This course provides an introduction in a non-technical setting to selected topics in mathematics. Topics may include, but are not limited to, sets, logic, probability, statistics, matrices, mathematical systems, geometry, topology, mathematics of finance, and modeling. Upon completion, students should be able to understand a variety of mathematical applications, think logically, and be able to work collaboratively and independently.


This course will focus on basic principles of linear algebra, including systems of equations, matrices and linear programming, and basic principles of sets, probablility and statistics. The emphasis will be on solving problems by translating real situations and data into mathematical language.

The first half of the course will focus on linear algebra: solving systems of linear equations, matrix operations, and linear programming. The second half will focus on basic ideas in sets and counting, probability and statistics. Lessons will be about 2 weeks long, each with a quiz and an assignment to turn in. There will be three midterms and a final exam. 

There are no Prerequisites or Corequisites for this course.

Wilson, Jessica D.

Lecturer in Mathematics
Part Time
B.S. University of Kansas (2001), M.S. University of Missouri-Columbia (2004)
Subject Matter: 

Jessica Wilson holds a Master of Science Degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Kansas. She taught and tutored students in math at both universities while completing her degrees, and afterward taught at Everett Community College in Washington. At the University of Missouri, she had the opportunity to teach disadvantaged students who needed extra support to transition from high school to college, and she helped develop a new calculus course for in-service teachers. Mrs. Wilson is now a home-schooling mother of four young boys, and a member of the Living Church of God in Indiana.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Generate a linear equation to model a real situation; evaluate, solve, and graph linear functions;
  2. Generate a system of linear equations to model an application; demonstrate the use of a matrix to solve such a system;
  3. Demonstrate basic algebraic operations on matrices (addition, scalar multiplication, transposition, matrix multiplication, and inversion);
  4. Generate the constraining inequalities and the objective function for a linear programming problem and demonstrate its solution;
  5. Demonstrate basic operations on sets (union, intersection, complement) and generate a decision algorithm to compute the cardinality of a set;
  6. Demonstrate the probability of an event; and
  7. Demonstrate the measures of central tendency (mean, median) and variation (standard deviation) for a data set; identify the proper and improper uses of those statistics.
Required Texts: 

Waner, Stefan, and Steven R. Costenoble. Finite Mathematics. 5th ed. Boston: Brooks/Cole Cengage, 2011. (ISBN-13: 9781439049242; ISBN-10: 1439049246)

Optional Texts

Huff. How to Lie With Statistics. ISBN 9780393310726.

Polya. How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method. ISBN 9780691119663.


Lectures will primarily be PowerPoint slideshows with audio. If you do not have PowerPoint, you can download a free PowerPoint Viewer at To view the presentations, you will open the file, choose “slideshow” and “play from the beginning.” If you have trouble, please inform me as soon as possible. 

Course Calendar: 
Lesson Topic and textbook sections
1 Introduction: Algebra review (0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7)
2 Functions and linear models (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
3 Systems of equations and matrices (2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
Exam 1
4 Matrix algebra and applications (3.1, 3.2, 3.3)
5 Linear programming (4.1, 4.2)
Exam 2
6 Sets and counting (6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4)
7 Probability (7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6)
Exam 3
8 Statistics (8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4)
Final Exam
Course Requirements: 

Submit assignments on time: Late assignments will not be accepted. In extreme circumstances, you may contact me to ask for an extension.

Icebreaker and Discussion Forum: Your very first assignment will be to post an introduction for yourself on the discussion board under the “Icebreaker” discussion. This assignment is worth 20 points. For most lessons, participation in the discussion forum is not required, but is encouraged. You can ask questions about the lectures and practice problems, and respond to others’ questions. Helping each other out this way can be beneficial for everyone.

Readings and Lectures: Due to the online format of this course, it will be especially important for you to read the assigned sections in the textbook. Be sure to read “actively”—take notes, work out the examples, and understand each concept before moving on. Then view the lectures to review the most important concepts and see examples that will help you when doing your homework.

Studying and Practice Exercises: Learning mathematics is learning a new language! Vocabulary is very important. Make notes of the most important formulae and terms as you read and listen to the lectures. You can use 3X5 notecards and put one term or formula on each card. Flip through these cards in preparation for quizzes and tests. Practice exercises will be odd-numbered problems from your text, so the answers can be found at the back of the book. It is imperative that you do all the practice exercises and check your answers, even though they will not be turned in. You will only learn the math by doing it.

Quizzes: Each lesson will have a short quiz, which is open-book and open-note. Most of the questions will be matching vocabulary terms and formulas with their definitions, and True/False questions about concepts presented in the chapter. Prepare for the quizzes by studying the vocabulary and formulae for the chapter. One retake will be allowed for each quiz, with the highest score kept.

Writing Assignments: Each lesson will have one writing assignment consisting of one or two “applications” (i.e., word problems), for which you will need to write equations and find solutions. Projects will be turned in as “.doc” or “.pdf” files. If you have Microsoft Office, then you already have Word, Excel and Equation Editor. Otherwise, you probably have a spreadsheet and word-processing program on your computer that can export files as PDF, and there are free online equation editors and graphing calculators. You will also want a basic calculator, which is almost certainly available on your computer.

Exams: The final exam will need to be proctored. Midterm exams will not be proctored—meaning you will be “on your honor” to follow the rules. NO books, notes, graphing calculators or online resources may be used during an exam. However, you may use a basic 4-function calculator or scientific calculator. If you have any questions about whether your calculator is allowed, please ask well in advance of the exam due date. Exams will be primarily multiple-choice questions, and the final exam will be comprehensive.




Points per assignment Number of assignments Totals


20 points


20 points


25 points


200 points

Writing Assignments

35 points


280 points

Mid-term Exams

100 points


300 points

Final Exam

200 points


200 points




1000 points



900 to 1000 points


800 to 899 points


700 to 799 points


600 to 699 points


599 or fewer points

Students With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

Technology Access
This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

Course Evaluation
Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.