Math 52 Elementary Algebra

Spring 2017

Instructor: Bob Prior

Watch an overview of this on the syllabus video

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> Are you ready to take this course? Is your computer ready? Do you have the time it takes to be successful in this class? (See Course Requirements)

> To be successful in this (and any) on-line course, you will need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined in setting your study schedule.

> This course moves quickly, so be prepared to put a lot of time into it this semester, at least 10 hours per week. Most of this time is not on-line; a lot of it is reading the book, watching the videos, and doing exercises. See Lesson Routine.

> There are about 22 lessons in the course, and each lesson covers 1-3 sections in the book as well 1 or 2 quizzes and tests . (See Calendar for "soft" deadlines and content.)

> This course requires two on-campus exams at Norco College, a Midterm and a Final. (See Exams)

> The Midterm and Final combine to be 60% of your course grade. (See Grading)

> The other 40% is made up of quizzes, tests, and participation. (See Quizzes and Tests)

> This course is based on a textbook I wrote; you can't do the course without it. (See Textbook)

> There are a lot of videos that supplement this course. Some are YouTube videos that explain about the course, and there are tutorial videos that explain the material. (See Videos)






What else do you want to know about this course?

Services Available to Students

General overview of Math 52

Using the Textbook

So how does it all work?

Making the Grade


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To be successful in this (and any) on-line course, you will need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined in setting your study schedule. Some students are more suited to this type of distance learning experience, but others are not. I encourage you to ask yourself these questions to help determine if you are prepared to be in an online course:

Am I able to manage my time without distractions? (You need to devote at least 10 hours per week for this class.)
Do I have a quiet, safe environment where I can study with little or no interruptions?
Am I able to consistently meet deadlines?
(Refer to the course calendar for "soft" deadlines.)
Will I continually check the course calendar and complete assignments on time?
Am I able to learn new material on my own?
Do I have a reliable computer that I am experienced with, and a back up computer I can use if my computer crashes?

Based on your personal responses to each of these items, I'll let you decide if this on-line course is for you.

Once in the class you will find a lot of on-line support from me and from the other students, and I encourage you to take advantage of this support.

I tend not to answer questions that are not asked.


The most important things to know about this course:

  • You will need to devote at least 10 hours per week on Math 52; this includes
    • reading the text
    • watching tutorial videos
    • doing exercises
    • taking on-line quizzes and tests
    • participating in "classroom" discussions
    • taking the Midterm and the Final Exams at Norco College
  • I might drop you for inactivity. However, if you want to drop the course you should do it yourself; do not rely on me to do it for you.
A Computer is Required:
  • You will also need a computer with an internet connection. Many of the tools used in this class will require a fast internet connection so please make sure you have all the required material for the course.
  • Computers have a habit of failing at important times.  So having access to another computer, such as a computer on campus, or at a library, or a friend's, or one of your own, is a good idea and highly recommended. 
If you don't have a reliable computer or reliable internet access, then you might want to consider whether taking this course is a good option for you.

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If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical, or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, I urge you to contact the staff in Disabled Resource Center. You can find information about contacting them on the campus of your choice by going to DRC. All information and documentation is confidential.

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My name is Bob Prior. I am a math professor at Norco College. I have been teaching at Norco College since it opened in 1991, and I have been teaching on-line courses since 2000.

For my Math 52 courses I use my own textbook (see below), one that I wrote myself. I have had a lot of positive comments from the students in each of my on-line classes about the readability of the books. Some of you may have used my books in previous classes, maybe Arithmetic or Pre-Algebra. The Math 52 book has more challenging material than the Pre-Algebra text, so you may need to read a section more than once.

You cannot do this course without the book, so please get it as soon as possible.

My wish for my students is that they enjoy the class, enjoy learning math and come away with a new attitude about math and how it works. Please feel free to contact me through my school e-mail address.

Bob Prior

My campus e-mail is

My website is


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This course will start you off learning about the foundations of algebra, positive and negative numbers, and the Order of Operations. We then move into Equations, Polynomials, Factoring, Rational Expressions, Quadratic and Rational Equations, Graphing Lines, and square roots.

Now, don't let any of those topics scare you. My text will take you through one step at a time, and I think you'll find the explanations fairly easy to understand and apply. However, math doesn't come through a closed book, nor does it come through last minute cramming. You'll need to keep on top of the daily assignments so that you don't get behind.

This class moves quickly, so you must stay on top of it on a regular basis.


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The principle objective of this course is for the students to learn the mathematics of Elementary Algebra so that they can apply it to a variety of problems and applications.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Perform arithmetic operations on real numbers and polynomial, rational, and radical expressions.
  • Evaluate algebraic expressions.
  • Solve equations involving linear, quadratic, rational, and radical expressions.
  • Graph linear equations and inequalities given the equation and find the equation given the graph.
  • Factor polynomials.
  • Apply algebraic principles and techniques to the solution of applications.
  • Use the symbols and vocabulary of algebra to communicate mathematical concepts.

Many question the value of learning algebra, asking, "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" Even if a student never again uses algebra in the workplace or at home, being successful in algebra makes one smarter and opens more doors to job and educational opportunities.

This class moves quickly, so you must stay on top of it on a regular basis.

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Our text is actually three books, shrink wrapped together, a total of ten chapters:

Elementary Algebra, Norco Edition, by Robert H. Prior

You can view all of Chapter 1 on-line

while waiting to get your book!


1. You may purchase the book on-line or in person at the Norco College bookstore (951) 372-7085.

2. Using the Norco College Bookstore's web site, you can reserve the textbook and pick it up yourself, or you can purchase it on-line and have it shipped to your home:

Norco College Bookstore


As mentioned above, you can view all of Chapter 1 on-line while you wait for the arrival of your textbook.


As the instructor, I will be available through e-mail and on-line discussions, but most everything relates back to the book.



I have also written a Chapter 0 (not required) that includes pre-algebra topics with which you should already be familiar -- and it is available on-line (see below). This class does not cover Chapter 0, but you may want to look through it in case you are not sure of topics like fractions or percents.

If you want to, you can view some or all of Chapter 0 on-line.

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I have prepared two types of videos for this course:

1) Tutorial videos that cover most of the book material. These are YouTube videos. These tutorial videos begin with Section 1.7.

2) Course explanation videos that help explain how the course works. These are YouTube videos.

You can access these videos separately from the embedded links shown. There are also links to these pages in our Blackboard class.

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A typical lesson will be as follows. On Blackboard (our host server for on-line classes) ...

  • In the Course Menu, click on Lessons
  • Click on a lesson and read the instructions for that lesson;
  • Do the reading in the book, access the quizzes when you are ready, and look for other materials.
  • Many of the lessons have videotutorials (starting in Section 1.6);;
  • Many lessons have a Discussion topic that you are to write a response to and post it on the Discussion Board (post it in the appropriate discussion forum);
  • You can also use the Discussion Board to post any questions you may have, or answer any questions that have been posted by others (this will be how I measure course participation); and then
  • For each lesson, there is always at least one quiz and, at the end of the chapter, a test. Information about the quizzes/tests is found within the instructions.

These routines will be explained further at the introduction to each lesson on the course website.


Our pace is about one lesson every 4 days, including weekends and holidays. Each lesson will typically include two or three sections in the book. (See Course Calendar for the schedule of Lessons.) Don't fall behind! It's important that you keep up with the lessons according to the schedule.

It's a good idea to write the lessons' schedule on your personal calendar.

If you finish a lesson early, the next lesson will be already open for you, or it will open soon. If it is not yet open for you, you can still make progress by reading the book, watching the videos, and doing homework exercises, as mentioned below.

This class moves quickly, so you must stay on top of it on a regular basis.

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You are expected to do all of the exercises in the book, but I will not collect the homework. You must do it because that's how you're going to learn the material you will be quizzed and tested on.

There are exercises built right into the reading so that you can do them as you read. The answers to these exercises are at the end of that particular section. There are also Focus Exercises at the end of each section; the answers to the Focus Exercises are posted on-line at my website: You can also access these from the home page of our Blackboard course.

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This course does not allow the use of a calculator, so you should not use one in your studies, quizzes and tests. Just so you know, the Midterm and the Final do not allow the use of calculators.

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You are encouraged to take advantage of all of the learning resources available to you:

Math Express: On the Norco Campus, drop-in tutoring is located in the Learning Resource Center (LRC). The LRC is in the bottom floor of the Library Building. (There are also math labs on the Moreno Valley and Riverside campuses.) For Math Express hours on Norco College, please call 951-372-7143.

The math lab is an invaluable resource for students who would like extra help from math tutors. Math Express is available to any student enrolled in a math course. Please contact Tutorial Services if you have any further questions 951-372-7143.

Tutorial Services: RCCD offers up to three hours per week of free tutoring to each student.

Often a tutor makes all the difference in your understanding. Information about Tutorial Services can be found on-line: Norco, Riverside, Moreno Valley. The phone number for Norco Tutorial Services is 951-372-7143.

Instructor: I am here to help you in anyway I can. Make sure you reach out to me for assistance.

Unfortunately, with an online class, I can't tell if you are having difficulty with the material unless you contact me via our class e-mail.

Classmates: In an online course, we have a discussion board.

This is a great place to reach out to your fellow students. Post your questions and (likely) within hours you will have a reply, from me or a fellow student, with help or support.

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Wouldn't it be great if students could learn for the sake of learning without having to be concerned about grades? Unfortunately, most courses don't operate that way, so I have developed a weighted grading system for our class.

Your grade will be based on your work in the following areas

  • a Midterm Exam*: 30% of the total (The Midterm is weighted to be worth about 750 points)
  • a Final Exam*: 30% of the total (The Final is weighted to be worth about 750 points)
  • 8 chapter tests: about 25% of the total (The tests are worth between 25 and 100 points)
  • 28 Quizzes: about 11% (The quizzes are worth 10 points each)
  • Participation, about 4% (Participation is worth about 100 points for the semester)

*Special Note: The Midterm Exam and the Final Exam are proctored tests that are given at Norco College.


Extra Credit:

There are a few extra credit quizzes throughout the course; each is worth 2 or 3 points maximum. Otherwise, there is no other works that can be done for extra credit. All other points come from the items listed above.


Participation takes place in the Discussion Board. Participation includes answering the questions in the Discussion part of each lesson, reading others' postings, posting original messages (including asking math-help questions),and replying to messages. The number of participation points (100 maximum) will be calculated at the end of the semester. It will not be a part of any grade progress reports given throughout the semester.


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Within the course there are about 30 quizzes, worth 10 points each. All on-line quizzes are multiple choice.

There are also on-line multiple choice chapter tests. Most are worth 100 points. The Chapter 10 test is worth 50 points and Test 3 is a paper test (25 points) that you must get to me by email or by regular mail.

The Midterm and Final exams are paper tests that are given at Norco College, and these tests are not multiple choice. Instead, you must show your work on the test to receive full credit.

Each lesson usually includes one or two quizzes.


You get three chances (attempts) at each quiz. If you take a quiz more than once, you always get the highest score. So, if you get a great score the first time, you don't need to take it a second time. (You generally have 60 minutes to take each quiz.)

The on-line program should automatically grade the quiz right away. If it doesn't, let me know (through our Blackboard class e-mail), and I'll fix it as soon as I can. Don't let glitches like that keep you from reading the material in the next lesson.


The on-line tests are to be taken at the end of each chapter in the book. You will be told when it's appropriate to take the tests. You get two attempts at each test, so, if you make mistakes the first time, you have an opportunity to correct them for the second time. (You generally have 3 hours to take each test.)

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We have both a Midterm Exam and a Final Exam for this course. The Midterm is graded out of 150 points, but it is worth 30% of your course grade (it is scaled to a total of 750 points). The same is true of the Final.

Both of these exams are to be taken at Norco College. The Midterm covers Chapters 1 - 4 & part of Ch. 6 (6.1-6.3); the Final covers the whole course. These exams are no-book, no-notes exams; also, calculators, computers, and cell phones are not allowed.

Because they total 60% of the course grade, these two exams should be your primary focus. However, the way you do well on these exams is to

1) Study the material and do well on the exercises in the book, both the "in-reading" exercises and the Focus Exercises;

2) do well on the on-line quizzes and tests;it is strongly recommended that you do the quizzes and tests without using notes, books, and calculators.

3) prepare for the Midterm by going to the Midterm web page (it has a practice test with video explanations); and

4) prepare for the Final by going to the Final Exam web page (it also has a practice test with video explanations).


Again, the Midterm and Final exams are paper exams offered at Norco College, and these exams are not multiple choice. Instead, you must show your work on each problem to receive full credit.

You can start practicing for the Midterm and the Final exams from the first day by going to those respective web pages (links embedded above).


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Course Calendar

Each lesson has a open date and a close date. Consecutive lessons overlap each other so that there could be as many as three or four lessons open at one time. This means, for example, that you don't need to wait for Lesson 7 to close before starting on Lesson 8.

Lesson Opens is the first day you can access the lesson.

On-time (soft) Deadline is the date you should complete the lesson to be on pace.

Lesson Closes is the last day you can access the lesson. After this date, you will not have access to the lesson

If you don't finish a lesson in time to take the quiz or test, then you will receive a score of 0 (zero) on that quiz or test, so it is important to stay on top of the deadlines. Write these dates in your own personal calendar. Please read the syllabus to find out more about the lessons.

*Notice that Sections 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 10.2, 10.3, and 10.5 are skipped in this course.

Learning Modules Sections Quiz/Test  Lesson







at 11:59 PM

Lesson 0: Introduction




Lesson 0


Syllabus Quiz

Feb 13

Feb 15

Sun, Feb 26

Chapter 1: Lessons 1, 2, 3




Lesson 1

1.1 - 1.2

Quiz 1

Feb 13

Feb 17

Sun, Mar 5

Lesson 2

1.3 - 1.6

Quiz 2 & 3

Feb 15

Feb 20

Sun, Mar 5

Lesson 3

1.7 - 1.10

Quiz 4, 5,& 6

and Ch. 1 Test

Feb 17

Feb 23

Sun, Mar 5

1st Drop Deadline is February 26
Chapter 2: Lessons 4, 5, 6




Lesson 4

2.1 - 2.3

Quiz 7 & 8

Feb 22

Feb 27

Sun, Mar 19

Lesson 5

2.4 - 2.5

Quiz 9

Feb 26

Mar 3

Sun, Mar 19

Lesson 6

2.6 - 2.7

Quiz 10

and Ch. 2 Test

Mar 2

Mar 7

Sun, Mar 19

Chapter 3: Lessons 7, 8




Lesson 7


Quiz 11

Mar 6

Mar 11

Sun, Mar 26

Lesson 8

3.2 - 3.3

Quiz 12

and Ch. 3 mini test

Mar 10

Mar 15

Sun, Mar 26

Chapter 4: Lessons 9, 10, 11




Lesson 9

4.1 - 4.2

Quiz 13

Mar 14

Mar 19

Sun, Apr 9

Lesson 10

4.3 - 4.4

Quiz 14

Mar 18

Mar 23

Sun, Apr 9

Lesson 11

4.5 - 4.6

Quiz 15 & 16

and Ch. 4 Test

Mar 22

Mar 27

Sun, Apr 9

Chapter 6: Lessons 12, 13, 14




Lesson 12

6.1* - 6.3

Quiz 17, 18,& 19

Mar 28

Apr 4

Sun, Apr 30

Midterm Exam (Ch. 1 - 4 and 6.1 - 6.3)

at Norco College

April 5 - 8 (Wed - Sat)

(Refer to the Midterm web page for the testing schedule.)

Chapter 6: (Continued)




Lesson 13

6.4 - 6.5

Quiz 20

Apr 6

Apr 20

Sun, Apr 30

Lesson 14

6.6 - 6.8

Quiz 21 & 22

and Ch. 6 Test

Apr 13

Apr 25

Sun, Apr 30

Chapter 7: Lessons 15, 16, 17




Lesson 15

7.1 - 7.2

Quiz 23

Apr 20

Apr 30

Sun, May 14

Lesson 16


Quiz 24

Apr 25

May 4

Sun, May 14

Lesson 17

7.4 - 7.5

Quiz 25 & 26

and Ch. 7 Test

Apr 30

May 9

Sun, May 14

Chapter 8: Lessons 18, 19




Lesson 18

8.1 - 8.2

Quiz 27 & 28

May 5

May 14

Sun, May 28

Lesson 19

8.3 - 8.4

Quiz 29 & 30

and Ch. 8 Test

May 10

May 19

Sun, May 28

2nd Drop Deadline is May 12
Chapter 9: Lessons 20, 21




Lesson 20

9.1 - 9.2

Quiz 31 & 32

May 15

May 24

Sun, June 8

Lesson 21

9.3 - 9.4

Quiz 33 & 34

and Ch. 9 Test

May 20

May 29

Sun, June 8

Chapter 10: Lesson 22




Lesson 22

10.1 & 10.4*

Quiz 35 & 36

and Ch. 10 Test

May 25

June 3

Thu, June 8

Final Exam

at Norco College

June 3 - 8 (Sat - Thur)

(Refer to the final exam web page for the testing schedule.)

___________ ___________ ___________________ ___________ ________________ ________________

*Notice that Sections 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 10.2, 10.3, and 10.5 are skipped in this course.

**If you stop logging in but are still enrolled after the last day to drop, then you will receive a grade of F.


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If you are unable to keep up with the weekly routine, or if something comes up so that you can't complete the course, then you might consider dropping the course for this semester.

If you decide to drop the course, please take care of this yourself on WebAdvisor.

If I believe that you have fallen too far behind, or if you haven't logged into Blackboard for a while (two weeks or more), then I might drop you from this course. (And I might not -- don't rely on me to do the drop for you.)

If you are still enrolled in the class after the second drop deadline (see course calendar, above), you will receive a grade.

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