College Algebra & Trigonometry

Purpose: to help other instructors teaching the same course

Common Course ID: MTH 100
CSU Instructor OER Adoption Portrait

About the Course

Course Title and Number
Brief Description of course highlights:  

MTH 100 College Algebra & Trigonometry: Exponents, factoring, linear and quadratic equations, absolute value, inequalities, functions, graphing, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations, trigonometric functions and their inverses, with graphical representations of all the above, no prerequisites, GE course Area B4.

Learning or student outcomes: 

During this course, students will demonstrate their ability to:

  1. model situations with linear equations and quadratic equations and solve problems by finding meaningful roots.
  2. determine the range and domain of the function.
  3. graph linear functions, quadratic functions, and polynomial functions.
  4. solve problems involving real and rational zeros of polynomials.
  5. solve problems involving exponential and logarithmic functions.
  6. compute the values of trigonometric functions for key angles measured in degrees and radians.
  7. graph trigonometric functions.
  8. use the basic trigonometric identities to verify other trigonometric identities.

Key challenges faced and how resolved: Syllabus and/or Sample assignment from the course or the adoption [optional]: 

The largest roadblock in using WeBWorK is finding an institution to host us on their server. At Cal Maritime, our IT Department does not have any servers, even for our LMS. So, our mathematics program has gone through all the free trials known for WeBWorK, and now we have partnered with a sister campus, CSUDH, to host our courses this semester.

About the Resource/Textbook 

Textbook or OER/Low cost Title: Workbook

Dr. Ariel Setniker, et. al.

Student access:  

Students can easily access all materials online via the LMS. Since Ally is integrated into our LMS, students can read/view/listen to their workbook in a variety of ways. WeBWorK offers an option to download homework sets as a PDF for those students who prefer to work on paper. Further, for timed quizzes, WeBWorK easily allows instructors to adjust and extend time for those students that require it.

All materials are provided at no cost in this course.

Cost Savings:

Costs saved were $54/student for WeBWorK and $17/student for the workbook, so for an average fall semester of 6 sections of 25 students, for a total savings of $10,350.

OER/Low Cost Adoption

OER/Low Cost Adoption Process

Provide an explanation or what motivated you to use this textbook or OER/Low Cost option. 

While my driving force is to develop and use more relevant material which supports active learning in the classroom, an added bonus is to provide materials at no cost to our students.

How did you find and select the open textbook for this course? 

The student workbook used was developed over the summer by myself, a colleague, and 3 undergraduate students. The online homework system, WeBWorK is well-known in the mathematics community, and I also have experience using it at my previous institution.

What did you change as part of the OER adoption?

A in-class student workbook was used daily in class, and homework changed platforms. Quizzes moved from paper to the new online homework system.

Describe effects on teaching and learning that resulted from adopting OER e.g.

  • Faculty now enjoy spending less time on creating homework and quizzes, and experience the support of fellow instructors within the shared homework sets and quizzes as we discuss each term what should and should not be on these problem sets.
  • Student grades have slightly improved.
  • While too soon to accurately discuss retention, lower DFW rates point to a likelihood of increased student retention.

Student Feedback or Participation

Students widely reported their preference for no cost course materials. While some students faced a learning curve with entering answers into their new homework system, they did enjoy the immediate feedback features and multiple attempts to lower their stress of completing homework. 

See attached survey results

Sharing Best Practices 

Using OER and online homework systems allows instructors to make a perfectly relevant course for their unique programs. Dig in to the flexibility allowed within OER to adjust, cut, and add content to your liking!

About the Instructor

Dr. Ariel Setniker

California State University, Maritime Academy, MTH 100 Coordinator

  • As a mathematics educator, I focus on reforming gateway mathematics courses and developing curriculum to support active learning in the classroom. My passion is supporting students in finding the practicality of mathematics.
  • The majority of students are freshmen and sophomores, although there are occasionally juniors and seniors as well.  Freshmen tend to make up the largest percentage of students in these courses.  The vast majority of students are Business and Global Studies majors. There are not any prerequisites, though there is a co-requisite support course for Category III and IV students.