Department of Mathematics

Oregon Institute of Technology

**General Approach**

The text is based on the assumption that students taking Intermediate Algebra in college should work on fundamental skills needed for success in College Algebra. The focus is on simplifying expressions, solving equations, and graphing basic functions without use of a graphing calculator. Some points of emphasis throughout are

- distributing negatives
- squaring linear binomial expressions
- evaluating expressions for a given value of an unknown
- clearing fractions from equations

**Pedagogical Features**

The text is structured in such a way as to have students encounter solving of all types of equations and graphing functions as early as possible. This causes a break with the standard structure encountered in publisher's texts. Here are some features of the text:

- Each section begins with specific performance criteria that are addressed in that section.
- Arithmetic of polynomial, rational and radical expressions is initially developed only to the point necessary to solve linear, polynomial, rational and radical equations. Other computations, particularly for rational expressions are done later in the book.
- Expressions and equations containing more than one unknown are largely absent.
- The quadratic formula is introduced right after the introduction of roots. It is traditional to delay its introduction until after completing the square. That often results in very little time to practice with it before going on to College Algebra.
- Graphing of linear, quadratic, radical and very simple rational functions (one vertical asymptote) without the use of a graphing utility are emphasized.
- Successful execution of basic computations that students will encounter in their futures are emphasized over complex variations that rarely or never appear in later courses.
- Exercises sets are designed for spaced recall of previous skills. There is a listing at the back of exercises by performance criteria so that a student or instructor can easily find all exercises on a specific performance criterion.

- The text is available here as a pdf document for download or use online. Faculty can request a LaTeX source file from me to revise under the conditions of the Creative Commons license.
- The text is in close to what I would envision as its final form, and seems to be almost entirely error-free. I hope to add a few more exercises that are slight variations on the existing exercises, and perhaps a few exploratory sorts of exercises.
- I have a set of instructor notes, which are basically just examples to be done (by the instructor or students) in class, and I also have a moderately robust bank of test questions organized by performance criteria. Both of those are available on request, as pdf or LaTeX documents.
- At this web page there are links for many of the performance criteria to online videos of examples. Most of them are the excellent videos by James Sousa from his site mathispower4u.

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