Welcome to Seminar One

Welcome to Class (MTH401)

Welcome to Class

This class is a survey course that covers a variety of mathematical topics. By the end of class, we'll have looked at data collection, statistical calculations, margins of error, correlation, regression, probability and probability distributions.

The online environment with all of its buttons and links can be a little overwhelming at first so let me point you in some important directions. First, take a look at the navigation buttons on the left. The "Course Information" button will take you to a page with links to many important documents including the course outcomes and the required textbook. The first item on the page is the course syllabus. This is a great place to start since it lists not only important policies but my contact information and a schedule of assignments. Please be sure to read it carefully since all students will be held to the policies and schedule described in it.

As the class goes on, the "Seminars" button will become very important. Within that section, you'll find a weekly break down of assignments and reading requirements. Each week a new section will be added with that week's seminar requirements.

Policies and Procedures

  1. Course Weeks A class week starts on Thursday and ends at 11:59:59 in your local time zone on the following Wednesday evening. All assignments must be submitted before 11:59:59 in your local time zone on the day that they're due in order to receive credit. Thursday may seem like an odd day on which to start a week but doing it this way gives you the weekend to work on assignments with plenty of time to receive feedback if you have questions.
  2. Participation Classes at Baker College's online division place a high premium on communication, specifically discussion between students and between students and their instructor. You can find the class' discussion forums by clicking on the Discussion Board button in the right hand navigation section. Every session, I have a few students who don't seem to get the participation requirement. To get full credit for this part of the class, you need to post at least ten "substantive" posts each week. This means posts that are technical and related to the current seminar's material. A total of 30 points are available in this area each week. You can earn a maximum of 5 per day; a "full value" post is worth 3 points.
  3. Submitting Assignments All projects should be submitted through the link in the appropriate seminar area as a Word document only.
  4. Questions for Me Every student has a private discussion area accessible through the "Feedback" button. If you need to communicate with me privately, please post a message there and then put a note in the "Heads Up" forum so that I know to go take a look. If you don't put a note in the Heads Up forum, it could be up to a week before I happen to look in our private area and notice your message.
  5. Tone of Discussion Please be sure to maintain an appropriately polite and professional tone when posting to the discussion boards. If you have any concerns about the level of discourse, please feel free to contact my privately and I'll communicate with the appropriate students. If you find someone's remarks to be unreadable for grammatical reasons please either politely ask for clarification or send a note to me and I'll address it with the student who made the original post. Remember that in the online environment you'll often find yourself taking class with students from around the world, some of whom don't have English as their first language.

A Special Note on Plagiarism

It always surprises me how many incidences of plagiarism I have in my math classes so let me make a few points about it:
  1. You are required to provide proper citations for all text that you take from external sources. This doesn't mean just giving me the main URL, e.g. www.purplemath.com. I need to be able to go directly to the page that you used without having to search around.
  2. Text that you take from another source needs to be properly quoted. Specifically, it needs to be enclosed in quotation marks with a reference after it as required by the APA format.
  3. This is the big one: The work you submit must be substantially your own. I've seen cases where students copied an entire answer from a website. Even cases where students copied an entire story problem from a website when the directions specifically state that they were to make up their own. I don't care how carefully cited your work is. If it isn't substantially your own, you won't get credit for it.

If you have any questions, ask first. I have no reservations about giving students zero points for a plagiarized assignment and I have no reservations about failing students who don't get the message after a first offense.


Participation always generates a lot of concern and confusion in technical classes. Students come into the class wondering, "How am I going to find anything to say about math? Over the course of the week, I'll post questions and observations in the discussion board to get the discussion started and keep it moving forward. For more information on what you can do to meet this requirement, take a look at the Participation Policyi Details section in the Course Information area.

So let's get started. First, take a look at the syllabus then go to the "Biographies" discussion area and, for your first assignment, post a brief message describing yourself and your reasons for taking this class. (If you're only taking it because it's a requirement, feel free to say so. I understand that's why many students are here and I won't be offended.) You can find my biography through the Faculty Info link.