John Redden, College of the Sequoias
Pub Date: 2011
ISBN 13: 978-1-4533009-2-3
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
This book is the most comprehensive Algebra textbook that I have seen as an OER material. The book covers sections and topics that are appropriate read more
This book is the most comprehensive Algebra textbook that I have seen as an OER material. The book covers sections and topics that are appropriate for the math 60-65 sequence at the community college level that I teach. The sequence in which the topics appear is very appropriate for the level of audience. The book almost could be used in math 95 (Intermediate Algebra) as well, except a few more advanced topics such as introduction of basic function notations and logarithms. The exercise sets are large enough for instructors to choose from and for students to gain practice from. I am impressed by the learning objectives as well as the sample review exercises and sample exams at the end of each chapter. It is a thoughtful book that includes many key features that I find useful: key take-aways, discussion board topics, note section, video solutions, and incorrect v.s. correct way of solving a problem side by side. The book itself is very comparable to a traditional textbook that I have seen in its layout and organizations. The only things I do not see are some kind of online homework system for instant feedback that can be used in an online course format and an index (or glossary) at the end of the book. The answers to the even-number problems of the sample tests are also not listed but maybe it’s stored somewhere else for instructors to find that I’m not aware of.
Notations and explanations seem fairly accurate in this book, although I did not do a detailed line-by-line reading to check if there errors to the solutions. The book also includes notations not commonly mentioned in a traditional textbook, for computer programming purposes or on a calculator.
The book seems comparable to other textbooks that I have seen in its relevance and I could see it being useful for a long while. The concepts covered in the book are not going to change so it’s not an issue for a long-term usage. The real-life applications provided in the book are general enough that changes would not be necessary. I believe the nature of the licensing allows easily adaptability for an instructor to include other examples as one sees fit.
The book has good clarity overall and is very readable to students at this level, except in a few places. For example, in section 1.2 (adding and subtracting integers) good explanations are provided for how to add two integers. However, how to subtract two integers are is not presented, yet it is referenced in an addition problem of two integers that involves the second number being negative. This section would be so much clearer to the students and robust if subtracting integers is introduced in the same way as adding, with the visuals of the number line and clear examples provided.
The book has really good consistency throughout sections and chapters. The flow is consistent and clear in each section in terms of how concepts are introduced. The author uses consistent terminology as in most other textbooks. The only problem in consistency that I see is in the exercise sets and answers. For examples, fractions and radical notations are not always displayed using the same format and font sizes appear to be inconsistent as well. But this is more of an 'interface' problem.
he book is fairly useful in its modularity except in a few places where references to materials covered in the previous section(s) are mentioned. For example, in factoring trinomials with leading coefficient being not 1, the AC method is referred as ‘described before’ but it is not listed as to where ‘before’ is. It does not hurt (actually would be more helpful) to have this method listed again in this section as this is where the method is really needed.
This is a strong aspect of the book in my opinion. Every section starts with learning objectives, followed by definitions and appropriate vocabulary, and easy to follow examples and steps are provided before students reach the practice exercises at the end of the section. I particular enjoy the visual layouts, colors, and useful information such as common mistakes listed in a way that is visually clear and pleasing fashion.
This area is the weakest aspect of the book. I read the book in different formats to find that the online format in Chrome is not compatible in many places – various mathematical symbols are simply missing as well as entire exercise sets not showing up. It can create confusion to the students. Using Safari on a Mac works fairly well, but I was not able to view the videos in Chrome or Safari. The only way to view the video for me is to right click in Chrome and choose “open link using a different tab or window”. Viewing the book using the PDF version is not helpful, especially when it comes to mathematical symbols being not readable or lost. The font sizes are not consistent either. This is surprising to me as I was expecting the PDF version to be the best in preserving the formatting for the students. I think providing the URL address to let students know that videos do exist could be helpful in the PDF version.
I did not notice any grammatical error. The language used in the book is clear and appropriate to the level of students.
The book does not have as many culturally inclusive examples as other traditional textbooks. However, I could understand that the level of mathematical concepts are mostly algebraic and perhaps requires a little more work to write examples that include cultural relevance. It certainly would be beneficial to incorporate more culturally diverse examples for our diverse student population.
Overall, it is a well written book and I really like the formats and the flow of the book. I'm hoping to adopt this book for my algebra courses so viewing it from this perspective, I would have to figure out how to make the interface of the book much more friendly and usable to the students. I am happy to see that the quality of this book is quite good and I hope to find useful online tutorial and homework systems that can be incorporated to make this book a more complete one to use in an online format.
The book covers all usual topics in an elementary algebra text book, commencing with integers and continuing through linear expressions, linear read more
The book covers all usual topics in an elementary algebra text book, commencing with integers and continuing through linear expressions, linear equations and inequalities, systems of linear equations, and other topics. The book concludes with a nice treatment of the solution of quadratic equations with the quadratic formula and introduces complex numbers. The treatment of factoring using guess and check and the ac-method, factoring by grouping, and special products is thorough and well presented. Any student who was taught from this book and covered all chapters would have a good grounding in the subject matter. There is no glossary, index or table of contents, which does detract from an otherwise comprehensive book.
I found no biases in the book. I found one misspelling but the book is well written and edited and substantially error-free. I found the presentation of the material to be objective and clear.
The subject of algebra is timeless, so there should be no short-term problem with relevance or longevity. There a numerous graphs which present current statistics and trends, but it would not be difficult to update these as the years go by. For example, the number of Americans over 65 or a period of recent years is presented. This could be made more current easily. Regular later editions of this book could be published to update the material in the years to come.
The language is simple straightforward and presented clearly. The terms are well defined. The presentation is not highly rigorous. There are almost no proofs or demonstrations of the truth of what is being presented, but this is not a higher level book so that does not really detract from the overall presentation. .
Terms are presented consistently and clearly. A glossary would be helpful to absolutely be able to check how the author defines and views the terms that he uses.
Sections and subsections of the book are presented in bite-sized chunks that would not overwhelm a student who has math anxiety or little previous experience with math. One way in which the book is thorough and distinctive is in the sheer number of problems. A teacher using this book would have numerous options in choosing easy or difficult problems to do. The lack of a table of contents or an index would definitely make looking up specific topics in the book problematic.
There are no problems here. The book builds nicely on beginning concepts and progresses logically.
The lack of the usual apparatus of a textbook (table of contents, glossary, index, etc.) make navigation in the book very difficult. Also, there are equations where the spacing is bad, at least in the pdf format that I read. These could be cleaned up in any final edition.
I found the text to be clear and almost entirely free from grammatical mistakes.
The book is not culturally insensitive or offensive. (Very few algebra books would be, I would think). I did notice that the names used in word problems are a little old fashioned, e.g., Mary, and maybe in a later edition more contemporary names could be introduced.
There were excellent suggestions for historical research that would be a great stimulant to further learning and study by an interested student. It would be helpful if there were more provocative and interesting problems and questions for gifted students to mull over
The book covers almost every topic one might use in the course and many topics which are frequently covered in the next course. Small lacking in read more
The book covers almost every topic one might use in the course and many topics which are frequently covered in the next course. Small lacking in comprehensiveness might be a treatments of simple absolute value equations or inequalities. Another small lacking is the absence of a 'review' chapter or appendix which is typical for this level of a course.
Although almost all of the content is accurate, I scored this category lower (3 of 5) due to numerous 'errors' in the text, which are frequently typesetting errors. However, a typesetting error becomes a math error when it makes the math incorrect. For instance, in section 1.1 the answer to number 16. in the "TOPIC EXERCISES" is the square root of 7. While accurate in Firefox, this answer doesn't display at all using Google Chrome (an issue to be dealt with later in interface) and the typesetting is reversed in the PDF version showing the square root after the 7. This type of error provides in a sense inaccurate information to students and several errors of this type are common throughout the text. If these were resolved, I would raise my rating here to 4 or 5, depending on if any other errors were left at that point.
While the math content will never be obsolete as long as we require this style of algebraic learning in school, the text itself is currently obsolete merely based on the fact that it does not meet accessibility guidelines of the Federal government. As such, the way the laws are currently written, it is my understanding that using the text in a course, even as a resource, is not allowable by the Federal government (unless equitable accessible materials are also provided).
Similarly for accuracy (above), while much all of the content is clear, I scored this category lower (3 of 5) due to numerous typesetting errors which will cause students to not find the content clear. These same type of issues, as described above in the accuracy section, provide unclear information to students and several issues of this type are common throughout the text. Additionally unclear are the lack of accessible content due to the missing alt tags on numerous images throughout the text, which frequently contain all the steps for solving a particular problem type. As such, students using a screen reader will be unable to view any of these steps. If these types of issues were resolved, I would raise my rating here to 4 or 5, depending on other clarity issues that may still exist.
The book is mostly consistent throughout, however, there are some minor inconsistencies such as the use of variables. For instance, in many sections the book will use x, y, a, b all throughout, and then in the homework Greek letters like alpha and beta appear. This is literally a new alphabet and should probably be discussed somewhere in the book (at least the preface or an appendix since this is not a prerequisite for the book).
The text is pretty easy to divide into smaller reading sections, and reorganization should be fairly easy for most teachers, but certain sections will be challenging to reorder due to some implicit self-references.
The topics in the text are mostly presented in a logical and clear fashion. The discussion on absolute value seems disjointed between the first chapter and then 8 and 9, and it seems to overly assume that the student has studied and comprehended everything in 8 prior to studying 9 (which is frequently not the case in basic algebra courses), specifically in reference to taking the square root of both sides of an equation and the result of an absolute value. Additionally, while the subsections are numbered in the text, they are not listed in the table of contents and it is also difficult to determine which section you are in while in the midst of the text.
The text has significant interface issues, including the following. First, the PDF version of the book does not display content correctly. The PDF version of the book needs to be significantly revised or it should be removed from the site so that users can focus on the web-based version, which is more accurate. However, in the web-based version, many problems still exist. For instance, some of the mathematical expressions are coded using MathML, which is not supported on numerous common web browsers including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. With this in mind, at minimum the book should specify at least in the preface, which browser is recommended for best compatibility. Further, many items throughout the book are images without an alt tag provided, making them completely unreadable to screen-readers and difficult to navigate for students using mobile devices. Additionally, there are "Video Solution" links provided which include embedded YouTube videos using a Flash-player embedding. Using Flash Player is outdated, and results in videos not playing in mobile browsers or browsers where Flash Player is not installed or blocked, which includes an increasing number of browsers. Modern embedded features should be used, which would include the use of HTML5 videos. Finally, the videos provided are not properly subtitled, again as required by Federal accessibility standards.
Although I have not read every sentence in the book, all of the grammar I saw seems to be correct.
The text is not particularly insensitive to specific races or ethnicities that I am aware of, however, with a lack of emphasis placed on Federal accessibility standards, the text is not sensitive to students from different backgrounds who require implementation of the accessibility guidelines.
This book has a lot of potential and I hope to see improvements in the future! As mentioned by another reviewer, at minimum, this book can be used right now as a reference/problem bank for the instructor.
This book provides very clear and comprehensive coverage of the usual Elementary Algebra topics, as well as some Intermediate Algebra material. The read more
This book provides very clear and comprehensive coverage of the usual Elementary Algebra topics, as well as some Intermediate Algebra material. The book provides plenty of examples and very robust, well-constructed exercise sets. The author has gone the extra mile to include special notes, cautions, and even some alternate solutions to examples. There is no index or glossary, which is a significant problem. While navigating the book to simply review it, I spent a lot of time searching (scrolling) for specific topics. One example of this is, when the AC method is discussed in section 6.3, the text says “…using the AC method described previously.” Finding where it had been “…described previously” wasn’t trivial (especially since I think the logical place to introduce it was IN section 6.3, as opposed to earlier). I expect that the lack of an index could deter students from using the book as a resource, and may inhibit learning the material. The embedded videos are a very useful feature. Students benefit greatly from easy access to videos that demonstrate and reinforce the material, and care has been taken to choose appropriate videos. However, there were no videos linked for certain topics that I think would specifically call for them (one example: students often struggle mightily with the AC method, but I couldn’t find a linked video demonstrating the technique). If I were using this text for my class, I would likely supplement with additional videos for my students. Overall, this is a good, comprehensive book for Elementary Algebra.
In reviewing the book, I saw very few content errors. Care has been taken to use proper vocabulary, to show appropriate mathematical processes, and to address common student errors. The main “accuracy” issues are with notation use and variation depending on the application/browser used.
With algebra content, longevity isn’t as big an issue as with some other disciplines. This book’s content will still be “current” many years from now. If, by chance, groundbreaking algebraic methods or strategies come into fashion, this book could be easily edited to incorporate them. Examples and exercises are fairly factual and generic. By avoiding "real world" contexts and references, they are somewhat insulated from becoming outdated. The downside to this approach is that problem introductions are a bit dry and potentially hard for students to relate to. In section 1.5, there are some pie charts based on 2009 data. If those graphics (or others) make the book feel outdated at some point, it could be easily updated with newer data from the cited source.
The clarity of this book seems in line with most other mainstream elementary algebra books. The very nice use of color and graphics is effective and helps with readability. Some of the notation and examples may be a bit advanced and confusing for this level of student (for example: the description of factoring by trial and error uses p, q, m, and n, in addition to the expression’s variable, x). Additionally, while searching for particular videos, I found it difficult to scroll through quickly and find the video links. I would like to see video links offset by a color or special graphic for clarity and ease of use.
There is a very nice, consistent structure throughout the book. Sections begin with numbered “Learning Objectives”, and end with “Key Takeaways”. Also consistent throughout the text are the “Incorrect vs. Correct” examples, the “Notes”, and the “Try This!” features. Consistent use of colored boxes for various features makes scanning for important, “key” features easy. For example, blue boxes make finding exercise sets fast and easy. Depending on how the book is being accessed, there can be significant variation in how notation is used, even from one exercise to the next. I experienced inconsistencies between browsers, and between the pdf versus online version. One example is exponents. Sometimes they are superscripted, sometimes the “^” is used, and sometimes the exponent simply follows the base – making “3 squared” appear as 32. Another example is the placement of the radical symbol. Sometimes it was written correctly, and other times the radical symbol was typed after the radicand. The inconsistency (and inaccuracy) are very problematic, and would certainly need to be addressed before I would feel comfortable using this book. The consistent structure used within each section would earn a rating of "5" from me. But the other major inconsistencies mentioned lower my ranking.
Chapters and sections are numbered, but then those numbers aren't referenced in the online version's table of contents. And, even though each section begins with a chapter and section number, the pdf version does not provide a table of contents, at all. The advantages of having each chapter and section numbered would include the ability to explicitly list the content, by number, in a table of contents. I am confused as to why this wasn't done, but suppose it wouldn't be a big job to edit that information in, if desired. The disadvantages of having each section numbered is that it complicates re-ordering content. The book is somewhat self-referential (example, “… as described earlier …”), but lacks an index. This would make re-ordering or omitting sections a bit more complicated, and would likely necessitate significant editing. One nice feature is the sub-sections (objectives) of each section. The topics are bite-sized, and are compatible with spreading a section over multiple class meetings and/or re-ordering material to suit a particular course.
The book’s organization is fairly traditional, and it could work really well for a conventional series of algebra courses. There is some material introduced earlier than usual (square roots, for example), but that approach improves the modularity of the material. Overall, the organization of material makes sense.
This is the area in which the book stumbles, somewhat. Depending on which browser or format I used, the notation and fonts were pretty wildly inconsistent and sometimes totally meaningless. I was using a Mac, and viewed the book using both Chrome and Safari. I also downloaded the pdf to view on my laptop. In Chrome, the exercise sets at the end of each section were virtually empty of content. In Safari, I was able to view the problem sets. In Chrome, many of the mathematical expressions and equations were simply missing from the body of the text. In Safari, they showed up okay. Neither browser allowed me to view videos by simply clicking on “click to see video”. On Chrome, I had to right-click and view in a separate tab. In Safari, I never was able to figure out how to view the videos. The font size varied dramatically, even within single problem sets. Further, fraction bars were often missing, making the content unreadable. If students encounter any or all of these issues, it could certainly be a significant barrier to their learning. There did not seem to be one application through which I could access the full, correct version of the book. In general, I like this book. But I would need to figure out how to provide students with a reliably correct version of it before using it for a course.
The book's English grammar is good and mostly at an appropriate reading level. The statement of the examples and exercises tends to be a bit dry, but the grammar appears to be correct.
Most of the examples and word problems in this text are very factual and seem to intentionally avoid the common, “real world” set-up, hence avoiding most cultural context and references. However, in the “Applications of Linear Systems” section, the “Topic Exercises” use the following set of Anglo-sounding names: Mary, Sally, Joe, Millicent, Jerry, James, John, Dennis, Billy. I would prefer to see more cultural variety represented in this simple way. Another example: In the “Order of Operations” section, the word problems reference Mary, Joe, Margaret, Bill, Audry, Mark, and Janet. (And, Mark and Janet are traveling home for Thanksgiving.) While I didn't encounter anything that I consider "offensive", I think some opportunities were missed, and this book could have been made to feel more inclusive.
Overall, I like this book. I would absolutely consider using it in my courses, with some edits and notational corrections.
The book covers a wide variety of topics, in detail that I cover in my current Algebra Prep 1, Algebra Prep 2 and Algebra Prep 3 course. Each course read more
The book covers a wide variety of topics, in detail that I cover in my current Algebra Prep 1, Algebra Prep 2 and Algebra Prep 3 course. Each course is 8 weeks long so could use the text to use over the entire semester and half that is needed. A very good comprehensive book to help prepare students in all aspects who need to brush up on their skills before attempting College Algebra. Although there were some areas where topics delved a little more deeply than students may be ready for; however, an instructor could easily pick and choose what they feel their students need.
The book appears accurate throughout the chapters. The book uses color to determine step by step guidance which is extremely important to help my students follow along more easily while working on their own.
The charts/graphs were up to date and could easily be updated as needed. They also appeared relevant in today's society with topics students may have an interest in.
All terminology was used appropriately and accurately among the book. The one area that seemed a little stand-offish is the step by step guides, I feel it's important for students in an Algebra Prep course to understand why we are doing what we are doing, not just a simple memorization of steps. If a student can understand the why they are more apt to retaining vs. remembering a bunch of steps to get there.
Each section started off with the section title, then the "Learning Objectives." The Learning Objectives at some points seem to be a little vocab advanced for the topics covered; however, with instructor guidance can be followed nicely. The Learning Objectives are followed by step by step instructions with examples and "Try this!" problems. At the end of every section there is a Key Takeaway portion which leads into multiple topic exercises and solutions.
Each unit and subsection of each unit is broken down in such a way that as a teacher teaching 3 different 8 week courses, I could pick and choose what I need to cover for each course to meet the objectives easily.
There were some instances where I personally would rearrange some topics simply based on what I know about my students and their needs, but overall the structure is fairly logical.
Maybe it's just the online PDF version, but I'm struggling with the fraction section as many of the problems in the homework sets and within the lesson portion the fractions don't have fraction bars. For example the problem asked to reduce 105300, but there was no fraction bar to indicate what was what fraction. As you continued down the page you see through the work through portion that it should have been 105/300. The only indication that you are working with fractions is the numbers appear in smaller text than the other numbers not represented in fractional form. When we hit the radical section, it appears the radical symbol comes after the number so it is unclear to a student what they may have to do or it's stated as "square root 36" this is also would be confusing to my students especially.
I did not notice any grammatical errors throughout the text.
Although the book did use a variety of occupations, social standing, and students. There was a lot of "a man," "a woman," "a student." I felt that the book slightly lacked a variety of races and ethnicities.
I particularly liked the length of practice questions at the end of each section and the variety of difficulty level, specifically the discussion board topic questions to encourage writing/researching/reading within mathematics.
The textbook covers all of the chosen topics very thoroughly. read more
The textbook covers all of the chosen topics very thoroughly.
The math is correct and what it should be.
This book writes math problems using the traditional notation as well as textual notation, so it can be emailed and communicated electronically without a special keyboard or software. This was the first time I have seen this. This is just one example of how I feel the textbook is current but yet has staying power. I can see it being reused for quite a while.
the book is written so it is easily understood. I felt it was a bit wordy but since it was clear I could deal with that. I also think a few more pictures would enhance the experience.
Even with modular chapters I found the book to be fairly consistent.
Chapters can be skipped and it does not hurt the future lessons.
This textbook presents topics in the same order as all other books I have used. This is the organization I would use.
I had only one issue with the textbook's navigation.
I did not catch any grammar issues--but then grammar is not my forte.
It is hard to be culturally insensitive in math. I saw no problems with this textbook.
I like the Key Takeaways and Tips charts the author used. I will probably adopt this book for my Fall 2015 class. I will add comments or re-review this textbook after that.
Presently (March 2015) the book has neither table of contents nor index. I had to build my own table of contents by hand before I could settle down read more
Presently (March 2015) the book has neither table of contents nor index. I had to build my own table of contents by hand before I could settle down to review this book. This, of course, makes a score of 5 impossible. Actually, the book is riddled with so many typesetting errors it is unusable (by students) in its present form. Hopefully this can be remedied soon, because the book has the potential to serve as an excellent reference text. All of the usual sections are here: real numbers, solving linear equations and inequalities, factoring polynomials, radicals and rational exponents, quadratic equations and graphs. The treatment is thorough and precise, with plenty of warnings about common mistakes, and large exercise sets with answers to the odds provided. My only concern (aside from the many typesetting errors) is with graphing. Although straight lines and parabolas are covered thoroughly, I see hardly any examples of other kinds of graphs. Instructors who like to showcase a broader array of patterns (such as exponential growth) early in a student's graphing experience will need to supplement.
Mathematical ideas are everywhere most carefully stated, with only one exception that I found. On page 4 it reads: "When studying mathematics, we focus on special sets of numbers. The set of natural (or counting) numbers is combined with zero." What, always? It goes on to define the whole numbers as the natural numbers combined with zero, which of course is the intent of the paragraph, but due to some typographical error or whatever it doesn't quite begin right.
"At the moment" this material seems timeless.
Ideas are stated precisely, as in any other mainstream math text. This could make it an excellent, authoritative reference. For most beginning students, however, precision and lucidity are two different things. Consider, for example, this Key Takeaway for section 6.3: "If a trinomial of the form ax^2 + bx + c factors into a product of two binomials, then the coefficient of the middle term will be the sum of certain products of factors of the first and last terms." I realize it's not a super-advanced sentence; nonetheless, most of my elementary algebra students would struggle to understand what is being said. Then again, most examples and so on are quite clear about "do this, then do this, but don't do this." At the risk of making math seem like a collection of memorized steps, it does clearly show what needs to be done. But the overall narrative behind the examples is not the best fit for my students, so I cannot give a perfect rating for "clarity/lucid and accessible prose."
Excellent overall, in the presentation of facts. No complaints there. I was, however, hoping for a tighter correspondence between the stated learning objectives and the review questions/questions on the sample exams. Just to pick section 9.5, graphing parabolas: finding the maximum/minimum earns a subtitle in this section, and related questions appear in the review and on the sample exam, but it is not one of the stated objectives. Also: one of the stated objectives is to find the vertex by completing the square, but this specific objective is not measured in the review questions or the sample test. Students are asked to find the vertex, certainly, but are not asked to complete the square.
This book is as "modular" as any other math text I've seen, in the sense that one could skip certain sections towards the ends of the chapters if one felt crunched for time, or even come back to cover them at a later time. But if modularity is considered a strength, I see no reason why this book should score more points than any other. One non-modular aspect: students will see examples involving functions at the ends of many sections. The instructor could choose to ignore them, of course, but would not have a way to hide them from students' view.
I already mentioned it's missing its table of contents. Other structural problems: section 4.1 is presented twice, on page 539 and again on page 560; section 4.3 is presented twice, on page 594 and again on page 611. Chapter 10 is not really a chapter but a short appendix with some area and volume formulas. Chapter 7 is missing its title. Many sections (if not most) begin at the bottom of a page. The typesetting issues are so numerous that the text is actually unusable in its present form (for students, anyway). Fraction bars are missing, exponents are not superscripted, sometimes the radical symbol follows instead of preceding its contents, etc. Obviously, these errors are "minor" in the sense that it shouldn't take too many days for someone to clean them up. Hopefully this is in progress even as I write this review. But my next question would be: where are the embedded video examples promised in the preface? Are these also under construction? The .pdf file I was able to download contains no such links or otherwise. It is impossible to assign a high score when I haven't had the chance to see all that is promised. Looking at the print version, I do like the ordering of topics well enough. None of the chapters have any motivating introductions, though; adding some would be a nice touch.
The only viewing option I have in March 2015 is to download the .pdf file. I tried reading it on screen, but ended up printing it out (4 pages per sheet, double-sided, some trees were spared) to write this review. As mentioned above, I have not been able to view any embedded videos, as promised in the book's preface. If this were meant to be a print reference, then I might be able to give a high score once the many typesetting issues are resolved; if it is meant to be more than that, then I haven't had a chance to see what it will be.
It's not the grammar but the typesetting that hurts, as described elsewhere.
I see no issues here.
I went back and reread the preface. It says this book makes no assumption of prior algebra experience, though it certainly assumes a high proficiency in reading. I also saw, in the section on negative exponents, that it assumes a certain familiarity with the dimensional analysis method of converting units. It also says this is "by far the best elementary algebra textbook offered under the creative commons license." Well, as described above, the typesetting still needs major cleaning up. With that done, however, I do expect this text could serve as an excellent reference… but then there is the question of whether it will have any embedded videos, and how good those will be. It claims modularity, but I'm not seeing how this book is any more or less modular than any other math text. It says it stresses the importance of paper/pencil practice, but I'm not sure what this is referring to. I do remember the author saying that learning to factor polynomials takes a lot of practice and patience, but I don't recall any specific exhortations to write out steps by hand. Obviously this is a work in progress, and I have not seen the final product. Perhaps the author is fishing for some early feedback. Well, I'd say it's a great start, but later reviews will have to trump mine.
The text covers all areas of Elementary Algebra appropriately and covers some areas of Intermediate Algebra. There is so much material in this text read more
The text covers all areas of Elementary Algebra appropriately and covers some areas of Intermediate Algebra. There is so much material in this text that it could not possibly be covered in one semester. Of course since this text is open source, an instructor could pick and choose what he/she would like to cover and simply not use the rest. For example, exponents, square root and the Pythagorean Theorem all occur in Chapter 1. Rational expressions and radicals appear in Chapters 7 and 8. Solving quadratic equations, graphing parabolas and completing the square occur in the last chapter. There is no index or glossary that I could see. Therefore I had to page through the whole text to see where everything was located. All areas of Elementary Algebra that are normally covered did occur somewhere in the text but a person would need to search for it. The part of the text that I liked the most was the excellent problem bank. There is a wide variety of problems, both rote problems and many application problems. I certainly would use this textbook as a resource for problem bank alone if nothing else.
The book seems accurate in all the material that is presented. The concepts are presented step-by-step in an easy to follow flow. Common mistakes were also shown side by side the correct mathematical steps. There was one case that parenthesis was used where it would have been more appropriate to use the multiplication sign. Other than that, the text seemed pretty error-free and unbiased.
The material seemed up- to- date as far as the application problems. The application problems would be easy to update when needed.
The text was easy to follow as far as understanding. However, I think that some concepts, like square roots and the use of exponents in the first chapter were out of the correct order that they should be. There were many references to use of technology and instructions of how to use that technology. The main problem that I saw was the order in which some of the concepts were introduced and used.
The text was very consistent in it's framework. Each section start.ed out with Learning Objectives, followed by the material. The material contained a variety of examples explained in great detail. At the end of each section came the Key Takeaways, followed by the Topic Exercises. The problem bank for most sections was huge with some excellent application problems. The answers for the problem bank then followed. Each chapter contained a Review along with a Review Problem Bank. Lastly came a Sample Exam along with the solutions to the Sample Exam.
The text could easily by divided and reorganized and I would certainly suggest doing so. I also would suggest dropping some concepts that fit better into an Intermediate Algebra text. There is no way that an instructor could cover all this material in one semester. We need to remember that students taking this course have probably not had success in high school and/or have been out of the classroom for so long that some concepts need to be introduced slowly and not rushed through.
This seems to be a bit of a problem as exponents and square roots normally do not come in the first chapter of an Elementary Algebra textbook to the extent that they were used here. Basic exponent usage and simple square roots are more common in the first chapter. However, an instructor certainly could again pick and choose what they want to use. Otherwise, the logic of other topics seemed to follow the order of other Elementary textbooks.
There is a major problem here with type size in the problem bank. Some problems were easy to read and some problems were in so small a type size that they were hard to make out. Also, when writing fractions the "/" in the fraction of say 1/4 did not come out, all I could see was 1 4. This certainly needs to be fixed as students would not understand at all what the problem was. Also the radical sign came after the number, so it would be 144, square root symbol. Now, this may not show up on everyone's computer like this, but if it was this way on my computer, it would be on someone else's also.
The mathematical terminology was correctly used and did not contain any grammatical errors.
The application problems seemed to be culturally relative and diverse. A variety of names, occupations and locations made the problems seem relevant to a variety of cultures.
I would say that the best part of this text was the use of Learning Objectives, Key Takeaways and the large problem bank. I think the variety of problems in the problem bank were great. The Application problems in particular were well done.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Real Numbers and Their Operations
- Chapter 2: Linear Equations and Inequalities
- Chapter 3: Graphing Lines
- Chapter 4: Solving Linear Systems
- Chapter 5: Polynomials and Their Operations
- Chapter 6: Factoring and Solving by Factoring
- Chapter 7: Rational Expressions and Equations
- Chapter 8: Radical Expressions and Equations
- Chapter 9: Solving Quadratic Equations and Graphing Parabolas
- Chapter 10: Appendix: Geometric Figures
About the Book
It is essential to lay a solid foundation in mathematics if a student is to be competitive in today’s global market. The importance of algebra, in particular, cannot be overstated, as it is the basis of all mathematical modeling used in applications found in all disciplines. Traditionally, the study of algebra is separated into a two parts, elementary algebra and intermediate algebra. This textbook, Elementary Algebra, is the first part, written in a clear and concise manner, making no assumption of prior algebra experience. It carefully guides students from the basics to the more advanced techniques required to be successful in the next course.
This text is, by far, the best elementary algebra textbook offered under a Creative Commons license. It is written in such a way as to maintain maximum flexibility and usability. A modular format was carefully integrated into the design. For example, certain topics, like functions, can be covered or omitted without compromising the overall flow of the text. An introduction of square roots in Chapter 1 is another example that allows for instructors wishing to include the quadratic formula early to do so. Topics such as these are carefully included to enhance the flexibility throughout. This textbook will effectively enable traditional or nontraditional approaches to elementary algebra. This, in addition to robust and diverse exercise sets, provides the base for an excellent individualized textbook instructors can use free of needless edition changes and excessive costs! A few other differences are highlighted below:
- Equivalent mathematical notation using standard text found on a keyboard
- A variety of applications and word problems included in most exercise sets
- Clearly enumerated steps found in context within carefully chosen examples
- Alternative methods and notation, modularly integrated, where appropriate
- Video examples available, in context, within the online version of the textbook
- Robust and diverse exercise sets with discussion board questions
- Key words and key takeaways summarizing each section
This text employs an early-and-often approach to real-world applications, laying the foundation for students to translate problems described in words into mathematical equations. It also clearly lays out the steps required to build the skills needed to solve these equations and interpret the results. With robust and diverse exercise sets, students have the opportunity to solve plenty of practice problems. In addition to embedded video examples and other online learning resources, the importance of practice with pencil and paper is stressed. This text respects the traditional approaches to algebra pedagogy while enhancing it with the technology available today. In addition, textual notation is introduced as a means to communicate solutions electronically throughout the text. While it is important to obtain the skills to solve problems correctly, it is just as important to communicate those solutions with others effectively in the modern era of instant communications.
About the Contributors
John Redden earned his degrees at California State University–Northridge and Glendale Community College. He is now a professor of mathematics at the College of the Sequoias, located in Visalia, California. With over a decade of experience working with students to develop their algebra skills, he knows just where they struggle and how to present complex techniques in more understandable ways. His student-friendly and commonsense approach carries over to his writing of Elementary Algebra and various other open-source learning resources.