Math 108 Section 0202 Topics in Mathematics

(Practical Mathematics)

Fall 2011 Online course using Sakai


Contact Information:


Instructor: James Baglama

Phone: 401.874.4412

Office: Lippitt Hall 101A


Office Hours:  MWThF 10am –11am or by appointment


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.






3 Online quizzes

50 points each, total 150 points

9 Homework assignments

10 points each, total 90 points

5 Learning Mathematics Short Essays

18 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: 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 Wednesday September 7)


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

Option 1:

Electronic textbook, referred to as the ebook. The website for the electronic textbook, The ebook cost $65.95 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 bookstore, W.H. Freeman Website, or



Course Outline:








Problems (Hand in)

HW Due



Sept. 7 – Sept. 15

(9 days)

Classes begin


Ch. 1

pp. 22-24

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


Sept. 15


Sept. 16  – Sept. 26

(11 days)

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 1

   Due Sept. 26

Ch. 2

pp. 54-63

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


Sept. 26


Sept. 27 – Oct. 5

(9 days)


Ch. 5

pp. 176-179

6, 10, 14, 22, 32


Oct. 5


Oct. 6 – Oct. 17

(12 days)

Quiz 1

Chapters 1, 2, 5

Ch. 8

pp. 275 - 278

1, 4, 12, 22, 32, 36

Oct. 17


Oct. 18 – Oct. 26

(9 days)

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 2

Due Oct. 26

Ch. 9

pp. 308-309

2, 6, 10, 12, 14


Oct. 26


Oct. 27 – Nov. 4

         (9 days)

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 3

Due Nov. 4

Ch.  16

pp. 527-528

 6, 8, 10, 12, 16,

 18, 34, 38


Nov. 4


Nov. 5 – Nov. 16

(12 days)

Quiz 2

Chapters 8, 9, 16

Ch. 17

pp. 564-566

2, 4, 8, 14, 30, 58


Nov. 16


Nov. 17 – Nov. 30

(14 days)

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 4

Due Nov. 30

Ch.  21

pp. 700-704

 2, 5, 6, 18, 23,

 24, 40, 44


Nov. 30


Dec. 1 – Dec. 12

(12 days)

 Learning Mathematics Short Essay 5

Due Dec. 12

Ch. 22

pp. 725 - 728

1, 2, 5, 6, 17, 18

Dec. 12


Dec. 13 – Dec. 20

(8 days)

Quiz 3

Chapters 17, 21, 22





Learning Mathematics Short Essays:


There will be five Learning Mathematics Short Essays this semester on the five parts of the textbook we are covering.



Textbook Part

Due Date

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 1

Part I: Management Science

Chapters 1 and 2

11:55 p.m. Mon. Sept. 26

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 2

Part II: Statistics: The Science of Data Chapters 5 and 8

11:55 p.m. Wed. Oct. 26

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 3

Part III: Voting and Social Choice

Chapter 9

11:55 p.m. Fri. Nov. 4

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 4

Part V: The Digital Revolution

Chapters 16 and 17

11:55 p.m. Wed. Nov. 30

Learning Mathematics Short Essay 5

Part VII: Your Money and Resources

Chapters 21 and 22

11:55 p.m.  Mon. Dec. 12


The first Learning Mathematics Short Essay will be posted on the first day of class. The next Learning Mathematics Short Essay will be posted after the due date of the first essay, i.e. 12:00 am Tuesday Sept. 27. I will continue this process for the semester. The essays require you to show me that you have an understanding of the material. You must EXPLAIN in detail what you are doing. You must use proper grammar when writing your essay and you must use concepts from the textbook and from other sources. The grading rubric for the essays is given below. A student that receives 6pts on each criterion would receive a grade of 18pts for that essay.


Learning Mathematics Short Essay Grading Rubric




1pt or 0 pts

Learning Objective

Clearly shows the learning objective and illustrates the concepts. Topic is thoroughly covered.

Some relation to the learning objective or concepts.

Does not relate to the learning objective or/and does not illustrate the concepts. Show misunderstanding of the concepts.

Uses facts/ examples from textbook and other sources

Essay clearly shows textbook facts/ examples and facts/examples from other sources. All facts are correct and all examples are correct

Essay has very few textbook facts/examples. No or little facts/examples from other sources. Some errors in the facts/examples.

No textbook facts/examples.

No facts/examples from other sources.

Major errors in the facts or examples. Shows a misunderstanding.

Essay quality


Well-organized, well written, displays original thought, ideas follow and relate to each other in a logical way.

Not well written and/or contains a few grammatical or spelling errors, but shows original thought and ideas follow and relate to each other in a logical way.

The essay is too short, shows very little information, and contains many grammatical or spelling errors. Little effort made, looks like it was prepared night before or copied from the Internet. Not well written, ideas do not follow in a logical way.





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 or 14% of your grade.  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. No make-ups allowed. You must post your first posting within the first three days of my posting. The is suppose to be interactive.


Forums grading rubric




1pt or 0 pts

Responses to questions

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

the text, adds additional information, 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. A student with INCORRECT fact in their posting can only receive a maximum of 1 pt for response to questions. Check your facts!


Postings encourage and facilitate interaction among members of the online community. Student responds to other postings. Must post 3 or more times to get 3 pts.

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. Posting of ’’I agree’’ is not consider a posting.  0 pts if you do not post within the first 3 days of the original posting.





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! Do not ask to submit late homework.


I suggest using a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) for your assignments and then create a pdf file. You can also scan and upload handwritten assignments or take a digital picture of your handwritten assignment with a camera or smart phone. 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 credit. You should do a similar odd problem to make sure you understand the homework.

I can only open word, image (jpg or gif) or pdf files. If I cannot open your file submission, I will allow only ONE resubmission in a different format. Answers to the homework problems will be uploaded into Resources folder called Homework Answers. Also, I have included in Homework Images. Different images you can use to do your homework problems.





Quizzes will be given through Sakai on the dates stated above. Quizzes 1 and 2 will be posted for 12 days. Quiz 1 will be made available at 12 :00 a.m.  Thursday October 6 and will be removed at 11:55 p.m.  Monday October 17 and Quiz 2 will be made available at 12 :00 a.m.  Saturday November 5 and will be removed at 11:55 p.m. Wednesday November 16. Quiz 3 will be given during the final exam week and open at 12 :00 a.m. Tuesday December 13 and close at 11:55 p.m. Friday December 16.  You will have a maximum of four hours to complete a quiz.  Failure to take a quiz in the given time slot will be given a zero. No exceptions!



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.



Podcasts, Video Lectures, and Lecture notes:


I will post Podcasts throughout the semester. The Podcasts will contain very useful information on the homework problems and topics. I have created video lectures for all of the chapters. I am also making available lecture notes via pdf and html.  


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.