Course Syllabus

Welcome to Math E-8: College Algebra.

Summary of Useful Links

  • Online course catalog
  • Extension School calendar
  • Section & Office hours
    • Tuesdays 5:30 to 7:30 in Sever 101
  • Review materials
    • Includes practice quizzes & exams
  • Math Question Center 
  • Used copies of the textbook
  • Disability Services & Accessibility
    • A message from the Dean for Academic Programs: The Extension School is committed to providing an accessible academic community. The Disability Services Office offers a variety of accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. Please visit this link for more information.
  • Academic Integrity
    • A message from the Dean for Academic Programs: You are responsible for understanding Harvard Extension School policies on academic integrity and how to use sources responsibly. Not knowing the rules, misunderstanding the rules, running out of time, submitting "the wrong draft", or being overwhelmed with multiple demands are not acceptable excuses. There are no excuses for failure to uphold academic integrity. To support your learning about academic citation rules, please visit the Harvard Extension School Tips to Avoid Plagiarism, where you'll find links to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources and two, free, online 15-minute tutorials to test your knowledge of academic citation policy. The tutorials are anonymous open-learning tools.
  • Contact technical support:

Course Policies & Information

The information on this syllabus and elsewhere on this site is tentative and subject to change. Any updates or announcements will be posted to this website.


  • Section is scheduled for Tuesday nights from 5:30 to 6:30, with an optional office hour following from 6:30 to 7:30, in Sever 101.
  • During section, the TA (Elaine) will answer your questions about homework and class.
  • Section is optional but strongly encouraged.
  • You must attend section if you want to take the optional makeup quizzes (see below).


  • A homework schedule has been provided.
  • Your homework will not be corrected. Rather, it is intended to help you prepare for the weekly quizzes.
  • Complete homework solutions will be posted online.


  • An online homework-based quiz will be given each week
  • An optional makeup quiz is offered during section. 
    • Anyone can take the makeup quiz.
    • Only the higher score is kept, so taking the makeup is risk-free.
    • No other makeup opportunities are offered.
  • Doing well on the homework is the best way to ensure doing well on the weekly quizzes (as well as on the exams).
  • Your lowest three quiz scores will be dropped automatically.
    • This means that if you have to miss a quiz and can't take the makeup, the missing quiz won't count against you.


  • There are two midterms, a practice final, and a final.
  • An exam schedule has been provided.

Exam & Quiz policies

  • All exams and quizzes are open-book, open-notes.
  • Graphing calculators and smartphone/tablet apps are allowed, even encouraged.
  • However, communicating with anyone other than course staff while taking exams and quizzes is considered cheating.

Review Materials

You can look at quizzes and exams from an earlier version of Math E-8 here

  • Since Math E-8 changes from term to term, these review materials, while hopefully useful, are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the quizzes and exams you will take this term. 

Question Center

Individual help is available for Math E-8 students in the local area at the Math Question Center.

  • Stay tuned for more information.


  • The text is Algebra: Form & Function by William McCallum, et al., Preliminary edition.
  • Used copies are likely available at the above link, but feel free to do your own research.
  • Even though more recent editions are available, we're using the Preliminary edition, since it is widely available used at a much lower cost.


  • Each quiz has an optional makeup quiz. Only the higher score of each quiz/makeup pair is kept.
  • Your three lowest quiz grades are dropped.
  • Your remaining quiz scores are averaged.
  • If beneficial, your score on the practice final replaces the lowest of your two midterm scores and your quiz average.
  • The remaining three scores are weighted 20% each. Your final is weighted 40%.

Technology: Calculators, Apps, etc.

  • We don't limit the tools you can use, provided you do all the work yourself. This means you are free to use any calculators, computers, tablets, phones, phablets, abacuses, etc., that you like.
  • However you can't use communication apps (email, texting, voice, whatever), and you can't disseminate quizzes/exams (or their solutions) to others. Everyone should expect everyone else to do his/her own work. Refer to the school's academic integrity policy.
  • Keep in mind that just becase you can use a tool doesn't mean you always should. Presumably students take this course to learn new things and to strengthen existing skills.
  • This policy stems in part from the fact that technology is good. People used to have to use trig tables, slide rules, and tables of integrals. Now we have Wolfram Alpha and Desmos.
  • This policy also stems from the fact that increasingly, many students take Extension math online. Disallowing online tools when learning in an online environment seems at best inconsistent.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due