Syllabus: Math 151 Summer B 2015

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Finite Mathematics (Math 151)

Instructor: Sean Carver, Ph.D., Professorial Lecturer, American University.

Lecture Notes and Other Materials for Math 151 (click here).


  • 107 Gray Hall
  • office phone: 202-885-6629

Textbook and Required Software Finite Mathematics for Business, Economics, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences, Thirteen Edition. By Raymond A. Barnett, Michael R. Ziegler, and Karl E. Byleen, Pearson 2015. Required Software: To do your homework, you must purchase a license for the online software package MyMathLab. A license for this software includes access to the online version of the book. Also a new print copy of the book comes with a license for the software, so there is no need to buy both. Used copies of the textbook do not always come with a license for the software, so that is not usually a good option.

Course Description: (From university website): Review of algebra, sets, linear equations and inequalities, nonlinear inequalities, interest problems, systems of linear equations, functions and graphs, and elementary data analysis. Note: No credit toward mathematics major. Students may not receive credit for more than one course numbered MATH-15x.

Prerequisite: Three years of high school mathematics or equivalent.

Learning Outcomes: Increasingly, people are aware of the value of mathematics or, more abstractly, the value of structured-thinking and problem-solving in society. In many fields, including the arts, there are similarities in the types of quantitative skills that are most essential. For example, linear functions and exponential functions appear most frequently in the beginnings of the quantitative theories in most fields and they will be a big focus in this course. The goal is not just to learn some abstract math but to have the ability to connect that abstract theory with real-life situations, and contextualize the math that you know.

Office Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to come to office hours if they need or want help.

My office is Gray Hall, Room 107. Office hours are tentatively scheduled as follows: (may be adjusted throughout the semester)

  • Monday 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (Please arrive before 8:00 PM, otherwise I may go home).
  • Thursday 1:30PM - 3:30 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (Please arrive before 8:00 PM, otherwise I may go home).

Tutoring through AU's Academic Support and Access Center. By appointment. See

Tutoring through MATH/STAT tutoring center: Gray Hall, Room 110

Spring 2015 Hours (Summer hours may be similar but have not yet posted, yet)

  • Sunday, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Monday - Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Contact: Phone: 202-885-3154, Alt Phone: 202-885-3120, E-mail:, Dr. Behzad Jalali

Class Times and Locations:

  • Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 05:30PM - 07:30PM, East Quad Building 207, From 05/18/15 to 06/25/15

Important Dates:

  • Monday, May 18, 2015: First Day of Class
  • Monday, May 25, 2015: Memorial Day, No Class
  • Thursday, June 4, 2015: Midterm Exam (During class)
  • Thursday, June 25, 2015: Final Exam (During Class) and Last Day of Class

Tentative grading scheme:

Midterm 30%
Final 30%
Homework 30%
Attendance and Participation 10%

Homework: For homework, we will primarily be using the web-based software MyMathLab. You will use this software to complete online homework assignments. You will get immediate feedback. Right away, you will know whether or not your answers are correct. When they are wrong, you can try again. If you get stuck, you are provided with an impressive array of tools to get you unstuck:

  • very short videos on the topic at hand,
  • links to the appropriate section of the e-text,
  • step-by-step tutorials that guide you through the problem, (e.g. similar problems worked out)
  • links to live math tutors,
  • online chat sessions,
  • a button that lets you email the instructor with a screenshot of the problem you are working on. Please use this feature, especially if the other resources fail. I may not be able to answer you directly every time, but it will clue me on what to review and go over again in class.

Homework will be assigned most days of class, and will usually be due one week after it is assigned. I expect that the first homework set will be assigned on Thursday, May 21. On this day, we will take class time to get familiar with MyMathLab. So bring your laptops! There may be other occasions to bring laptops to class, so be prepared.

If you want to try to login to MyMathLab before Thursday this is the information you need:

  • Your Course Name: Finite Mathematics (MATH 151-2015XB-01)
  • Your Course ID: carver67365

How much time should you spend on studying? Summer courses are intensive---they cover the same material over 6 weeks instead of 15. In general, expect to spend more time for summer courses than you would for most courses over the main school year. Of course, it varies from student to student, but a guideline of what is reasonable is linked here and quoted below:

For every hour you spend in class, you should spend 2 hours studying. For example, you take a class, 1 hour a day, 3 days a week. You should study for 6 hours a week for that class. My college professors always told me you should spend four hours studying each week per credit hour. For example, if you’re taking a class that’s worth 3 credit hours, you’ll need to study 12 hours a week for that class. It seems unrealistic, but it’s always worked for me!! Just break it down a little bit each day, say study a little over an hour every day, and you’ll be fine! You could easily spend several hours outside of class for each hour you spend in class.

Exams (midterm and final): There is a way to run exams through MyMathLab. We may or may not take advantage of this feature. If we do, we may move our exam to a computer lab. I'll keep you posted. If you need accommodations for the exam, please complete the paperwork through ASAC as soon as possible and let me know. If you miss an exam, your absence must be excused through the Dean of Students. They do not grant these excuses automatically. Letting them know as early as possible is your best bet.

Attendance and Participation Attendance will be taken most class days. Each day is worth 5 points. Your presence in class is expected everyday. If you can't make it to class, please let me know. There may be points for participation added later. Finally there could be extra credit points which add to this category but don't get averaged in (so that your grade doesn't go down if you don't get the points). I'll alert you to these opportunities when the time comes. Regardless of the number of points awarded attendance and participation will be weighted to 10% of final grade.

Classroom étiquette: Please be respectful of me and your fellow students. Please pay attention and refrain from talking, texting, or surfing the web. Please participate with the class and ask questions when you do not understand something. I do not mind taking time for questions. In fact, it is more important to me that you understand the things we cover than when cover more things.

Academic Integrity: Cheating is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Consider this: in subtle ways, cheating to get a better grade on an exam can result in lowering the grades of some of your classmates. Certainly this is true when a specific curve is used to assign grades. Even when I don't use curves explicitly, they can be implicit in decisions about writing and grading exams. As required by the policy of American University, I will report all suspected cases of cheating to the Dean's office who will proceed to investigate and adjudicate the issues. Cheating is giving or receiving unauthorized assistance on exams, from other students or other people, from notes, from books, or from the web. When inappropriate copying between students is caught, both parties may be culpable.

Public Service Announcement: A representative of AU's Students Against Sexual Violence (SASV) approached me and asked me to include on my syllabi a list of resources available for survivors of sexual assault and their friends. While sexual violence is by no means the only challenge faced by students, I agree that this issue merits particular attention, so I am honoring her request by attaching the list she gave me:

Sexual Assault Resources

  • It’s never the survivor’s fault. There are many people you can talk to if you or someone you care about has been sexually assaulted:
  • AU's Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator Daniel Rappaport (
  • AU's Coordinator for Victim Advocacy Sara Yzaguirre (
  • DC SANE Program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) 1-800-641-4028
  • The only hospital in DC area that gives Physical Evidence Recover Kits (rape kits) is Medstar Washington Hospital
  • DC Rape Crisis Center: 202-333-7273
  • Students found responsible for sexual misconduct can be sanctioned with penalties that include suspension or expulsion from American University, and they may be subject to criminal charges
  • If you want to submit a formal complaint against someone who has sexually assaulted you, harassed you, or discriminated against you based on your gender identity or sexual orientation, you can do so online at, or contact the Dean of Students at or 202-885-3300. These are Title IX violations, and universities are legally required to prohibit these actions.
  • Resources on campus that are required to keep what you tell them confidential are Daniel Rappaport, Sara Yzaguirre, ordained chaplains in Kay, and counselors at the counseling center