Welcome Letter, Introductory Algebra

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Math 123 DE Hybrid       CRN 30474         Spring 2019

Instructor: Matt Knudsen                      
mknudsen@cuesta.edu            (email recommended)
        phone:  805-546-3100 ext 2783


This is a HYBRID class, there will be 10 mandatory class meetings Monday or Wednesday evenings at 7 pm in Room 3301, SLO campus.*

You need to be able to attend these classes if you want to enroll in this course.

The first class meeting/orientation will be Wednesday, Jan 23 from 7 - 8 pm
in Room 3301, SLO campus.

*The required class meetings will include the first day orientation, 4 midterm exams and the final exam, plus 4 other meetings to answer questions, do some group work, and review for exams; the dates are 1/23, 2/11, 2/13, 3/11, 3/18, 4/15, 4/22, 5/6, 5/3, 5/20.  Most of these are Mondays, so you should have Mondays from 7 to 8:30 pm available to enroll in the course, and be able to make the orientation meeting.  If you can't make Wednesday meetings you can make them up on alternate Mondays. 

Welcome and thank you for your interest in this hybrid Elementary Algebra class!  It is an excellent opportunity, but also a big responsibility. You must be highly motivated and like to work independently. You must also have a strong foundation in the prerequisite courses, Arithmetic and Prealgebra, in order to be able learn independently in this course.  Please read through all of the following information before you complete your registration.

Is Hybrid/Distance Learning for You?  Before you enroll in a distance learning class, you should take an honest look at whether you possess the appropriate level of personal discipline and independent learning style that this course requires.  Even though we will have class meetings where there will be some lecture and group work, most of the time you will be working on your own and teaching yourself algebra with the help of computer software, email questions, and office hours.  You have to enjoy working with computers and be willing to come in and get help.  I invite you to take the following exploratory Self assessment surveyLinks to an external site..

If the only reason you are considering taking this course is because not having to come to class appeals to you, I strongly suggest you reconsider.  A face to face course usually has a higher success rate than a distance learning class.  I have found that the students who have been successful in this class are those who have a strong foundation in Pre-Algebra and a strong motivation to learn all of the material and successfully complete all the lessons on time. Successful students are independent learners and are very self-disciplined.

Course Prerequisite
.  The prerequisite for this course is completion of Math 7 (Pre-Algebra) with a grade of C or better, or the equivalent. Algebra expands the basic processes of arithmetic; therefore it is important that you are competent performing operations with decimals, fractions, or percents by hand before starting this course.

Course Description.  This is a first course in algebra for the student without any algebraic background. Topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring, polynomial expressions, factoring, graphing linear equations and inequalities in two variables, solving systems of two linear equations, and radical expressions and equations.


Required AssignmentsYou will be working through a series of online lessons with a software package called Hawkes Learning System.  These will serve as instruction and practice.  I also have video lectures for most topics.  You will complete online lessons and written problems from the textbook. You should expect to spend at least 15 hours per week on the course. Many students will need more time than that.  Of course you might find it helpful or even necessary to come in and see me to get help with homework or other questions if phone, email, or other electronic communication options are not sufficient to answer your math questions.  You are always encouraged to come in to my office hours for help.

Mandatory Face to Face Meetings and Exams.  This course requires that you attend a face to face orientation at the beginning of the semester.  At that time there is a software orientation and course procedures are reviewed.  There will be 4 scheduled mini lecture/reviews as well as 4 written exams and the final exam scheduled on Monday evenings between 7 and 8:30 pm  (7 – 9 pm for the final exam.)  The exact dates will be available on the schedule at the beginning of the semester, but since it will be most Mondays you should have that time available if you intend to enroll in this course.  If you are not able to make the scheduled date for an exam you can arrange to take it earlier (or possibly later depending on the circumstance). 

Textbook, Software, Cost of the Course. 
There are two fees associated with this course:   the cost of the 5 units and approximately $120 for the book/software license. 

The textbook is Introductory Algebra, 6th edition, by D. Franklin Wright, published by Hawkes Learning Systems. It comes with the software code if purchased new and is available at the Cuesta College bookstore. You should come to the orientation before you open the shrinkwrap.  Once the book is opened, it is nonrefundable.  The software license and ebook are also available directly from Hawkes.

Note that used books will not contain a valid software license, so you'd have to purchase that separately for about $85 directly from Hawkes. You must purchase the software license new to take the course (the license is good forever in case you need to retake the class for any reason.) 

I will discuss all of this further and give a demonstration on the first day orientation, so you can wait until then to purchase the book and software.

Necessary Computer Equipment/Skills.   You must have either a PC or Mac with a current internet browser, as well as internet access and e-mail.  You can find specific requirements on the Cuesta DE webpage:  Technical SupportLinks to an external site. and  Technical FAQsLinks to an external site..  You will need an internet connection to complete the online lessons and access the course Canvas page.  (Canvas Quick Reference GuideLinks to an external site.)

Add/Drop Policies.
   If the class is full when you try to register you should show up for the mandatory meeting. I will add 7 or 8 students on the first day of class, starting with the waitlisted students and then by lottery for any remaining spots. If you are enrolled but are not making satisfactory progress in the course, particularly if you are not keeping in contact with me, I reserve the right to drop you from the course.  However, if you want to drop or withdraw from the class be sure to do that yourselves, do not assume I will do it just because you stopped participating in the course.
Cuesta Add PolicyLinks to an external site.,    Cuesta Drop PolicyLinks to an external site.,    Cuesta Waitlist PolicyLinks to an external site.


Disabled Student Services.   If you have a disability and might need accommodations or support services in this class, please contact Disabled Student Program & ServicesLinks to an external site. in Building 3300 (phone number 805-546-3148) as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the accommodations in a timely manner. You may also contact me with any questions you may have about that.


Student Conduct and Academic Honesty Policy.     Code of Conduct/Academic HonestyLinks to an external site.


Regular Effective Contact Policy.  I will send all class emails through Canvas which should also forward to your Cuesta email account.  I will send an email before the first day of class to remind you about the orientation and I will send weekly emails with announcements.  If you have any questions prior to the orientation, please email me at mknudsen@cuesta.edu.  During the semester I will do my best to reply to your emails within 24 hours on weekdays.  I sometimes check my email on the weekends, but I might not get back to you until Monday if you email me over the weekend.


I look forward to meeting you and working with you, and I will see you at the orientation. 

Matt Knudsen


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