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Math 108 Practical Mathematics (Topics in Mathematics)

Summer 2010 Online course using Sakai


Contact Information:


Instructor: James Baglama

Phone: 401.874.4412

Office: Lippitt Hall 101A


Office Hours:  By appointment only.


Learning Outcomes:


The course is designed to help students learn to think logically and analytically, and to understand the importance and practical applications of math in everyday life, science, and technology.


Course Description:


The online Math 108, Practical Mathematics, is a special topics course that satisfies the general education requirement for math at the University of Rhode Island. The three general educations skills addressed in this class, are reading complex texts, using quantitative data, and using information technology. The content of the course is intended for students majoring in the liberal arts or other fields that do not have a specific mathematical requirement. This course covers in part the following topics, Management Science, Identification Numbers, Transmitting Information and Cryptography, the Internet, Voting Methods, Data Distributions, and the Mathematics of Money. Prerequisite for this course is basic high school math.


Course Objectives and Goals:


To better appreciate the variety of subjects within mathematics, you will be introduced to some exciting ideas in mathematics that come from a wide variety of disciplines along with real world applications.  The course intends to help students think logically and critically about mathematical information that abounds in our society.





3 Online quizzes

50 points each, total 150 points

9 Homework assignments

10 points each, total 90 points

2 Short Writing essays

30 points each, total 60 points

Participation (9 discussion groups, i.e. Forums)

  6 points each, total 54 points

Extra credit maximum allowed 10 points

  0 to 10  points


354 total points

A  (92% - 100%)

A- (90% - 91%)

B+ (87% - 89%)

B (82% - 86%)

B- (80% - 81%)

C+ (77% - 79%)

C (72% - 76%)

C- (70% - 71%)

D+ (67% - 69%)

D (60% - 66%)

F (0% - 59%)

Compute Grade -> (your total points)/354 * 100 = your percentage

Remark: Incompletes can only be given if you are passing the course.

Remark: No across the board curves allowed.  Extra credit points translate into a 0% - 2.5% curve in your favor. Everyone will have an opportunity for extra credit points. These (extra credit points) will not be given, but earned by you and will be applied individually.



TextBook: (Must have textbook by May 24)


 “For All Practical Purposes”, 8th edition by COMAP. Publisher W.H. Freeman.

There are several options to obtain the textbook for this course.

Option 1:

Electronic textbook, referred to as the ebook. The website for the electronic textbook, The ebook cost $62.95 for one-year access to the electronic textbook. The instructor's email address is

Option 2:

Purchase a new or used hard copy of the textbook.

Kingston book store, W.H. Freeman Website, or



Course Outline:








Problems to Hand in

HW Due



May 24 – May 31


Classes begin


Ch. 1

pp. 22-24

4, 6, 8, 18, 26, 28, 30


May 31


June 1 – June 7



Ch. 2

pp. 54-63

2, 4, 12, 24, 42, 52, 70


June 7


June 8 – June 14


Short Writing Essay 1

 Due June 14

Ch. 5

pp. 176-179

6, 10, 14, 22, 32


June 14


June 15 – June 21

Quiz 1

Chapters 1, 2, 5

Ch. 8

pp. 275 - 278

1, 4, 12, 22, 32, 36

June 21


June 22 – June 28



Ch. 9

pp. 308-309

2, 6, 10, 12, 14


June 28


June 29 – July 6


Short Writing Essay 2

Due July 6

Ch.  16

pp. 527-528

 6, 8, 10, 12, 16,

 18, 34, 38


July 6


July 7 – July 13


Quiz 2

Chapters 8, 9, 16

Ch. 17

pp. 564-566

2, 4, 8, 14, 30, 58


July 13


July 14 – July 20


Ch.  21

pp. 700-704

 2, 5, 6, 18, 23,

 24, 40, 44


July 20


July 21 – July 29

Quiz 3

Chapters 17, 21, 22

Ch. 22

pp. 725 - 728

1, 2, 5, 6, 17, 18

July 29




REMARK:  Almost all of the problems I am collecting are the even problems. You must show the work for full credit. You should do a similar odd problem to make sure you understand the homework. You are responsible for understanding the homework problems. I will grade the problems and send back a pdf file with the answers to the even problems. If you need more explanation send me an email.










Short Writing Essays:


There will be two short writing essays for this course. The due dates are June 14 and July 6 for essay 1 and 2 respectively. Essays will be no more than one page in length. The assignments must be submitted by the due date and must be submitted using the Assignments tool in Sakai. DO NOT SUBMIT ASSIGNMENTS VIA EMAILS OR FAXES! I will not accept them! I suggest using a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) for your essay submissions. Essay topics will be posted in Sakai. Essay 1 topic will be posted on May 24 and Essay 2 topic will be posted on June 15. No late essays will be accepted. The computer system Sakai does not allow late submission.


Short Writing Essay grading rubric

Full credit (30pts)

No grammatical and spelling mistakes, well organized, well written, material thoroughly covered, paper stands out from other papers, and display of original thought

29pts – 20 pts

Most of the points covered in the full credit, but not as well written

19pts – 10pts

Displays a decent effort, and no major grammatical or spelling problems

9pts – 0pts

Comprehension of material not displayed, and/or major grammatical or spelling problems,

little effort made, looks like it was prepared night before





You will be required to participate in the discussion groups, i.e. Forums. Topics will be posted as the course progresses. There will be one Forum for each chapter we cover. This is considered class participation and counts for 54 points out of 354 points.  At the end of a discussion I will grade each student. A student that receives 3pts on each criterion would receive a grade of 6pts for that discussion.


Forums grading rubric




1pt or 0 pts

Responses to questions

Student responds to the posted questions with thoughtful ideas, uses concepts in

the text, and post in a timely manner.

Student responds to the posted question in a way that does not clearly use the concepts in the text.

Student responds to the posted question but misses the main idea.


Postings encourage and facilitate interaction among members of the online community. Student responds to other postings.

Postings rarely interact with or respond to other members of the online community.

Not actively engaged in the discussion.

Postings respond to questions posed by the instructor only. Students rarely post to the discussion boards.





All homework has been assigned with a due date. The assignments must be submitted by the due date using the Assignments tool in Sakai. DO NOT SUBMIT ASSIGNMENTS VIA EMAILS OR FAXES! I will not accept them! I suggest using a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) for your assignments. You can also scan and upload handwritten assignments. The computer system Sakai does not allow late submission.  I will not accept homework without worked out problems. Homework assignments with answers only will be given a zero. Almost all of the problems I am collecting are the even problems. You must show the work for full credit. You should do a similar odd problem to make sure you understand the homework.







Quizzes will be given through Sakai on the dates stated above. Quizzes will be posted for 7 days and will be timed. For example, Quiz 1 will be made available on 12 :00 a.m.  Tuesday June 15 and will be removed on 11:55 p.m.  Monday June 21 and you will have a maximum of four hours to complete the quiz.  Failure to take the quiz in the given time slot will be given a zero. No exceptions!



Academic Integrity:


Cheating is defined in the University Manual section 8.27.10 as the claiming of credit for work not done independently without giving credit for aid received, or any unauthorized communication during examinations. Students are expected to be honest in all academic work.  The resolution of any charge of cheating or plagiarism will follow the guideline set forth in the University Manual 8.27.10-8.27.20, Online exams must be done independently. Suspicious scores may require additional explanation via email or phone and/or a face to face on campus examination.  




Sakai is being used to teach this course. That means you must become familiar with using Sakai. All of the course material can only be accessed through the Sakai course shell. All assignments MUST be submitted through Sakai using the Assignments tool. You can access Sakai at the following web address:  Use your e-campus id or your 9-digit URI student number and your email password. When you log into Sakai you will see the tap labeled Topics in Mathematics. Click on the tab.