Syllabus

Quantitative literacy is “the ability to interpret and communicate numbers and mathematical information throughout everyday life”.

Page Contents

1. Required Course Materials

  • Calculator: scientific or graphing without communication or internet ability.
  • WeBWork system for online homework:$50
    • Payment window is not open yet, everyone has access until payment is due in September!
    • go to math.msu.edu/student for access to WeBWork

2. Attendance Policy

  • Students are expected to be present and on time for all class sessions.
  • Students are expected to participate in class discussions and presentations.
  • Students are expected to attend all class meetings and are responsible for all of the material covered in class. Students who miss a class meeting should copy notes from a classmate.
  • Any changes in this syllabus or in the scheduling of homework assignments, projects, labs, or exams will be announced in class.

3. Goals and Learning Objectives

3.1 Effective Communication

  • Effectively discuss quantitative information with their peers, both verbally and in written form.
  • Analyze and use quantitative information to support an argument.
  • Read and interpret quantitative information from a variety of real-world sources.
  • Recognize and evaluate quantitative assumptions in printed and digital media.

3.2 Effective Citizenship

  • Analyze and interpret statistics about global issues, particularly in the contexts of social justice, health, and the environment.
  • Recognize when statistics and graphs in the media are presenting results in a misleading manner.

3.3 Demonstrate proficiency in multiple mathematical domains

  • Interpret mathematical models of social issues and public policy in the form of formulas, graphs, tables, and images, and draw inferences from them.
  • Utilize percentages, mean, median, percentiles, and absolute vs. relative measures in order to interpret data and make decisions about global issues.
  • Interpret statistical graphs, such as scatter plots, line graphs, and bar graphs.
  • Reasoning with probability and expected value.

3.4 Mathematical Modeling

  • Make predictions about quantitative situations and check predictions against data in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and make choices.
  • Critically analyze quantitative information and recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have limits.
  • Recognize the difference between correlation and causation.
  • Interpret the reasonableness of estimates obtained from interpolation and extrapolation. Interpret and predict errors associated with prediction.

4. Course Grade and Exam Dates

Assessment ItemPercent of Grade
Homework in WeBWork10%
In-Class Participation (weekly in large lecture)5%
Labs (weekly in recitation)30%
Snapshot of Learning (weekly in recitation)20%
Writing Project10%
Midterm Exam (evening exam Wed. Oct 23)10%
Final Exam (Monday, December 9 from 10a-12p)15%

Course grades will be assigned as follows:

4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.0
90% or more 85%-89% 80%-84% 75%-79% 70%-74% 65%-69% 60%-64% Less than 60%

4.1 Something Graded Incorrectly?

  • If you have any questions regarding the grading of any of your assignments, you should return the graded paper to your recitation instructor and attach a short note with your questions before leaving the classroom . Once the graded material has left the classroom, no grading changes can be made.
  • The recitation instructor will not make grade changes during class time, but will return your paper the following week with corrections, if determined to be necessary.

5. Description and Policies of Assessments

5.1 Online homework via WeBWork (10% of your grade)

  • In the WeBWork platform, you will find the 14 required homework assignments. There are other practice assignments that are not due for credit.
  • Personal issues or internet issues are not a valid excuse for not being able to complete assignments on time. You should plan on having all homework questions completed 24 hours before they are due.
  • Your homework scores will be uploaded to the course gradebook within 24 hours of the due date.
  • There are no make-ups for missed homeworks and late homeworks will not be accepted.
  • We understand that unavoidable absences do occur. We will drop the 2 lowest homework scores when determining your overall grade. These are meant to account for medical emergencies, travel, computer issues, etc.
  • See the course calendar with homework due dates.

5.2 Labs (30% of your grade)

  • Most labs require participation in a group setting.
  • There are no make-ups for missed labs or classes.
  • We understand that unavoidable absences do occur. We will drop the lowest lab score when determining your overall grade.
    • The dropped lab score is meant to account for most special circumstances such as:
      • Weddings
      • Short-term Illness
      • Work
      • Emergencies
      • Job Interviews
      • Funerals
      • Travel

      Exceptions to this rule include: university sanctioned events, religious holidays, military obligation, or late add. In these cases the instructor and student will work together prior to the expected absence to decide between a make-up lab assignment or to drop the assignment from the student’s grade calculation (whichever seems most appropriate for the situation). For these types of events, the student should contact their instructor at least one week in advance.

    • Example 1: You miss a lab due to a medical emergency, and then miss another lab due to sleeping in. You still only get one dropped lab. (classroom myths)
    • Example 2: You have attended all labs. Your lowest score will be dropped and your lab grade will be calculated out of your remaining higher scores.
  • Grading comments for lab days:
    • Labs are graded based on correctness and participation (engagement). Students should work in teams on the lab during the entire lab time. It is possible that some groups do not complete the entire lab. They can still earn full credit, if they were actively engaged in the activities.
    • Student who are present for the lab, but who do not contribute to a group work assignment will receive a 0 lab grade for that day.
    • Students who spend a lot of time texting, on social media, talking to classmates about non-course related material, or working on assignments for other courses will receive a 0 grade for that day.
    • Students who arrive late or leave early will have a reduced grade. Students who miss more than 15 minutes of the lab will receive a zero.
    • Please see section 6.1 in the syllabus regarding appropriate group behavior.

5.3 Snapshots of Learning (SL) (20% of your grade)

  • SLs will be short weekly assessments done in recitation that are related to the previous week’s lab and lecture.
  • The SL assessments are in the beginning of class, so please be sure to be on time. If you are late to class and miss a portion of the SL assessment, your TA will not provide you with additional time.
  • You can use your own notebook and previous labs for reference on SL assessments.
  • There are no make-ups for missed SL. If you arrive to recitation late and miss part of or all of the SL, you will not receive a make-up. Typically no make-ups will be given for SL assessements. We will drop the lowest SL score when determining your overall grade. The dropped SL score is meant to account for most special circumstances such as:
    • Weddings
    • Short-term Illness
    • Work
    • Emergencies
    • Job Interviews
    • Funerals
    • Travel

    Exceptions to this rule include: university sanctioned events, religious holidays, military obligation, or late add. In these cases the instructor and student will work together prior to the expected absence to decide between a make-up SL assignment or to drop the assignment from the student’s grade calculation (whichever seems most appropriate for the situation). For these types of events, the student should contact their instructor at least one week in advance.

5.4 In-Class Participation (5% of your grade)

  • During the large lectures for Sections 1-24, the instructor will invite student participation through online questions related to the topic of the day via the PollEverywhere App.
    • A smartphone or computer is necessary to participate in the surveys.
    • Forgetting to bring a device, low battery on a device, or any other technology issues will be counted as missed participation-3 class misses are dropped to account for technology issues and unexpected absences.
    • In this setting we are not assessing correctness, just looking for participation to facilitate class discussion.
    • See the table for participation grade:
      Missed LecturesEnd of Semester Score
      0-3100%
      475%
      550%
      625%
      7+0%
  • For sections 25-28, your instructor will give details on how they will grade class participation.

5.5 Writing Project (10% of your grade)

  • This is a writing assignment associated with work completed in Lab 4 and Lab 6.
  • Part 1-Excel Spreadsheet with Country Rankings is due via D2L upload on Monday, Oct 14 at 10 pm (4% of Writing Project grade). D2L.
  • Part 2-PDF paper is due via D2L upload on Monday, November 4 at 10 pm (6% of Writing Project grade).
  • NO late uploads will be accepted for any reason.

5.6 Midterm (10% of your grade)

  • The midterm exam is a common night exam and will take place on Wednesday, October 23 from 7:30pm-8:45pm. Rooms will be announced closer to exam time. It is very important that you mark your calendar with the exam dates/times during the first week of the semester and let your instructor know ASAP if you have a scheduling conflict of any sort like a conflicting class or MSU sponsored athletic event.
  • No retakes are allowed.
  • Typically a missed exam will be counted as a 0, including the final exam.
  • A student who is late 30 minutes or more to the exam may not be allowed to take it and will receive a 0.
  • The exam dates and times have been displayed since the beginning of the semester, therefore excuses such as work, travel, etc. are not valid reasons for missing the exam.
    • In rare situations, students who have made travel plans prior to the beginning of the semester for an exam night and have documentation showing this may request an exam drop for missing the exam. However, students must request this from their instructor during the first week of the semester. After the first week, no travel accommodations will be granted.
    • Emergency Exam misses
      • Such as sickness, accidents, etc.
        • Must provide the instructor with as much notice as possible, typically prior to the exam.
        • Must have documentation that lists the student by name and signed by a professional (doctor, judge, police officer, etc.) stating specific dates to be excused including the exam date.
      • Note: oversleeping, running late, confusion, or undocumented excuses in general, are not accepted.
  • The midterm will be in a format similar to the final.
  • Calculator is recommended. It is your responsibility to bring a calculator with working batteries. You may not use your phone or borrow another student’s calculator during the exam. Your instructor will not have extra calculators available.
  • Two articles will be posted on the course website one week in advance of the Midterm date.
  • You will be asked to answer questions about the articles’ content and to explain your thinking.
  • You can use your own notebook for reference during the midterm exam.

5.7 Final Exam (15% of your grade)

  • The final exam will take place on Monday, December 9th from 10am-12pm.
  • Calculator is recommended. It is your responsibility to bring a calculator with working batteries. You may not use your phone or borrow another student’s calculator during the exam. Your instructor will not have extra calculators available.
  • Two articles will be posted on the course website at least one week in advance of the Final Exam date.
  • You will be asked to answer questions about the articles’ content and to explain your thinking.
  • You can use your own notebook for reference during the final exam.

5.8 Extra Credit Pre and Post Survey

  • There will be 2 extra credit opportunities available in the class: a pre- and post-survey are worth 0.5% extra credit each. If you do both, you will receive 1% extra credit at the end of class.
  • Both survey links will be posted on the course website home page. You will need to log in to the survey with your MSU netID and password.
  • The pre-survey will be due Monday, Sept 9 at 10 pm.
  • The post-survey will be due Friday, December 6 at 10 pm.

6. Other Policies and Resources

6.1 Communication with Instructors/TAs

Most instructors prefer to be contacted via email which can be found on the people and places tab. Instructors will strive to respond to emails within one business day but may not respond if

  • they already addressed or are planning on addressing the question/issue in class to everyone, or
  • if the answer is available on the syllabus/course website.

Therefore, it is a good idea to check the syllabus and course website before emailing your instructor! Note: Instructors will strive to respond to any contact after 12:00pm on Friday by the end of the day on Monday.

6.2 Civil Discourse

All of us come into the classroom with unique prior experiences and points of view. We are going to discuss a variety of topics in this class which may cause disagreement. In fact, multiple perspectives in our class discussions are encouraged. However, all students, TAs, and instructors are expected to respect each other and approach each interaction and new idea with an open mind. Hateful and demeaning speech will not be tolerated. In recitation, students are expected to work as teams to complete labs. Contributions from all group members is expected.  Please let your instructor know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups.

6.3 Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

Students should read the syllabus and be familiar with our policies and how they will be graded. No make-ups or extensions will be granted for students on the basis of not knowing.

6.4 Class Policies for Exams

We strongly believe that all students should have equal resources and opportunity during proctored assessments. Therefore, in addition to the departmental academic dishonesty policy stated above, this class has a list of class policies to help promote academic honesty and fairness. The following list applies to all Snapshots of Learning, midterm and final exam for this class.

  • Students should not have any electronic device on their person that can be used for communication. This includes phones, smart watches, tablets, etc. These sorts of electronics should either be left at home or turned off and stowed in your backpack/bag.
  • Scientific or graphing calculators without communication or internet ability are allowed. You may not use your phone or borrow another student’s calculator during the exam. Your instructor will not have extra calculators available.
  • There is no communication allowed between students for any reason. If you have a question you should raise your hand and ask a proctor. Make sure that you bring your own writing utensil and eraser to the exam.
  • Students must have their MSU ID to submit an exam.
  • Students must comply with all reasonable requests of the proctors.
  • Students are not allowed to bring own scratch paper. Scratch paper will be provided by the proctor.
  • Students are not permitted to leave during the first 30 minutes of an exam. Those who finish early should check their answers.
  • Writing on or altering a returned assessment is prohibited. If you wish to make notes/corrections beyond what the grader has given, you should do so on an additional piece of paper and staple/tape it to the assessment.
  • Bathroom breaks are discouraged as they take away from your time on the assessment. Please plan ahead and use the bathroom beforehand.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Students who violate any of the class policies may receive a penalty grade determined based on the severity of the action by the instructor and course supervisor.

6.5 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (from the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD))

Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a Verified Individual Services Accommodation (”VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc.). Requests received after this date may not be honored.

  • All students who plan to use their RCPD accommodations must provide a copy of the VISA (paper or email) AND meet with the instructor at least 7 days prior to receiving accommodations.
  • If you have extended time accommodations, contact your instructor at least 7 days in advance to arrange for the time and location of your extended time testing (for quizzes and exams).
  • If you have separate room/quiet room testing accommodations that you would like to use, please submit an exam request to the RCPD office online via www.myprofile.rcpd.msu.edu . This request must be entered no less than 7 days in advance (14 days for final exams). The Department of Mathematics cannot provide separate testing room accommodations.

6.6 Diversity Statement

It is our intention that all students from all backgrounds and perspectives will be well served by this course and that the diversity that students bring to this class will be viewed as an asset. We welcome individuals of all ages, beliefs, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, national origins, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, family education level, ability – and other visible and nonvisible differences.  We will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate/preferred name or gender pronoun. We will do our best to address all students accordingly and support classmates in doing so as well. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment for every other member of this class. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.

6.7 Math Learning Center

During certain hours, free walk-in math help for MTH 101 is available in the Math Learning Center (MLC). The times and locations that help is available for MTH 101 will be posted on D2L and on this website (People and Places tab). You may seek help at the MLC during any of the hours that MTH 101 help is available (listed on D2L) – you may get help from your own recitation leader, or any of the other recitation leaders or tutors that are scheduled for MTH 101. Please be patient when you are there! There are many students, and only a few tutors – the earlier and more prepared you are, the faster your questions will be able to be answered.

Note that the tutors in the MLC are not individual tutors – they must spend time helping all students who need help.

6.8 Spartan Code of Honor

The Spartan Code of Honor states that

“As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.”

More information can be found at http://honorcode.msu.edu/.

6.9 Academic Honesty

Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” In addition, the Mathematics Department adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu.) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any coursework in this course. Students who violate MSU academic integrity rules may receive a penalty grade, including a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your coursework. (See also the Academic Integrity webpage.)

Consistent with MSU’s efforts to enhance student learning, foster honesty, and maintain integrity in our academic processes, we use a tool called Turnitin to compare a student’s work with multiple sources. The tool compares each student’s work with an extensive database of prior publications and papers, providing links to possible matches and a “similarity score.” The tool does not determine whether plagiarism has occurred or not. Instead, the instructor must make a complete assessment and judge the originality of the student’s work. All submissions to this course may be checked using this tool.

Students should submit papers to Turnitin Dropboxes without identifying information included in the paper (e.g., name or student number), the system will automatically show this information to faculty in your course when viewing the submission, but the information will not be retained by Turnitin.

6.10 Limits to confidentiality

Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues to protect the health and safety of MSU community members and others. As the instructor, I must report the following information to the Department of Police and Public Safety if you share it with me: • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child, • Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment when they involve MSU students, faculty, or staff, and • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others. These reports will trigger contact from the Department of Police and Public Safety who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling Center.

6.11 Disruptive Behavior

Article 2.III.B.4 of the Academic Freedom Report (AFR) for students at Michigan State University states: ”The student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.” Article 2.III.B.10 of the AFR states that ”The student has a right to scholarly relationships with faculty based on mutual trust and civility.” General Student Regulation 5.02 states: ”No student shall . . . interfere with the functions and services of the University (for example, but not limited to, classes . . .) such that the function or service is obstructed or disrupted. Students whose conduct adversely affects the learning environment in this classroom may be subject to disciplinary action through the Student Judicial Affairs office.

6.12 MSU Attendance Policy

Students whose names do not appear on the official class list for this course may not attend this class. Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course.

6.13 Grief Absence Policy

The Mathematics faculty and staff work hard to be sensitive and to accommodate the bereavement process of a student who has lost a family member or who is experiencing emotional distress from a similar tragedy so that the student is not academically disadvantaged in their class. The Mathematics Department relies on the University’s Grief Absence Policy to alert us of when it is appropriate to grant additional accommodations. According to the University’s Grief Absence Policy it is the responsibility of the student to:

  • a) notify the Associate Dean or designee of their college of the need for a grief absence in a timely manner, but no later than one week from the student’s initial knowledge of the situation,
  • b) provide appropriate verification of the grief absence as specified by the Associate Dean, and
  • c) complete all missed work as determined in consultation with the instructor.

It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean or designee to:

  • a) determine with the student the expected period of absence – it is expected that some bereavement processes may be more extensive than others depending on individual circumstances,
  • b) notify the faculty that the student will be absent, and
  • c) receive verification of the authenticity of a grief absence request upon the student’s return.
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