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Math 108 Practical Mathematics (Topics in Mathematics)

Fall 2010 Online course using Sakai


Contact Information:


Instructor: James Baglama

Phone: 401.874.4412

Office: Lippitt Hall 101A


Office Hours: 10am-11am MWTH or 1:30pm-2pm TTh.


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

3 Short Writing essays

30 points each, total 90 points

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

  6 points each, total 54 points

Extra credit maximum allowed 10 points

  0 to 10  points


384 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)/384 * 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% - 2.6% 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 September 8)


 “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 $60.95 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



Sept.  8 – Sept.  16


Classes begin


Ch. 1

pp. 22-24

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


Sept. 16


Sept. 17 – Sept. 27



Ch. 2

pp. 54-63

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


Sept. 27


Sept. 28  – Oct.  6


Short Writing Essay 1

 Due Oct. 6

Ch. 5

pp. 176-179

6, 10, 14, 22, 32


Oct.  6


Oct. 7  – Oct. 18

Quiz 1

Chapters 1, 2, 5

Ch. 8

pp. 275 - 278

1, 4, 12, 22, 32, 36

Oct. 18


Oct. 19 – Oct. 27



Ch. 9

pp. 308-309

2, 6, 10, 12, 14


Oct. 27


Oct.  28 – Nov. 5


Short Writing Essay 2

Due Nov. 5

Ch.  16

pp. 527-528

 6, 8, 10, 12, 16,

 18, 34, 38


Nov. 5


Nov. 8 – Nov.  17


Quiz 2

Chapters 8, 9, 16

Ch. 17

pp. 564-566

2, 4, 8, 14, 30, 58


Nov. 17


Nov. 18 – Nov. 30


Ch.  21

pp. 700-704

 2, 5, 6, 18, 23,

 24, 40, 44


Nov. 30


Dec. 1 – Dec. 9

Short Writing Essay 3

Due Dec. 9

Ch. 22

pp. 725 - 728

1, 2, 5, 6, 17, 18

Dec. 9


Dec. 10 – Dec. 20

Quiz 3

Chapters 17, 21, 22




REMARK:  Almost all of the problems I am collecting are the even problems. You must show all work for full credit. Homework with answers only will be given a zero and sent back ungraded. 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 three short writing essays for this course. The due dates are Oct. 6, Nov. 5, and Dec. 9 for essay 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Essays must be at least one page in length and no more than two pages (double space, 1in margin). 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 Sept. 8, Essay 2 topic will be posted on Oct. 7, and Essay 3 topic will be posted on Nov. 8. No late essays will be accepted. The computer system Sakai does not allow late submission.


Short Writing Essay grading rubric

Full credit

30pts (6 out of 6)

No major grammatical and spelling mistakes, (1) well organized, (2) well written, (3) material thoroughly covered, (4) display original thought,  (5) ideas follow and relate to each other in a logical way, and (6) uses examples or concepts from the textbook.

25pts (5 out of 6)

20pts (4 out of 6)

Most of the points (1) – (6) covered in the full credit, but not as well written and/or contains a few major grammatical/spelling errors.

15pts (3 out of 6)

10pts (2 out of 6)

Displays a decent effort, but misses most of the points (1) – (6) covered and/or

contains major grammatical/spelling errors.

9pts – 0pts

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

little effort made, looks like it was prepared night before or copied from the Internet.





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 384 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.





Homework 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.  I will also give zero points to individual homework problems with no work to support the answer. 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 weekdays (not including holidays)  and will be timed. For example, Quiz 1 will be made available on 12 :00 a.m. Thursday Oct. 7 and will be removed on 11:55 p.m.  Monday Oct. 18 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! No make-ups!



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 and your URI Webmail password (generally not your ecampus password). When you log into Sakai you will see the tap labeled Topics in Mathematics. Click on the tab. If you have many tabs, you might need to click on more to show the fall semester tabs. See the Help Desk on how to remove last semester tabs.