MA004: Intermediate Algebra

Course Syllabus for "MA004: Intermediate Algebra"

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

This course is a continuation of MA001: Beginning Algebra. Algebra allows us to formulate real-world problems in an abstract mathematical term or equation. These equations can then be solved by using techniques you will learn in this course. For example, if I can ride my bicycle at 5 miles per hour and I live 12 miles from work, how long will it take me to get to work? Or, suppose I am a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and my fast ball is 95 miles per hour, how much time does the hitter have to react to the baseball? And, can you explain why an object thrown up into the air will come back down? If so, can you tell how long it will take for the object to hit the ground? These are all examples of problems that can be stated as an algebraic equation and then solved. In this course you will study compound inequalities and solve systems of linear equations. You will then study radicals and rational exponents, followed by quadratic equations and techniques used to solve these equations. Finally, you will study general functions and graphs with an emphasis on the exponential and logarithmic functions. You will apply these skills to solve real-world problems, represented as word problems. Each unit will have its own application problems, based on the concepts to which you have been exposed in the unit. This course is also intended to provide you with a strong foundation for Calculus I.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • solve compound inequalities, absolute value inequalities, and systems of linear equations;
  • simplify radical expressions;
  • solve quadratic equations and applications, and also simplify compound fractions;
  • solve rational equations and applications;
  • use function notation to model real-world problems; and
  • use exponential and logarithmic functions.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    have competency in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

√    have completed MA001: Beginning Algebra or have knowledge equivalent to the content of Beginning Algebra.

Course Information

Welcome to MA004: Intermediate Algebra. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Course Designer: Dr. Jim Vandergriff
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

This course has been developed through a partnership with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. The Saylor Foundation has modified some materials created by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in order to best serve our users.
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Remember that mathematics is like a set of building blocks, meaning each unit should be mastered before continuing to the next unit. You will also need to complete the unit assessments and final exam.
Please note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the problem sets within the above-listed assessments.
In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: Completing this course should take a total of approximately 129.25 hours. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories, determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take approximately 28 hours. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunit 1.1 (estimated at 4.5 hours) on Monday night; Subunit 1.2 (estimated at 4.5 hours) on Tuesday night; Subunit 1.3 (estimated at 5 hours) on Wednesday night; etc.
Tips/Suggestions: As noted in the “Course Requirements,” there are prerequisites for this course. It may be helpful to review MA001: Beginning Algebra before you begin this course.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.