Jan 29
HW04A: Section 3.2

Jan 30
Last Day to Drop

Jan 31 
Feb 1
HW04B: Section 3.3

Feb 2 
5  Feb 3  Feb 4 
Feb 5
HW05A: Exam 1 Practice

Feb 6
Exam 1 (7:30pm – 9:30pm)

Feb 7 
Feb 8
HW05B: Section 4.1

Feb 9 
6  Feb 10  Feb 11 
Feb 12
HW06A: Section 4.2

Feb 13  Feb 14 
Feb 15
Written Project Draft

Feb 16 
7  Feb 17  Feb 18 
Feb 19
HW07A: Section 3.4

Feb 20  Feb 21 
Feb 22
1st Written Project Due
HW07B: Section 3.5

Feb 23 
8  Feb 24  Feb 25 
Feb 26
HW08A: Section 3.7

Feb 27  Feb 28 
Mar 1
HW08B: Section 5.1

Mar 2 
9  Mar 3  Mar 4 
Mar 5
HW09A: Exam 2 Practice

Mar 6
Exam 2 (7:30pm – 9:30pm)

Mar 7 
Mar 8
Midterm grades

Mar 9 
10  Mar 10 
Mar 11
Spring Break (no classes)

Mar 12
Spring Break (no classes)

Mar 13
Spring Break (no classes)

Mar 14
Spring Break (no classes)

Mar 15
Spring Break (no classes)

Mar 16
Spring Break (no classes)

11  Mar 17  Mar 18 
Mar 19
HW11A: Section 5.2

Mar 20  Mar 21 
Mar 22
Last Day to Withdraw
HW11B: Section 5.3

Mar 23 
12  Mar 24  Mar 25 
Mar 26
HW12A: Section 5.6

Mar 27  Mar 28 
Mar 29
HW12B: Section 5.7

Mar 30 
13  Mar 31  Apr 1 
Apr 2
HW13A: Section 6.1

Apr 3  Apr 4 
Apr 5
HW13B: Section 6.2

Apr 6 
14  Apr 7  Apr 8 
Apr 9
HW14A: Exam 3 Practice

Apr 10
Exam 3 (7:30pm – 9:30pm)

Apr 11 
Apr 12
HW14B: Section 6.3

Apr 13 
15  Apr 14  Apr 15 
Apr 16
HW15A: Section 6.4

Apr 17  Apr 18 
Apr 19
2nd Written Project Due
HW15B: Section 6.5

Apr 20 
16  Apr 21  Apr 22 
Apr 23
HW16A: Section 6.7

Apr 24  Apr 25 
Apr 26
Last Day of Classes
HW16B: Exam 4 Practice

Apr 27 
17  Apr 28  Apr 29  Apr 30 
May 1
Final Exam (8:30pm  10:30pm)

May 2  May 3  May 4 
The textbook and your instructor's office hours are invaluable sources of information. You may also find the following useful for studying:
Warning: The order of topics has changed significantly, so older exams (prior to Fall 2018) may not be as useful. They are available on request, but are not recommended for current students.
Fall 2018 practice exams
Fall 2018 exams
The Mathskeller is located in CB 063 in the basement of the classroom building. Many instructors from the Department of Mathematics will hold office hours in the Mathskeller. In addition, limited dropin tutoring is available. The Mathskeller is open from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday (except academic holidays) during the semester. Additional information is available at https://math.as.uky.edu/mathskeller/.
The Peer Tutoring Program offers FREE dropin tutoring for many University of Kentucky (UK) core courses. Offering proactive assistance, the goal of the Peer Tutoring Program is to enhance students' academic experience as early and as often as possible. The Peer Tutoring Program provides a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for students to drop in, as they wish, to seek help on homework or exam prep, or simply to study within a group environment. Peer Tutors in The Study Central and The Study North are nationally certified, welltrained undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course for which they tutor at UK. This makes them a great resource for questions about a professor or course format in addition to questions pertaining to the subject.
Peer tutoring is offered in two locations: The Study Central, on the bottom floor of Donovan Hall (entrance is catty corner from KLair) on central campus, and The Study North, on the first floor of Jewel Hall (residence hall across from the Student Center) on north campus.