Contemporary Mathematics

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Summer I 2016
Days & Times

This is an online course. 

Dr. Dawn Slavens (view Profile)

Course Objectives

A survey of the use of mathematics in the modern world.  Topics include: theory of elections and apportionment, graphs and networks, and statistics


Course Expectations

Course Information:   Although the format of this course is web-based, the content, the goals, and the objectives remain the same as a traditional course taught in a classroom setting.   Each student should note the following:


1.     Responsibility for learning the material and demonstrating it on assignments, quizzes and exams is totally on the student.  This is particularly true in a distance learning course since the student has only limited access to the instructor.


2.     You will be using MyMathLab (A Pearson’s MyLab and Mastering Product) to complete homework, quizzes and exams, as well as read the text and utilize other resources available within this system to help you learn. Within D2L there is a folder titled Official Course Documents click “Pearson’s MyLab and Mastering Registration Using Desire2Learn” and then click the link to view a short video on how to register for the MyMathLab course that is linked to D2L. After watching the video, register to use the MyMathLab product that accompanies this course. [Important Note: When registering for the MyMathLab product you will need to purchase an access code using a credit card or paypal if you have not already done so. On the page where you enter or purchase your access code you will see a link for obtaining access free for 14 days. I recommend this option because once you have used a purchased access code you generally cannot get a refund, even if you decide to drop the course within the first few days of the semester.] After you register for MyMathLab you might want to watch the following video “MyMathLab Helpful Hints and Tips.” The link to this video can be found within the Official Course Documents folder of D2L. The video will give you an overview of the MyMathLab, including how to access homework, quizzes and exams as well as learning resources within MyMathLab.


3.     We will be covering twelve chapters out of the seventeen in the book (there is an ebook within MyMathLab). With each chapter there will be homework sets and a quiz. There will be a test covering Chapters 1 through 4 (Unit 1: Social Choice), a second covering Chapters 5 through 8 (Unit 2: Management Science), and a third covering Chapters 14 through 17 (Unit 3: Statistics).  There will not be a comprehensive final.  The tests, quizzes, and homework are all multiple choice or fill in the blank.  


4.     Within D2L there are 3 Unit folders, one for each of the units mentioned above. Within each Unit folder is a document titled “Unit # Day-to-Day Schedule for Summer 2016.” This schedule contains all due dates for homework, quizzes and the unit exam. These due dates are there to help you keep on schedule for successfully completing the course. The due dates printed are “soft,” meaning you can work past the due dates, but only up until the “firm” due date that is indicated at the bottom of each “Unit Day-to-Day Schedule.” Also within each Unit folder are four Chapter folders, each containing a pdf file titled “Working Through Chapter ## Document.” Within that document you will be instructed to read a portion of the text (corresponding to a section of the chapter), watch certain related videos (links are within the pdf file) and then do homework over the section you just studied. The cycle will repeat until you have completed all sections within a chapter. Once completing all sections within a chapter you will take a chapter quiz. You may take chapter quizzes up to three times, but you must take the chapter quiz at least once before moving on to the next chapter. Once completing the homework and quizzes within the four chapters that make up a unit you will then take the unit exam. You may not take the unit exam until after you have completed the chapter quizzes within the unit. Important note: When taking a chapter quiz or a unit exam you will not be able to access other components within MyMathLab. If you have technical difficulties and lose internet access, or if you fail to submit the quiz or exam, you will not be able to re-access it until I reset your access. If this happens you should email me right away. Your other option is to start the quiz or exam over again, which is possible because for quizzes and exams you are given more than one attempt.


5.     Mathematics is only learned through careful reading of the text (which includes watching short videos to help you understand the reading) and doing many practice problems (this is the homework). There are no shortcuts.  Although different from college algebra in that most of the operations only involve addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and counting, this course involves a number of “algorithms” which require the student to follow a very specific set of steps to arrive at the final answer.  Any variation will result in incorrect answers.


6.     The importance of precise definitions cannot be over-emphasized.  Each chapter has a set of terms, and those terms are vital to the understanding of the material within the chapter. In the same way, each chapter involves theorems and algorithms that are crucial to the working of problems.  Many of these have specific names, but some do not.  All are important, and must be followed precisely. There will be questions in the homework, quizzes, and tests that require knowledge and understanding of the theorems and algorithms (often by name). At the end of each chapter of the text there is a list of “Key Concepts” that contains the terms, named theorems and algorithms within the chapter. In addition, within each Chapter folder of D2L there is a “Chapter # study guide” that contains much of the same information. Before taking a quiz you might want to print either the corresponding “Key Concepts” pages from the textbook or “Chapter # study guide” to use for quick reference as you complete the quiz. Quizzes and exams are open notes, etc. However, they do have time limits, so knowing the material well is important. However, if you forgot a term or you forget which algorithm goes with which name, you can make quick reference to one of the above documents to remind yourself.


7.     I will be available by e-mail most every day and by appointment (phone appointment, or office appointment (Mon. – Thurs.) if you are local to Wichita Falls). If you would like to talk by phone, send an e-mail request letting me know when you are available to talk by phone and we will arrange a time for you to call me in my office (940-397-4013). If I am not in my office, then I will ask for your number and will call you at the time we arrange to “meet by phone.” Most days I am available and willing to make calls at a mutually agreeable time between 10 am and 8 pm. Please do not hesitate to request a phone appointment whenever you need some assistance.

Grading Standards

Grading:  The final grade for the course will be determined by a combination of exams, homework, and quizzes using the grade scale given below. 


Instrument                    Weight                      Grade Scale

-----------------------           -------------                   ----------------

Section Homework (50)     16%                         90 - 100%   A

Chapter Quizzes (12)         24%                        80 -  89%     B

       Unit Exams (3)            60%                        70 -  79%     C

                                                                          60 -  69%     D

                                                                            0 -  59%     F


Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

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 be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

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Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at