Professor Ron Bertha


Math 104 Course Info

Course Purpose
Increase student’s problem solving and analytical capability while mastering typical College Algebra topics with emphasis on linear and non-linear expressions, functions, equations, and inequalities.

DocumentCourse Goals
The expected course outcomes, which include Final Exam topics are as follows:
1. Simplify real and complex numbers, integer and rational exponents, complex fractions, and absolute values, as well as polynomials, rational, radical, and exponential expressions.
2. Solve linear, quadratic, absolute value, rational and radical equations in one variable symbolically, as well as numerically and graphically using the graphing calculator.
3. Solve linear inequalities in one variable.
4. Solve linear systems of equations with two variables with applications.
5. Graph linear equations and inequalities in two variables including determining the slope.
6. Understand, recognize, evaluate, and graph functions—linear, quadratic, polynomial, absolute value, rational, radical, exponential, and logarithmic.
7. Using the graphing calculator, determine the "best fit curve" for linear and quadratic equations.
8. Use problem solving strategies (physical representations, guess and check, systematic list, draw a diagram, and unit analysis) to solve applications.

DocumentCourse Materials
(1) Book: Intermediate Algebra A Graphing Approach by K. Elayn Martin-Gay and Margaret Greene, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, 2001.
(2) Problem Solving Strategies by Leslie Wojciechowicz (handout, posted at course documents).
(3) Book Website:
(4) Calculator: A graphing calculator is required for this course. A TI-83 or TI-83 PLUS will be used and taught in class. A TI-82 will do many but not all of the functions. This can be purchased at the Bookstore, Office Depot or Staples, etc.

DocumentCourse Information
(1) Prerequisites: P4 in DVM 005, 006, or 007, or an appropriate math placement test score and an appropriate reading placement score DVR 006 completed or concurrent.
(2) Cheating: Any student guilty of cheating will be given a 0 on that assignment, final, test or quiz. Additionally, the incident will be formally reported to the Vice President for Student Services.
(3) Tutoring Center: Free tutoring is available, by appointment, Accokeek Hall, 3rd floor. Call 301-322-0748 to schedule an appointment.
(4) Test Administration: All tests will be taken in the Testing Center (Accokeek Hall--2nd floor). Go to to learn about the testing center rules and regulations and operating hours.
(5) Course Pace: It is imperative that you do not fall behind in this course; it is difficult to get caught back up in an online course. Stay abreast of all material and ASK FOR HELP as soon as you need it.
(6) Practice Problems: Suggested problems for you to do are provided for each section of the book (that we will cover) in accordance with the syllabus. Even though the answers/solutions to these problems will not be collected, you must be able to successfully complete these problems, along with the examples in the books, in order to be prepared for the graded assignments/tests and to master the course. Most of the answers to these problems are in the back of the textbook, and many of the problems are worked for you in the solutions manual.

DocumentGrading Policies

(1) Grades: Your total score (out of about 600 points) on tests, graded assignments, course participation, and the final exam will determine your grade. I reserve the right to use (in a positive manner only) a "fudge factor" based on attendance, effort, and class participation.
A = 90% of total, B = 80%, C = 70%, D = 60%
(2) Tests: There will be 3 tests of 100 points each, ALL of which will count toward your final grade. However, only 2 of 3 tests must be taken. Therefore, if you only take 2 of the 3 tests, only the 2 you take will count; if you take all 3 tests, then all 3 will count toward your grade. All tests are scheduled in the syllabus and will be given in the Testing Center (Accokeek Hall--2nd floor of library on main campus). Though not necessary, all students are welcome/encouraged to take all 3 tests. Make-up tests will be given only in emergency circumstances and only after the student has already missed one previous test. Make-up tests, if necessary, will be given during the last week of the semester (final exam week).
(3) Assignments: There will be 4 graded assignments of 50 points each, of which only the top 3 will count toward your final grade. Students must take/turn in a minimum of 3 assignments or receive a zero for those assignments short of the 3 minimum. Assignments will be posted several days prior to when they are due; they will be due on the date specified in the syllabus. No late assignments will be accepted and no make-up assignments will be given. Assignments can be passed to me using any one of the 5 following ways:
(a) Hard copy left for me at the PGCC Math Department office prior to 6:00 PM.
(b) Faxed to me at 703-455-5303.
(c) Emailed to me as an attachment.
(d) Copied (and sent) into digital drop box in blackboard.
(e) Snail-mailed to me; post-marked date will be used for determining timeliness. See staff information for my mailing address.
(4) Course participation is worth 100 points. This is a objective/subjective score/grade based on your completion of special assignments (TBD) and/or participation in the discussion board of blackboard. No question is too dumb to ask. Your questions/answers/comments in the discussion board may not only assist you, but also significantly assist other students in the course.
(5) Final Exam: The final is a comprehensive exam on all the subject material in the course, and is worth 150 points (25% of your total grade if you take 2 take only 2 of the 3 tests). The final is scheduled for August 7-10 in the Assessment Center.