Algebra I

Course No. 1001
Professor James A. Sellers, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
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95 Reviews
96% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1001
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What Will You Learn?

  • Learn tricks for translating the language of problems into the language of math.
  • Investigate real-world applications of linear equations.
  • Discover how to analyze patterns and work out a formula that predicts any term in a sequence.

Course Overview

Algebra I is one of the most critical courses that students take in high school. Not only does it introduce them to a powerful reasoning tool with applications in many different careers, but algebra is the gateway to higher education. Students who do well in algebra are better prepared for college entrance exams and for college in general, since algebra teaches them how to solve problems and think abstractly—skills that pay off no matter what major they pursue.

Because algebra involves a new way of thinking, many students find it especially challenging. Many parents also find it to be the area where they have the most trouble helping their high-school-age children. With 36 half-hour lessons, Algebra I is an entirely new course developed to meet both these concerns, teaching students and parents the concepts and procedures of first-year algebra in an easily accessible way. Indeed, anyone wanting to learn algebra from the beginning or needing a thorough review will find this course an ideal tutor.

Conquer the Challenges of Learning Algebra

Taught by Professor James A. Sellers, an award-winning educator at The Pennsylvania State University, Algebra I incorporates the following valuable features:

  • Drawing on extensive research, The Great Courses and Dr. Sellers have identified the biggest challenges for high school students in mastering Algebra I, which are specifically addressed in this course.
  • This course reflects the latest standards and emphases in high school and college algebra taught in the United States.
  • Algebra I includes a mini-textbook with detailed summaries of each lesson, a multitude of additional problems to supplement those presented in the on-screen lessons, guided instructions for solving the problems, and important formulas and definitions of terms.
  • Professor Sellers interacts with viewers in a one-on-one manner, carefully explaining every step in the solution to a problem and giving frequent tips, problem-solving strategies, and insights into areas where students have the most trouble.

As Director of Undergraduate Mathematics at Penn State, Professor Sellers appreciates the key role that algebra plays in preparing students for higher education. He understands what entering college students need to have mastered in terms of math preparation to launch themselves successfully on their undergraduate careers, whether they intend to take more math in college or not. Professor Sellers is alert to the math deficiencies of the typical entering high school graduate, and he has developed an effective strategy for putting students confidently on the road to college-level mathematics.

Whatever your age, it is well worth the trouble to master this subject. Algebra is indispensible for those embarking on careers in science, engineering, information technology, and higher mathematics, but it is also a fundamental reasoning tool that shows up in economics, architecture, publishing, graphic arts, public policy, manufacturing, insurance, and many other fields, as well as in a host of at-home activities such as planning a budget, altering a recipe, calculating car mileage, painting a room, planting a garden, building a patio, or comparison shopping.

And for all of its reputation as a grueling rite of passage, algebra is actually an enjoyable and fascinating subject—when taught well.

Algebra without Fear

Professor Sellers takes the fear out of learning algebra by approaching it in a friendly and reassuring spirit. Most students won't have a teacher as unhurried and as attentive to detail as Dr. Sellers, who explains everything clearly and, whenever possible, in more than one way so that the most important concepts sink in.

He starts with a review of fractions, decimals, percents, positive and negative numbers, and numbers raised to various powers, showing how to perform different operations on these values. Then he introduces variables as the building blocks of algebraic expressions, before moving on to the main ideas, terms, techniques, pitfalls, formulas, and strategies for success in tackling Algebra I. Throughout, he presents a carefully crafted series of gradually more challenging problems, building the student's confidence and mastery.

After taking this course, students will be familiar with the terminology and symbolic nature of first-year algebra and will understand how to represent various types of functions (linear, quadratic, rational, and radical) using algebraic rules, tables of data, and graphs. In the process, they will also become acquainted with the types of problems that can be solved using such functions, with a particular eye toward solving various types of equations and inequalities.

Throughout the course, Professor Sellers emphasizes the following skills:

  • Using multiple techniques to solve problems
  • Understanding when a given technique can be used
  • Knowing how to translate word problems into mathematical expressions
  • Recognizing numerical patterns
Tips for Success

Algebra is a rich and complex subject, in which seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome, often with ease, if one knows how to approach them. Professor Sellers is an experienced guide in this terrain and a treasure trove of practical advice—from the simple (make sure that you master the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to the more demanding (memorize the algebraic formulas that you use most often). Here are some other examples of his tips for success:

  • Learn the order of operations: These are the rules you follow when performing mathematical operations. You can remember the order with this sentence: Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. The first letter of each word stands for an operation. First, do all work in parentheses; then the exponents; then multiplication and division; finally, do the addition and subtraction.
  • Know your variables: It's easy to make a mistake when writing an algebraic expression if you don't understand what each variable represents. Choose letters that you can remember; for example, d for distance and t for time. If you have sloppy handwriting, avoid letters that look like numbers (b, l, o, s, and z).
  • Use graph paper: You'll be surprised at how the grid of lines encourages you to organize your thinking. The columns and rows help you keep your work neat and easy to follow.
  • Pay attention to signs: Be very careful of positive and negative signs. A misplaced plus or minus sign will give you the wrong answer.
  • Don't mix units: If you are using seconds and are given a time in minutes, make sure to convert the units so they are all the same.
  • Simplify: Straighten out the clutter in an equation by putting like terms together. Constants, such as 7, -2, 28, group together, as do terms with the same variable, such as 3x, x, -10x. Then combine the like terms. Often you'll find that the equation practically solves itself.
  • Balance the equation: When you perform an operation on one side of an equation—such as adding or subtracting a number, or multiplying or dividing the entire side by a quantity—do the exact same thing to the other side. This keeps things in balance.
  • Above all, check your work! When you have finished a problem, ask yourself, "Does this answer make sense?" Plug your solution into the original equation to see if it does. Checking your work is the number one insurance policy for accurate work—the step that separates good students from superstar students.

By developing habits such as these, you will discover that solving algebra problems becomes a pleasure and not a chore—just as in a sport in which you have mastered the rudiments and are ready to face a competitor. Algebra I gives you the inspirational instruction, repetition, and practice to excel at what for many students is the most dreaded course in high school. Open yourself to the world of opportunity that algebra offers by making the best possible start on this all-important subject.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    An Introduction to the Course
    Professor Sellers introduces the general topics and themes for the course, describing his approach and recommending a strategy for making the best use of the lessons and supplementary workbook. Warm up with some simple problems that demonstrate signed numbers and operations. x
  • 2
    Order of Operations
    The order in which you do simple operations of arithmetic can make a big difference. Learn how to solve problems that combine adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, as well as raising numbers to various powers. These same concepts also apply when you need to simplify algebraic expressions, making it critical to master them now. x
  • 3
    Percents, Decimals, and Fractions
    Continue your study of math fundamentals by exploring various procedures for converting between percents, decimals, and fractions. Professor Sellers notes that it helps to see these procedures as ways of presenting the same information in different forms. x
  • 4
    Variables and Algebraic Expressions
    Advance to the next level of problem solving by using variables as the building blocks to create algebraic expressions, which are combinations of mathematical symbols that might include numbers, variables, and operation symbols. Also learn some tricks for translating the language of problems (phrases in English) into the language of math (algebraic expressions). x
  • 5
    Operations and Expressions
    Discover that by following basic rules on how to treat coefficients and exponents, you can reduce very complicated algebraic expressions to much simpler ones. You start by using the commutative property of multiplication to rearrange the terms of an expression, making combining them relatively easy. x
  • 6
    Principles of Graphing in 2 Dimensions
    Using graph paper and pencil, begin your exploration of the coordinate plane, also known as the Cartesian plane. Learn how to plot points in the four quadrants of the plane, how to choose a scale for labeling the x and y axes, and how to graph a linear equation. x
  • 7
    Solving Linear Equations, Part 1
    In this lesson, work through simple one- and two-step linear equations, learning how to isolate the variable by different operations. Professor Sellers also presents a word problem involving a two-step equation and gives tips for how to solve it. x
  • 8
    Solving Linear Equations, Part 2
    Investigating more complicated examples of linear equations, learn that linear equations fall into three categories. First, the equation might have exactly one solution. Second, it might have no solutions at all. Third, it might be an identity, which means every number is a solution. x
  • 9
    Slope of a Line
    Explore the concept of slope, which for a given straight line is its rate of change, defined as the rise over run. Learn the formula for calculating slope with coordinates only, and what it means to have a positive, negative, and undefined slope. x
  • 10
    Graphing Linear Equations, Part 1
    Use what you've learned about slope to graph linear equations in the slope-intercept form, y = mx + b, where m is the slope, and b is the y intercept. Experiment with examples in which you calculate the equation from a graph and from a table of pairs of points. x
  • 11
    Graphing Linear Equations, Part 2
    A more versatile approach to writing the equation of a line is the point-slope form, in which only two points are required, and neither needs to intercept the y axis. Work through several examples and become comfortable determining the equation using the line and the line using the equation x
  • 12
    Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
    Apply what you've discovered about equations of lines to two very special types of lines: parallel and perpendicular. Learn how to tell if lines are parallel or perpendicular from their equations alone, without having to see the lines themselves. Also try your hand at word problems that feature both types of lines. x
  • 13
    Solving Word Problems with Linear Equations
    Linear equations reflect the behavior of real-life phenomena. Practice evaluating tables of numbers to determine if they can be represented as linear equations. Conclude with an example about the yearly growth of a tree. Does it increase in size at a linear rate? x
  • 14
    Linear Equations for Real-World Data
    Investigating more real-world applications of linear equations, derive the formula for converting degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit; determine the boiling point of water in Denver, Colorado; and calculate the speed of a rising balloon and the time for an elevator to descend to the ground floor. x
  • 15
    Systems of Linear Equations, Part 1
    When two lines intersect, they form a system of linear equations. Discover two methods for finding a solution to such a system: by graphing and by substitution. Then try out a real-world example, involving a farmer who wants to plant different crops in different proportions. x
  • 16
    Systems of Linear Equations, Part 2
    Expand your tools for solving systems of linear equations by exploring the method of solving by elimination. This technique allows you to eliminate one variable by performing addition, subtraction, or multiplication on both sides of an equation, allowing a straightforward solution for the remaining variable. x
  • 17
    Linear Inequalities
    Shift gears to consider linear inequalities, which are mathematical expressions featuring a less than sign or a greater than sign instead of an equal sign. Discover that these kinds of problems have some very interesting twists, and they come up frequently in business applications. x
  • 18
    An Introduction to Quadratic Polynomials
    Transition to a more complex type of algebraic expression, which incorporates squared terms and is therefore known as quadratic. Learn how to use the FOIL method (first, outer, inner, last) to multiply linear terms to get a quadratic expression. x
  • 19
    Factoring Trinomials
    Begin to find solutions for quadratic equations, starting with the FOIL technique in reverse to find the binomial factors of a quadratic trinomial (a binomial expression consists of two terms, a trinomial of three). Professor Sellers explains the tricks of factoring such expressions, which is a process almost like solving a mystery. x
  • 20
    Quadratic Equations—Factoring
    In some circumstances, quadratic expressions are given in a special form that allows them to be factored quickly. Focus on two such forms: perfect square trinomials and differences of two squares. Learning to recognize these cases makes factoring easy. x
  • 21
    Quadratic Equations—The Quadratic Formula
    For those cases that defy simple factoring, the quadratic formula provides a powerful technique for solving quadratic equations. Discover that this formidable-looking expression is not as difficult as it appears and is well worth committing to memory. Also learn how to determine if a quadratic equation has no solutions. x
  • 22
    Quadratic Equations—Completing the Square
    After learning the definition of a function, investigate an additional approach to solving quadratic equations: completing the square. This technique is very useful when rewriting the equation of a quadratic function in such a way that the graph of the function is easily sketched. x
  • 23
    Representations of Quadratic Functions
    Drawing on your experience solving quadratic functions, analyze the parabolic shapes produced by such functions when represented on a graph. Use your algebraic skills to determine the parabola's vertex, its x and y intercepts, and whether it opens in an upward "cup" or downward in a "cap." x
  • 24
    Quadratic Equations in the Real World
    Quadratic functions often arise in real-world settings. Explore a number of problems, including calculating the maximum height of a rocket and determining how long an object dropped from a tree takes to reach the ground. Learn that in finding a solution, graphing can often help. x
  • 25
    The Pythagorean Theorem
    Because it involves terms raised to the second power, the famous Pythagorean theorem, a2 + b2 = c2, is actually a quadratic equation. Discover how techniques you have previously learned for analyzing quadratic functions can be used for solving problems involving right triangles. x
  • 26
    Polynomials of Higher Degree
    Most of the expressions you've studied in the course so far have been polynomials. Learn what characterizes a polynomial and how to recognize polynomials in both algebraic functions and in graphical form. Professor Sellers defines several terms, including the degree of an equation, the leading coefficient, and the domain. x
  • 27
    Operations and Polynomials
    Much of what you've learned about linear and quadratic expressions applies to adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing polynomials. Discover how the FOIL operation can be extended to multiplying large polynomials, and a version of long division works for dividing one polynomial by another. x
  • 28
    Rational Expressions, Part 1
    When one polynomial is divided by another, the result is called a rational function because it is the ratio of two polynomials. These functions play an important role in algebra. Learn how to add and subtract rational functions by first finding their common divisor. x
  • 29
    Rational Expressions, Part 2
    Continuing your exploration of rational expressions, try your hand at multiplying and dividing them. The key to solving these complicated-looking equations is to proceed one step at a time. Close the lesson with a problem that brings together all you've learned about rational functions. x
  • 30
    Graphing Rational Functions, Part 1
    Examine the distinctive graphs formed by rational functions, which may form vertical or horizontal curves that aren't even connected on a graph. Learn to identify the intercepts and the vertical and horizontal asymptotes of these fascinating curves. x
  • 31
    Graphing Rational Functions, Part 2
    Sketch the graphs of several rational functions by first calculating the vertical and horizontal asymptotes, the x and y intercepts, and then plotting several points in the function. In the final exercise, you must simplify the expression in order to extract the needed information. x
  • 32
    Radical Expressions
    Anytime you see a root symbol—for example, the symbol for a square root—then you're dealing with what mathematicians call a radical. Learn how to simplify radical expressions and perform operations on them, such as multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction, as well as combinations of these operations. x
  • 33
    Solving Radical Equations
    Discover how to solve equations that contain radical expressions. A key step is isolating the radical term and then squaring both sides. As always, it's important to check the solution by plugging it into the equation to see if it makes sense. This is especially true with radical equations, which can sometimes yield extraneous, or invalid, solutions. x
  • 34
    Graphing Radical Functions
    In previous lessons, you moved from linear, quadratic, and rational functions to the graphs that display them. Now do the same with radical functions. For these, it's important to pay attention to the domain of the functions to ensure that negative values are not introduced beneath the root symbol. x
  • 35
    Sequences and Pattern Recognition, Part 1
    Pattern recognition is an important and fascinating mathematical skill. Investigate two types of number patterns: geometric sequences and arithmetic sequences. Learn how to analyze such patterns and work out a formula that predicts any term in the sequence x
  • 36
    Sequences and Pattern Recognition, Part 2
    Conclude the course by examining more types of number sequences, discovering how rich and enjoyable the mathematics of pattern recognition can be. As in previous lessons, employ your reasoning skills and growing command of algebra to find order—and beauty—where once all was a confusion of numbers. x

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  • Download 36 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 264-page course workbook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 264-page workbook
  • Lecture outlines
  • Practice problems & solutions
  • Formula list

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Your professor

James A. Sellers

About Your Professor

James A. Sellers, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. James A. Sellers is Professor of Mathematics and Director of Undergraduate Mathematics at The Pennsylvania State University. He earned his B.S. in Mathematics from The University of Texas at San Antonio and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Penn State. In the past few years, Professor Sellers has received the Teresa Cohen Mathematics Service Award from the Penn State Department of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association...
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Algebra I is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 95.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent for people with 'math phobia' I 'get' math. With just a little guidance I can learn it myself. But not everyone is so lucky. Dr. Sellers is the reason two people in my household are finally understanding algebra. They have both had massive mental blocks in math. They're gifted in other areas, but math had always been a source of frustration, confusion and despair, and this was blocking their paths into college. No more--Dr. Sellers has a clear and fun way of explaining the concepts and the techniques as he works through the material. He doesn't do this by dumbing down the course, but by being extra clear explaining, and demonstrating with relevant moving graphics the fundamentals, so the student really understands why the rules and procedures are the way they are. After trying multiple courses, tutoring, and private schools that claim to cater to math phobics, they're solving systems of linear equations on their own for the first time tonight. Thank you Dr. Sellers. Next semester we'll be doing your algebra II course which we've already purchased, and after that I'm hoping you'll have a course out on trigonometry!
Date published: 2015-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable Course!!! I have wanted to go back and review basic Algebra for many years, but life (you know how it is) sometimes makes that proposition difficult. Well, I finally stopped procrastinating and took a chance on Prof. Sellers. With a Ph.D. of my own and many miles on the Odometer I was amazed to find someone with his patience and clarity. I've spent my fair share of time in a classroom, but Dr. Sellers is unique. There are other Algebra courses in the Great Courses, but this is the one you want. --It's his patience and clarity that sets him apart. In fact, have re-watched some lessons just to study his pedagogy! It's really that good. Where was he when I was being bludgeoned by my Math teachers (in High School and College)?!? Oh, probably not born... :)
Date published: 2015-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I can not find that all the points in problem 10 lecture 10 are on the same line
Date published: 2015-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Wonderful I initially bought this course about 4 years ago or so, just before my older son was scheduled to start Algebra in school. I was a very strong Math student as a kid, but I hadn't seen this stuff in so many years. I barely remembered a thing. A fate would have it, I never got around to watching the lectures at that time, but my son actually did! He'd come home from school every day and watch a new lecture. About a month after he finished, his school came to the realization that they needed to skip him ahead a grade in Mathematics because he already had this information down cold! He's now a sophomore in High School and is taking BC Calculus, planning on taking Multivariable Calculus next year. Well, my younger son is now getting into Algebra, so I decided to sit down and go through this course myself. I get it now. Dr. Sellers is about as clear as he can be. He gives solid examples, then walks you through them at a very good pace. I never felt like I was being pushed too fast, but nor did I ever feel like things were dragging. I'm about to start Algebra 2 now & I honestly can't wait. I cannot recommend this course enough to anyone who wants to learn Algebra, teen or adult alike.
Date published: 2015-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ALGEBRA 1 This is by far the best Algebra 1 math course I have ever taken. This course breaks the math concepts down so it is easy to understand for non math people like me. I am an Adult Age student and wanted to "refresh" my Algebra skills, because you do actually use Algebra in everyday life. The course is taught by Professor James A. Sellers, who I wish was my math teacher back when I was in high school. The problem today is that math is taught so poorly in our schools, which is why American kids don't like math period. When I was in school as a young man I was terrible at math. These courses in Algebra have taught me to love math and embrace it. When you become an adult, you realize how important math is or you will not get a good job. These mathematical courses offered are excellent, and I would highly recommend them. I will be taking the Calculus course next. If you are afraid of math or Algebra, take this course. This course will give you an excellent foundation to go into higher math. Math is fun.
Date published: 2015-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from algebra i The instructor painstakingly goes through each step giving a clear understanding of each problem. It is not hard to learn what is in the course.
Date published: 2015-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic for me. I have been away from Algebra for many years, as far as a course and it has been wonderful to get my mind back to thinking it. i wanted a course that would get me back to thinking and understanding Algebra so that I can take it to the next levels. The presentation is outstanding and because of that I am very much impressed with the course.
Date published: 2015-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Algebra 1 I took , and past Algebra 1 in high school. I passed fairly easily. I recently began to discover that if I were to take a test, or anything Algebra 1 related, I'd probably flunk! This worried me, especially since I have recently made a department change in my career and I am now working in the accounting department. This being said, I nearly panicked! "What do I do??!!", I asked myself. I then remembered that my fiancé once bought me a Nutrition Course and a Cooking Course from Great Courses. I quickly hoped on, figuring they would have a course for Algebra. And they did! So I ordered. After completing the Great Course on Algebra, I quickly regained my ability to conquer Algebra! I'd take long to get back into the swing of things . Bottom line, Great Courses is amazing! Not just with learning something new, but it is also spectacular with refreshing and honing your skills, with anything! They have a course on everything! I love Great Courses!!
Date published: 2015-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Instructor! I have been so grateful for the presentation style of Dr. Sellers. He seems so concerned to ensure that each concept is fully understandable and then builds on that foundation until a thorough knowledge of the subject can be had. I have tried to do Algebra by using just books, and even though they are very good, I didn't really understand all the whys and wherefores until I heard the lectures from Dr. Sellers. The Course content is excellent and the Professor is outstanding!
Date published: 2014-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Algebra 1 by James A. Sellers I've tried many different books and even a couple of free online courses, but they were always confusing, it was hard to keep up with the rules and why they changed with different problems. Mr. Sellers presents it all in a step by step fashion in which you learn the rules instead of hoping you know them. It's obvious he loves to teach, wish I'd bought the course and his fundamentals of math a long time ago.
Date published: 2014-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Grrreat! Course but Only Able to Stream My last math course was about forty years ago. High school algebra was 50 years ago and my grades were pretty bad. Now, I find that this Algebra 1 course is awakening what I learned and building on it. At age 68 I am actually enjoying (relearning) algebra! My young self would never have believed this could be possible. I recommend the course and I recommend supplementing it with some of the excellent online resources for more practice. I had planned to visit my grandson (who starts high school algebra next month) and share the lectures with him. However, its been eight days since I ordered the download and Great Courses new website problems won't let me download the lectures to my laptop. I cannot stream at my grandson's home. So, I am just hoping Great Courses will fix things and enable my downloads soon so we can study together before he starts school.
Date published: 2014-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My daughter finally passed thanks to this course My daughter was taking Algebra I for the second time, and failing it for the second time. We had spent many hours (and a lot of money) with math tutors, but she still wasn't getting it. I was spending a great deal of time with her trying to help her through it. It wasn't working. She is a bright girl who gets "A"s and "B"s in her other classes, which are mostly honors courses. But Algebra was a different story. We were desperate. I thought I'd try these DVDs to see if they may help. Long story short...after she started working through the course, she pulled her final grade up to a "C" and passed! She also passed the end-of-year assessment which is a graduation requirement in our state, It would be hard to overstate how happy we are with this course, and with Professor Seller's approach to teaching math. I watched the DVDs as well, and he has a gift for making the concepts easy to understand, without being condescending. His passion for math also makes the DVDs interesting, which says a lot for a subject that my daughter has loathed. We purchased Algebra II and trust that this will help her pass ...the first time!
Date published: 2014-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Great of Great Courses I am a college student who decided to go back and get a firm foundation in math. If you are looking for clear instruction as well as detailed examples, then look no further. The Teaching Company certainly stands behind their commitment to providing the best of the best professors to deliver the content. I recommend this course to anyone who may be going into Algebra for the first time and is a fantastic refresher course.
Date published: 2014-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Got the job done with excellence My 9th grade daughter enjoyed the subject and the teacher. Only the typos in the book were confusing to her.
Date published: 2013-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course I bought this course for my 14 year old granddaughter, who was in need of tutoring in Algebra I. The course is excellent for this purpose. I haven't watched the entire set of DVDs yet, but the ones I did watch reflected top notch instructional design and teaching methods. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2013-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sellers answers questions as you form them. Dr. Sellers is one of my favorite lecturers in all the Teaching Company courses I've viewed. I use these courses as teaching tools for my students. What I like best about Dr. Sellers' teaching style is that, just about when I feel more explanation of a point is needed and pause the video to explain, when I restart the video, Sellers' next words are the exact same thing I just added; it's almost eerie, as if the course was interactive! I also like the way Sellers begins each new topic or level of difficulty with more straightforward examples, then progressively builds the complexity within each topic. I feel this helps viewers to assimilate each skill or point without panic or frustration. We borrowed Sellers' Basic Math lectures from the library, and I had the same experience with those lectures; whenever I felt further explanation was needed, Sellers did too. It was this first experience which influenced us to buy courses by Dr. Sellers, knowing they will remain valuable. We've since bought other courses by Dr. Sellers but haven't yet watched them. Each level in due time. Nevertheless, I feel confident that I can trust Sellers to do an exquisite job of presenting the material.
Date published: 2013-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliantly Taught I have only a very basic knowledge of math. I ordered this course because I need to have at least some knowledge of math for my college studies. I am extremely happy with this course. The lecturer is very engaging, and really simplifies the algebraic concepts. Kudos!
Date published: 2013-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it I’m planning a career change that requires a graduate degree and hence taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam,) and that means dusting off the Algebra, and getting re-acquainted with my math anxiety. So far so good: no anxiety. Dr. Sellers really builds one skill upon another in ways that make a lot of sense – lots of planning must have gone into this course, and it shows. Everything he talks about in one lecture shows up either in the next lecture or a few lectures later. I also like the graphics he uses – very clear. My strategy has been to take notes throughout the lectures and then just take my time and work the study problems in the book until I “get” them. Surprisingly, what I love most about this course I at first hated: Dr. Sellers would show the first example for a new type of problem with whole numbers, and then start mixing in fractions every chance he could. The benefit is fractions don’t bother me at all anymore, not in the least: they’re just another number. If you’ve been out of school for a bit, I strongly recommend viewing the Fundamentals of Math first (also by Dr. Sellers.) It’s a great introduction to all the skills you need – especially with fractions – for this course.
Date published: 2013-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Crystal clear introduction to Algebra! Professor Sellers is easily one of the best professors in The Great Courses series. He is a great teacher and presenter. His enthusiasm for teaching mathematics is infectious and the student cannot help but engage and immerse himself in the lessons. The most important aspect of the course is that it is thoughtfully and carefully designed to guide the student through a very gradual progression. Professor Sellers takes you by the hand and helps you build your own algebra skills with confidence and clarity. He takes great care in stressing the most common pitfalls in each relevant chapter and the ways to avoid them. The guidebook includes a detailed review of theory, solved examples, guidelines for approaching similar problems as well as the most common mistakes. Each chapter comes with a set of 10 exercises of increasing difficulty and the solutions are provided in the end of the guidebook. It has to be noted that Professor Sellers gives complete solutions for each exercise and not only the corresponding answers. I did not expect such level of detail in the solutions, which is a welcome surprise as it clarifies how Professor Sellers approaches them. I particularly enjoyed the lectures on systems of linear equations, graphing polynomial functions and graphing rational expressions. The last two lectures on progressions and pattern recognition were outstanding. Professor Sellers connects progressions with systems of three or more linear equations. As always, he successfully clarifies the topic so that the student can approach the relevant exercises with confidence. If you think that you need a refresher on simple math before embarking on Algebra I, then I highly recommend his most recent course "Understanding the Fundamentals of Mathematics". My final impression is that Professor Sellers is unique in that he maintains the same high level of presentation and enthusiasm throughout the 36 lectures of the course, a talent that is not so common among the Great Courses Professors. Highly recommended for high school students, parents willing to support their children in their math studies and anyone interested in mathematics. I would surely like to see more courses by Professor Sellers.
Date published: 2013-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Instructor It has been 50 years since I studied algebra in high school. I had forgotten most of it. Sellers did a great job of teaching this material. He was always clear. The workbook was also very helpful and I as able to solve all the problems. It was certainly helpful to have all of the problems worked out in the rear of the workbook. I picked up an algebra textbook to help me along, but the Sellers method of presentation and workbook was far better. GREAT JOB!!!
Date published: 2013-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Where have you been? He claims at the beginning this is not a complete course. I don't care. Not only do you learn how to do the problems, you also learn how to help your child with them. That makes this the most practical course in the Teaching Company system. There are some typos in the workbook, but unless you're asleep you'll notice them. I can't wait to get into algebra II! I wish the teaching company would offer an Algebra I part two to make this a "complete" course--this product is worth it.
Date published: 2012-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Family Affair I bought this course to augment my daughter's study of Algebra I. My older son joined in to tutor her a bit as well. This review comes from perceptions of the course from all three of us. The course was well structured, covering the major topics of algebra in good order. The teacher was clear and helpful in shoring up concepts that had been difficult. This helped my daughter build a strong foundation for future study. This is very important to her and to us! On the critical side, both my son and daughter wish there had been more problems in the workbook. Further, my son (who has taken calculus in high school) thought the last lecture on sequences and pattern recognition ended the course in an unusual and not particularly helpful way. Notwithstanding these issues, all three of us recommend the course.
Date published: 2012-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a Success!!! I purchased this course so my daughter could preview her algebra course -- she absolutely loved it. She enjoyed the videos and did the problem set at the end of each lesson. It worked as well as I hoped it would. Prof. Sellers does an excellent job of going over the material. He made good use of the graphics to help illustrate the material. He seems like a genuinely nice guy -- which, I think, helped my daughter relate to him. The guide book had about a dozen problems for each lesson. The included explanations were also helpful. This course worked well to introduce my daughter to the subject as well as a review for me. I would recommend this course to any prospective algebra student (either youth or adult) or anyone who wishes to review the subject. As a parent, I thank Prof. Sellers and TTC for the help.
Date published: 2012-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super Helpful to Understanding Algebra! I really liked the way this course built on concepts. It's organized a bit differently than some of the other algebra courses I've taken, and I found the way the professor explained everything really helpful. The presentation was also excellent. The professor has a very appealing, clear way of speaking, and I found the way equations were shown on the screen understandable and incredibly helpful. I just finished this course today, and look forward to starting Algebra II with this same professor.
Date published: 2012-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learn from the workbook errors. I'm brushing up on Algebra 1 so that I can more effectively tutor some of my science students who have been asking me for help with their math. I'm trying to get through the entire course before the end of Christmas break. So far I have found one error in the workbook, but if it is allowed, I will update this review if I find any more. Lesson 10, problem 10. Check your answer against the answer key. Whether your answer agrees with the key depends on which two points you chose when you calculated the slope. Try plotting all three points on the coordinate plane. Are they collinear?
Date published: 2011-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Introduction to Algebra I Let me begin by stating I'm a retired mathematics instructor who had a very successful and rewarding career of 39 years and I can categorically state, 'Algebra II is the most important math course you will ever take if pursuing a career in mathematics or science.' In order to obtain mastery of this subject, you must first learn the background material from Algebra I. I encountered numerous situations where a frustrated student understood the concept I was presenting in Precalculus or Calculus but could not perform the necessary algebraic steps in order to solve the problem. I spent countless hours reviewing and reteaching topics from Algebra in order to get students up to speed. Professor Sellers does an excellent job in presenting the topics necessary in order to succeed in higher mathematics. His logical explanations and carefully chosen examples progressively lead the student to the desired end. Dr. Sellers' sincere enthusiasm and pleasing personality make this a most enjoyable course. WARNING: Mathematics is not a spectator subject; you cannot just listen to an instructor, no matter how good he might be, but must actually work out many examples yourself in order to find and correct mistakes that may be unique to you. It takes practice, practice, practice along with an excellent instructor to guarantee success; therefore, I highly recommend you work out all of the problems given in the accompanying workbook in order to get the most out of this course and increase your chances of success.
Date published: 2011-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent, except . . . I purchased this course for my nephew, a young man going back to school in his 30s who needs math to meet college requirements. He had a terrible time with math when of high school age and still has a dread of it. I bought this course to help him get over that hurdle. I always liked math and did pretty well in it, so I decided to do all the workbook problems in order to refresh my memory and enable me to help him if he needed it. Unfortunately, I came across a lot of typographical errors. My grasp of algebra is still strong enough to identify them and figure out what the author meant, but for my nephew these would have been real roadblocks. The author has provided an errata sheet for both the video and the workbook, but it is incomplete. These mistakes are a regrettable caveat to an otherwise excellent presentation. I would be reluctant to recommend this to beginners because of the mistakes and regret you offered only a yes/no option.
Date published: 2011-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Great Content, very well taught by Prof. Sellers. I wish, there is similar content for AP Statistics and Physics too for High School students.
Date published: 2011-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I could not believe how good this course is! The teacher: outstanding! The course content: very well planned and organized. I bought this course for my daughter who is just starting high school. I watch each lecture with her to be sure she's paying attention as well as to see what I could learn myself (I graduated from high school over 40 years ago and have never really needed algebra since then.) The professor is so comfortable teaching this material, but he treats it like these are new, exciting concepts, and he seems sincerely eager and happy to pass them on. Each lecture is tightly designed; not a moment is wasted. An adequate number of exercises is presented for each new concept, and then he moves on. He's excellent in anticipating questions during each lecture; he poses questions a student might ask at such points, then clearly answers the hypothetical questions. As he goes through the equations, he does so step by step so it's easy to follow the math involved. He anticipates possible mistakes a student might make, or possible pitfalls, and points out where mistakes are often made, to watch out for them, and shows how to check the answers. He prepared an excellent lesson plan that starts with the basics of math and gets progressively harder. Though the material is presented with each lecture building on the ones before, it does take some effort to learn the material. My daughter is doing the problems in the workbook after each class or within a day or so. If she has trouble, we go back to the DVD and see the lecture again. She's learning the subject better than she did in her last year's algebra class, and soon I'm sure she'll be surpassing most of her fellow students. This lecture series is much better than I could have anticipated; I'm really glad I got it.
Date published: 2011-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Motivating self-study I purchased this course for my 12-year old grandson who has innate mathematical ability. He will be taking 9th grade Algebra I in the 7th grade and I thought this would be an excellent summer project to help him prepare. He breezed through the first 18 lessons with a single viewing and by completing the exercises at the conclusion of each lesson. He reported that the lessons became progressively more challenging and difficult. He completed 30 of the 36 lessons along with the exercises. He reported to me that Dr. Sellers was easy to understand and paced the content so that he could follow easily. As a side benefit, he spent more time with Algebra I than with video games! He is well-prepared for his first year of Algebra. I plan to give him TGC courses in Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus and Calculus as he takes them in high school. (I completed Dr. Sellers Algebra II course and concur with the evaluation of his teaching style and pace.)
Date published: 2011-08-08
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