Algebra II

Course No. 1002
Professor James A. Sellers, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
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Course No. 1002
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Course Overview

Algebra II is the fork in the road. Those who succeed in this second part of the algebra sequence are well on their way to precalculus, calculus, and higher mathematics, which open the door to careers in science, engineering, medicine, economics, information technology, and many other fields. And since algebraic thinking is found in almost every sphere of modern life, a thorough grounding in this abstract discipline is essential for many nontechnical careers as well, from law to business to graphic arts.

Such benefits aside, Algebra II is a deeply rewarding subject in its own right that goes well beyond the rudiments of signed numbers, symbols, and simple equations learned in Algebra I. Indeed, the transition from Algebra I to Algebra II is like the leap from the first to the second year of a language, when you make your first steps toward genuine fluency. With the basic concepts firmly in place, you are ready to extend your skills in exciting new directions and to start to think mathematically.

Therefore it is essential that you stay the course in your study of algebra. Among the advantages cited in Algebra II by award-winning Professor James A. Sellers of The Pennsylvania State University are these:

  • Perseverance in algebra pays off: Those who master algebra in high school are much more likely to succeed not just in college-level math courses, but in college in general.
  • Algebra is a valuable tool of reasoning: With countless daily uses that may not seem to be algebra problems, algebra comes in handy for everything from planning a party to organizing a trip to negotiating a loan.
  • Algebra is the foundation of calculus: Those skilled in algebra will find calculus more comprehensible—which makes all the difference in understanding a mathematical field that underlies physics, engineering, and so much more.

Through Professor Sellers's clear and inspiring instruction, Algebra II gives you the tools you need to thrive in a core skill of mathematics. In 36 engaging half-hour lessons, Professor Sellers walks you through hundreds of problems, showing every step in their solution and highlighting the most common missteps made by students.

A Course for Learners of All Ages

A gifted speaker and eloquent explainer of ideas, Professor Sellers shows that algebra can be an exciting intellectual adventure for any age and not nearly as difficult as many students fear. Those who will benefit from Professor Sellers's user-friendly approach include

  • high-school students currently enrolled in an Algebra II class and their parents, who seek an outstanding private tutor;
  • home-schooled students and others wishing to learn Algebra II on their own with these 18 hours of lessons and the accompanying mini-textbook;
  • college students struggling with math requirements and who need to strengthen their grasp of this fundamental subject;
  • math teachers searching for a better approach to Algebra II, guided by a professor who knows how to teach the subject;
  • summer learners who have completed Algebra I and want a head start on Algebra II;
  • anyone curious about the rigorous style of thought that underlies mathematics, the sciences, and our technological world.

Step Up to the Next Level

Taking your mathematics education to the next level, Algebra II starts by reviewing concepts from Algebra I and sharpening your problem-solving skills in linear and quadratic equations and other basic procedures. Professor Sellers begins with the simplest examples and gradually adds complexity to build confidence. As the course progresses, he introduces new topics, such as conic sections, roots and radicals, exponential and logarithmic functions, and elementary probability.

As you solve problems with Professor Sellers, you will see that the ideas behind algebra are wonderfully interconnected, that there are often several routes to a solution, and that concepts and procedures such as the following have a host of applications:

  • Functions: One of the simplest and most powerful ideas introduced in algebra is the function. Defined as a relation between two variables so that for any given input value there is exactly one output value, functions are used throughout higher mathematics.
  • Graphing: Professor Sellers notes that "algebra is much more than solving equations and manipulating algebraic expressions." By plotting an equation or a function as a graph, algebra's key properties often come sharply into focus.
  • Polynomials: By the time you meet the term "polynomial" in lecture 19, you will have dealt with dozens of these very useful expressions, including linear and quadratic equations. Professor Sellers shows how to perform complex operations on polynomials with ease.
  • Conic sections: Among algebra's countless links to the real world are conic sections, the class of curves formed by slicing a cone at different angles. These curves correspond to everything from planetary orbits to the shape of satellite TV dishes.
  • Roots and radicals: You are probably already familiar with square roots, but there are also cube roots, 4th roots, 5th roots, and so on. "Radical" comes from the Latin word for "root" and refers to symbols and operations involving roots.
  • Exponents and logarithms: Exponential growth and decay occur throughout nature and are modeled with exponential functions and their inverse, logarithmic functions. Like so many tools in algebra, the concepts are simple, their applications truly awe-inspiring.

With your growing mathematical maturity, you will learn to deploy an arsenal of formulas, theorems, and rules of thumb that provide a deeper understanding of patterns in algebra, while allowing you to analyze and solve equations more quickly than you imagined. Professor Sellers introduces these very useful techniques and more:

  • Vertical line test tells you instantly whether a graph represents a function.
  • Quadratic formula allows you to solve any quadratic equation, no matter how "messy."
  • Fundamental theorem of algebra specifies how many roots exist for a given polynomial.
  • Binomial theorem gives you the key to the coefficients for a binomial of any power.
  • Change of base formula permits you to use a calculator to evaluate logarithms that are not in base 10 or e.
  • "Pert" formula applies algebra to the real-world problem of calculating continuously compounded interest.

Professor Sellers ends the course with three entertaining lectures showing how to solve problems in combinatorics and probability, which have applications in some intriguing areas, whether you need to calculate the possible outcomes in a match of five contestants, the potential three-topping pizzas when there are eight toppings to choose from, or the probability of being dealt different hands in poker.

Dispel the Fog of Confusion!

Practically everyone who has taken algebra has spent time in "the fog," when new ideas just don't make sense. As a winner of the Teresa Cohen Mathematics Service Award from The Pennsylvania State University, Professor Sellers is unusually adept at dispelling the fog.

He does this by explaining the same concept in a variety of insightful ways, by carefully choosing problems that build on each other incrementally, and through his years of experience in addressing areas where students have the most trouble. Whenever the going gets tough, he shows you the path through to a solution and then makes doubly sure that you know the way.

This sense of ease and adventure in tackling the richly varied terrain of algebra characterizes the experience you will have with this superstar teacher and Algebra II. You will learn to solve problems that look impossible at first glance, find that you enjoy them more than you ever thought possible, and look forward to even more challenging exploits as you continue your mathematics education.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    An Introduction to Algebra II
    Professor Sellers explains the topics covered in the course, the importance of algebra, and how you can get the most out of these lessons. You then launch into the fundamentals of algebra by reviewing the order of operations and trying your hand at several problems. x
  • 2
    Solving Linear Equations
    Explore linear equations, starting with one-step equations and then advancing to those requiring two or more steps to solve. Next, apply the distributive property to simplify certain problems, and then learn about the three categories of linear equations. x
  • 3
    Solving Equations Involving Absolute Values
    Taking your knowledge of linear equations a step further, look at examples involving absolute values, which can be thought of as a distance on a number line, always expressed as a positive value. Use your critical-thinking skills to recognize absolute value problems that have limited or no solutions. x
  • 4
    Linear Equations and Functions
    Moving into the visual realm, learn how linear equations are represented as straight lines on graphs using either the slope-intercept or point-slope forms of the function. Next, investigate parallel and perpendicular lines and how to identify them by the value of their slopes. x
  • 5
    Graphing Essentials
    Reversing the procedure from the previous lesson, start with an equation and draw the line that corresponds to it. Then test your knowledge by matching four linear equations to their graphs. Finally, learn how to rewrite an equation to move its graph up, down, left, or right—or flip it entirely. x
  • 6
    Functions—Introduction, Examples, Terminology
    Functions are crucially important not only for algebra, but for precalculus, calculus, and higher mathematics. Learn the definition of a function, the notation, and associated concepts such as domain and range. Then try out the vertical line test for determining whether a given curve is a graph of a function. x
  • 7
    Systems of 2 Linear Equations, Part 1
    Practice solving systems of two linear equations by graphing the corresponding lines and looking for the intersection point. Discover that there are three possible outcomes: no solution, infinitely many solutions, and exactly one solution. x
  • 8
    Systems of 2 Linear Equations, Part 2
    Explore two other techniques for solving systems of two linear equations. First, the method of substitution solves one of the equations and substitutes the result into the other. Second, the method of elimination adds or subtracts the equations to see if a variable can be eliminated. x
  • 9
    Systems of 3 Linear Equations
    As the number of variables increases, it becomes unwieldy to solve systems of linear equations by graphing. Learn that these problems are not as hard as they look and that systems of three linear equations often yield to the strategy of successively eliminating variables. x
  • 10
    Solving Systems of Linear Inequalities
    Make the leap into systems of linear inequalities, where the solution is a set of values on one side or another of a graphed line. An inequality is an assertion such as "less than" or "greater than," which encompasses a range of values. x
  • 11
    An Introduction to Quadratic Functions
    Begin your investigation of quadratic functions by visualizing what these functions look like when graphed. They always form a U-shaped curve called a parabola, whose location on the coordinate plane can be predicted based on the individual terms of the equation. x
  • 12
    Quadratic Equations—Factoring
    One of the most important skills related to quadratics is factoring. Review the basics of factoring, and learn to recognize a very useful special case known as the difference of two squares. Close by working on a word problem that translates into a quadratic equation. x
  • 13
    Quadratic Equations—Square Roots
    The square root approach to solving quadratic equations works not just for perfect squares, such as 3 × 3 = 9, but also for values that don't seem to involve squares at all. Probe the idea behind this technique, and also venture into the strange world of complex numbers. x
  • 14
    Completing the Square
    Turn a quadratic equation into an easily solvable form that includes a perfect square—a technique called completing the square. An important benefit of this approach is that the rewritten form gives the coordinates for the vertex of the parabola represented by the equation. x
  • 15
    Using the Quadratic Formula
    When other approaches fail, one tool can solve every quadratic equation: the quadratic formula. Practice this formula on a wide range of problems, learning how a special expression called the discriminant immediately tells how many real-number solutions the equation has. x
  • 16
    Solving Quadratic Inequalities
    Extending the exercises on inequalities from lecture 10, step into the realm of quadratic inequalities, where the boundary graph is not a straight line but a parabola. Use your skills analyzing quadratic expressions to sketch graphs quickly and solve systems of quadratic inequalities. x
  • 17
    Conic Sections—Parabolas and Hyperbolas
    Delve into the algebra of conic sections, which are the cross-sectional shapes produced by slicing a cone at different angles. In this lesson, study parabolas and hyperbolas, which differ in how many variable terms are squared in each. Also learn how to sketch a hyperbola from its equation. x
  • 18
    Conic Sections—Circles and Ellipses
    Investigate the algebraic properties of the other two conic sections: ellipses and circles. Ellipses resemble stretched circles and are defined by their major and minor axes, whose ratio determines the ellipse's eccentricity. Circles are ellipses whose eccentricity = 1, with the major and minor axes equal. x
  • 19
    An Introduction to Polynomials
    Pause to examine the nature of polynomials—a class of algebraic expressions that you've been working with since the beginning of the course. Professor Sellers introduces several useful concepts, such as the standard form of polynomials and their degree, domain, range, and leading coefficients. x
  • 20
    Graphing Polynomial Functions
    Deepen your insight into polynomial functions by graphing them to see how they differ from non-polynomials. Then learn how the general shape of the graph can be predicted from the highest exponent of the polynomial, known as its degree. Finally, explore how other terms in the function also affect the graph. x
  • 21
    Combining Polynomials
    Switch from graphs to the algebraic side of polynomial functions, learning how to combine them in many different ways, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even long division, which is easier than it seems. Discover which of these operations produce new polynomials and which do not. x
  • 22
    Solving Special Polynomial Equations
    Learn how to solve polynomial equations where the degree is greater than two by turning them into expressions you already know how to handle. Your "toolbox" includes techniques called the difference of two squares, the difference of two cubes, and the sum of two cubes. x
  • 23
    Rational Roots of Polynomial Equations
    Going beyond the approaches you've learned so far, discover how to solve polynomial equations by applying two powerful tools for finding rational roots: the rational roots theorem and the factor theorem. Both will prove very useful in succeeding lessons. x
  • 24
    The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
    Explore two additional tools for identifying the roots of polynomial equations: Descartes' rule of signs, which narrows down the number of possible positive and negative real roots; and the fundamental theorem of algebra, which gives the total of all roots for a given polynomial. x
  • 25
    Roots and Radical Expressions
    Shift gears away from polynomials to focus on expressions involving roots, including square roots, cube roots, and roots of higher degrees—all known as radical expressions. Practice multiplying, dividing, adding, and subtracting a wide variety of radical expressions. x
  • 26
    Solving Equations Involving Radicals
    Drawing on your experience with roots and radicals from the previous lesson, try your hand at solving equations with these expressions. Begin by learning how to manipulate rational, or fractional, exponents. Then practice with simple equations, while being on the lookout for extraneous, or "imposter," solutions. x
  • 27
    Graphing Power, Radical, and Root Functions
    Using graph paper, experiment with curves formed by simple radical functions. First, determine the domain of the function, which tells you the general location of the graph on the coordinate plane. Then, investigate how different terms in the function alter the graph in predictable ways. x
  • 28
    An Introduction to Rational Functions
    Shift your focus to graphs of rational functions—functions that are the ratio of two polynomials. These graphs are more complicated than those from the previous lesson, but their general characteristics can be quickly determined by calculating the domain, the x- and y-intercepts, and the vertical and horizontal asymptotes. x
  • 29
    The Algebra of Rational Functions
    Combine rational functions using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and composition. The trick is to start each problem by putting the expressions in factored form, which makes the calculations go more smoothly. Leaving the answer in factored form also allows other operations, such as graphing, to be easily performed. x
  • 30
    Partial Fractions
    Now that you know how to add rational expressions, try the opposite procedure of splitting a more complicated rational expression into its component parts. Called partial fraction decomposition, this approach is a topic in introductory calculus and is used for solving a wide range of more advanced math problems. x
  • 31
    An Introduction to Exponential Functions
    Exponential functions are important in real-world applications involving growth and decay rates, such as compound interest and depreciation. Experiment with simple exponential functions, exploring such concepts as the base, growth factor, and decay factor, and how different values for these terms affect the graph of the function. x
  • 32
    An Introduction to Logarithmic Functions
    Plot a logarithmic function on the coordinate plane to see how it is the mirror image of a corresponding exponential function. Just like a mirror image, logarithms can be disorienting at first; but by studying their properties you will discover how they make certain calculations much simpler. x
  • 33
    Uses of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
    Delve deeper into exponential and logarithmic functions with the goal of solving a typical financial investment problem using the "Pert" formula. To prepare, study the change of base formula for logarithms and the special function of the base called e. x
  • 34
    The Binomial Theorem
    Pascal's triangle is a famous triangular array of numbers that corresponds to the coefficients of binomials of different powers. In a lesson connecting a branch of mathematics called combinatorics with algebra, investigate the formula for each value in Pascal's triangle, the factorial function, and the binomial theorem. x
  • 35
    Permutations and Combinations
    Continue your study of the link between combinatorics and algebra by using the factorial function to solve problems in permutations and combinations. For example, what are all the permutations of the letters a, b, c? And how many combinations of four books are possible when you have six to choose from? x
  • 36
    Elementary Probability
    After a short introduction to probability, celebrate your completion of the course with a deck of cards. Can you use the principles of probability, permutations, and combinations to calculate the probability of being dealt different hands? As with the rest of algebra, once you know the rules, it's simplicity itself! x

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  • Download 36 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
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  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 312-page printed 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:
  • 312-page printed course 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 II is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 47.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worthwhile course Overall, a very worthwhile course. The professor has a very good presentation style. My only gripe is that at times the professor seems to spend almost too much time on some rather simple topics, but sometimes seems to get somewhat animated and rushes through more complicated stuff. The work/guidebook is good but spotty: it usually explains well the answer steps to sample problems, but a lot of actual practice problems go without explanation of steps to complete correctly, and resorted to online searches for more information. All in all, I was happy with value of course.
Date published: 2018-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Algebra II I bought this for my daughter going into Algebra II in the fall for summer studies, she has found it helpful, but at times some of the lessons are not as clear to her and "confusing."
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Calculus made clear and Statistics made clear Michael Starbird is excellent easy to understand and never boring
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good review course I got this because I am about to start Calculus II as an older adult learner, and was struggling with remembering basic algebra concepts in Calc I, such as exponents/logs and how to treat radicals. (And I frankly had never even heard of the term "partial fractions" before.) I needed a quick refresher. Took this and the pre-calculus course and I think both are going to help. Thanks.
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Algebra II is an excellent course! The professor explains everything in great detail and makes it easy to learn. I did better with this course than in college years ago. I highly recommend this course to anyone seeking to enrich their lives in Mathematics.
Date published: 2017-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for advanced mathematics students Recently I ordered Algebra II and after listening to the presentation given by the Professor James A. Sellers I was so impressed. The way he goes through each lesson was amazing. I was thinking back to my past about 50 years ago when I was studying for my pre-university course. It was pretty tough understanding the lessons especially Quadratic equations and functions, rational functions, partial fractions etc. I still remember using the book "School Algebra by H. S. Hall". Well, that was in the past. Now, I am retired and thought of refreshing my memory and to keep me busy. That is the very reason I bought Algebra II. I also bought Pre-calculus and Trigonometry, Understanding Calculus I and II. I understand now how easy to learn under Professor Sellers. I strongly recommend Algebra II to any student who are serious about studying further specially Calculus and then go on to University.
Date published: 2017-12-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Enough Material This course is supposed to be a continuation of high school algebra. Instead, it is more of a repeat of the Algebra I course already available on this site. The topics covered are the same as in Algebra I, just with a little more depth. The primary issue I had with this course were the problems that Professor Sellers used in the videos. Basically he chose the simplest possible examples and worked those. I then opened up my math book to problems that were far more complicated. Like other reviewers have said, this course should have been much longer. A good fix would be to release an Algebra III course that gives the material the coverage it deserves.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable ability to explain complain concepts Professor Sellers has a rare gift for explaining the most complicated topics and concepts in a way that makes them completely understandable for the student. His explanations are clear and methodical. Especially useful are the opportunities he provides for a student to attempt a solution on his or her own before discussion the correct solution.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Follow-Up to Excellent Algebra 1 Course This course is does exactly what their algebra 1 course did, which is a good thing. The presentation is fantastic and Prof. Sellers is an excellent teacher who wastes no time in teaching the important info. The only main difference between this course and the algebra 1 course in terms of presentation is an on-screen prompt that tells you when to pause the video, so that you can solve whatever example problem is on the screen yourself. This is a good addition, because attempting the problems yourself is what everybody should be doing when being taught math, rather than just watching someone else do it. I would also definitely recommend doing all of the problems in the included workbook, as well as taking notes while watching the lectures: the great step-by-step breakdown of each problem displayed on screen makes it very easy to take thorough notes. As a stand-alone course, I don't have many complaints. My only concern with the actual content here is with conic sections. I feel like they could have had an extra lesson on those, beyond the two included in the course. Unlike all of the other lessons in the course, they didn't really give much in-depth info with the conic sections. For example, they would normally give you an exact breakdown of the process to find an asymptote in a rational function. For conic sections, however, finding the asymptotes of hyperbolas is kind of thrown in briefly as a given, like the viewer already knows how to do it. Prof. Sellers gave a brief verbal explanation of that specific concept but didn't give a step-by-step process like he would with any other concept, so that felt kind of jarring to me. The course also doesn't cover moving the centers of conic sections at all. So I feel like they could have easily included a third lesson on conic sections, and replaced the "Uses of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions" lesson (it's not a bad lesson, but it's mostly just extra problems based on concepts already taught) with it in order to maintain the lesson number of 36. The only other complaint I would have is the lack of word problems. There's only a few in the entire course. I don't really understand why there is so little, because there was quite a few in the Algebra 1 course. It's not the biggest deal in the world, but I think word problems are important to learn in math and there should have been more in this course. As I said, those are my only problems I have with this course, as a stand-alone course. However, I would assume that many people taking this course also took the algebra 1 course, taught by the same professor. While they are both excellent and teach the material well, I find it odd that they don't reference each other at all. It feels like they weren't made to be complements of one another. I understand why, as there certainly are students who may only be taking one of the courses, but I feel like they should have referenced the other course at some point. Since the courses are basically treated completely separately, a good third of this algebra 2 course is material covered in the algebra 1 course. I actually like that and i have no problem with it, as knowing the algebra 1 material is necessary for what new things are introduced in the algebra 2 course, but I just find it odd that they make no attempt to complement each other. So be aware of that if you are going to get this course after taking the algebra 1 course. I know this review seems critical, but it's easier to write about negatives than positives. Those are the only negatives in this course, though! Everything else is truly excellent, and I can't recommend it enough. The explanations are consistently thorough and there are plenty of good example problems done in each lesson. It would be hard to get lost using this course, especially if you are using it as a supplement to an algebra 2 course you are already taking.
Date published: 2016-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Algebra ll Great review course during the summer break from college.
Date published: 2016-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Returning to college after 20 years. Returning to college after 20 years. Purchase this course and Algebra I and Algebra II course as refresher and to get back in swing of attending college-level courses and assignments. I found the professor engaging and information being relevant which I don't remember was the same when I was in college 20 years ago. I thought examples and course workbooks challenging. Originally I took college placement course with a local community college and was placed in intermedia Algebra course. After spending summer going through this course as well as this professors other two courses (Algebra I and Algebra II) and doing all the math problems in the supplemental course workbooks, I took college placement exam at another community college and placed to enter Calculus 1. FYI: I do know there was some material on the math placement exam that I didn't remember; however, I will believe this professor's 3 math courses gave me a strong foundation to be able to narrow down choices to have a 50% chance of guessing right answers. I owe this professor's courses to be able avoid wasting time and get back into learning again. Thank you.
Date published: 2016-05-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Using math, not doing math First some good things: He speaks clearly. He doesn't ramble. The graphs and other visuals are competently done. But he tends to present procedures as recipes to be followed, not as the natural manifestation of an understanding of concepts. For example, although he presents factoring and completing the square before moving on to the quadratic formula, he doesn't use either of the techniques to derive the formula. (It's easy to derive by completing the square; I had my son do it with minimal assistance. It's somewhat more difficult to derive the quadratic formula by factoring -- I had to walk my son through that derivation with a lot of help -- but the ideas involved are interesting, and the habit of approaching the same material in multiple ways is an important theme in math.) From time to time, he even says things that aren't true. For example, he says that the idea of moving a negative distance in a particular direction doesn't make sense. The distance itself can't be negative, but a negative distance-in-a-direction is simply that distance in the opposite direction. There's always something true like that, that he's trying to say, but he gets it wrong way too often. Going through the motions of doing math, trying to math by rote, can be incredibly difficult -- even when the math involved is pretty easy to actually do as math, by understanding it. This is at the heart of many students' troubles with math, and these lectures make it worse, not better.
Date published: 2016-05-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I liked very much the partial fractions lecture To me it was very difficult to understand some of the methods of integration. In particular, integration by partial fractions decomposition, which is basically and algebraic method. I was surprised how Professor Sellers explained this method in a very friendly manner. This course is good, although I tend to agree with other reviewers that several lectures are a repetition of lectures of Algebra I. I think it is a pity that Professor Sellers lost the opportunity to include other topics of Algebra (instead of repeating Algebra I), such as an introduction of the Algebra of complex numbers. However, I regard Professor Sellers as an excellent teacher; and this course as very valuable.
Date published: 2016-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear and helpful I have been using this course as a refresher after 30 years away from maths. The course starts fairly slowly but builds up to a steady pace after the first few lectures. I like Professor Seller's style of teaching very much - he understands and acknowledges issues which might trip up students, and his explanations are extremely clear and articulate. I can understand why some reviewers might have wanted more coverage in the course, and would also welcome an "Algebra III". However, for my part I am glad that this course didn't bite off too much and rush it. It covered the main issues well, and motivated me to look up certain topics in more depth. I feel I now have a good basis to tackle Professor Edwards' Precalculus and Trigonometry Course.
Date published: 2016-01-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I don't like James Sellers, at all. I don't like this professor... To the point where I couldn't finish the course. He does a number of things that are very irritating to me. I wish TGC got another professor to teach this course. 1) He laughs, all the time, for no reason. He'll be in the middle of explaining a problem or answer, and he'll just laugh... For no reason... No joke has been made, at all... He laughs for reasons that make absolutely no sense, and he does it all the time. I think he does this to be more "personable", and to be more likable... But it has the opposite effect. It doesn't make sense for him to laugh for completely arbitrary reasons, all the time, in the middle of explaining problems. It's distracting, makes no sense, and is very, very annoying. There is no other TTC professor I've seen who does this. It actually makes me angry. 2) His voice constantly gets high pitched and cracks... All the time. Imagine the sound you get if you put water on your hands & rub a balloon... His voice does that, all the time. The worst thing is, it really sounds as if he's doing it on purpose... For the same reason he laughs all the time for no reason... As if he thinks it'll make the viewer enjoy his lectures more... But in truth, it's literally painful on my ears to hear him speak. It wouldn't be as bad if it was by accident... But to think he's doing it on purpose (which is what it sounds like) is annoying beyond belief, and like I said... Literally painful to listen to. 3) He wastes way too much time... Throughout the entire course, the amount of time he wastes is just far too much. He'll go over things that don't need review, and he'll spend far too much time explaining very simple concepts and ideas, rather than pushing to depths which should be in an Algebra 2 course. At times, he acts like he's teaching Pre-Algebra. 4) I'm not picky when it comes to professors. I've watched a number of the Great Courses (over 2 dozen) and I almost never complain about the professors. In this case, this professor is truly irritating... And because James Sellers is teaching this course, I can't recommend this course.
Date published: 2015-11-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from NOT ADVANCED ENOUGH. THERE SHOULD BE AN ALGEBRA 3 Right now I'm taking Intermediate Algebra in college... And to my surprise, even though it's only an Intermediate Algebra course, the material seems to be significantly harder and more challenging than what's covered in this 'Algebra 2' course. And that troubles me... Because Intermediate algebra isn't even College algebra... So if the material covered in this Algebra 2 course isn't advanced enough to cover Intermediate Algebra, how is it going to really help me through College Algebra? It's not that this Algebra 2 course is "easy", it's not.. At times it too can be challenging... But it doesn't compare to what I actually find on my homework from school... My homework has way more types of problems, and the problems are more difficult. After Algebra 2, there's a TTC course on Trigonometry and Precalculus - that's the next step up in terms of math that The Great Courses have to offer... And I find this disappointing. I think there should be an Algebra 3 course that covers more advanced algebra than what's found within this course. Also.. Something else that bothers me, is that both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 are 36 lecture courses... And this just isn't enough time... I'm not sure why TTC has a course on Introduction to Astronomy that's 96 lectures long, yet both their Algebra courses add up to less lectures than that. If Algebra is such a fundamental and important topic (and it is!) Then why are both courses only 36 lectures long instead of 48 lectures long? Throughout this course and the previous Algebra course, the professor James Sellers often says that examples he's showing have to be done "very quickly", he says that all the time... As if he's running out of time... Well why is he running out of time? Why is he feeling so rushed to cram the material in? How come such an important topic has been given so little time from The Great Courses? Couldn't of we benefited from longer courses on Algebra? Or more courses? More examples done? More types of problems presented and solved? I'm surprised The Great Courses push the importance of Algebra, yet seem to give little importance to Algebra when it comes right down to it. Disappointing.
Date published: 2015-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course I am a Math teacher, and I really have enjoyed the professor presentation about the most influential algebra topics. His approach gives the sensation of mathematics as an easy subject. Hope everyone that really want to have a conceptual understanding of mathematics can purchase and enjoy its lectures.
Date published: 2015-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course! Outstanding Professor! With Algebra I to set the foundation, this is an excellent course! It builds on that first course, adds complexity to the problems, and then teaches brand new concepts in Dr. Sellers outstanding way. He is never boring to listen to, makes learning fun and enjoyable while teaching these sometimes complex ideas. He is so good at explaining concepts, that I can go right to the workbook and complete the problems successfully, even though I have usually struggled with math in the past. An Excellent Course, an Outstanding Professor!
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from II ? What's " II" about it? I don't necessarily have a problem with the content or presentation, what I have a problem with is misrepresentation. After watching Algebra I , I bought" II" thinking it was going to keep going where " I" left off. But to my dismay, the content is the same. He even explains it as if you have never seen that material before. I don't understand why they made this course and why no one that has reviewed this course has mentioned this. Might as well view Algebra I all over again if you need a review and save the money.
Date published: 2014-11-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from TTC should be embarrassed. I was going to give this course as a gift to a friend's daughter that could use some help with Algebra but, I will be looking at a different product as I do not find this one adequate. Specifically, this course does not encourage the viewer to think mathematically and logically. It promotes memorization and the mechanical application of rules without much thought. It fails to teach the viewer that a complex problem is solved by breaking a problem into simpler parts. I understand the statement above is harsh and for that reason it should be supported with facts. I cannot pick apart the entire course in a review. Additionally, after lecture 12, I had seen enough. Here are a couple of example that led me to my unfavorable conclusion: In the second lecture which covers Solving Linear Equations, Mr. Sellers solves the equation 5x + 4 = -11 by first getting rid of the 4 (a good choice) but, he justifies that choice by stating that the reason to get rid of the 4 first is, in Mr. Sellers own words, "believe it or not, the answer to that question is wrapped up in order of operations". That assertion is dismal, order of operations has absolutely nothing to do with choosing to deal with the sum first. Dealing with the sum first is done because it is the easiest way to simplify the equation, the multiplier 5, can then be dealt with in the simpler resulting equation. As anyone with a minimum knowledge of mathematics and, algebra in particular knows, the order in which the operations are performed will not alter the result (at least not when dealing with the basic operators.) The equation could be solved by dealing with the multiplier first and the sum afterwards. Doing it that way is just more work, therefore choosing to deal with the sum first is strictly based on solving the problem the easiest and simplest way. That is what Mr. Sellers should have made clear to the viewer, seek to simplify. That is just one example, there are quite a few instances where the justification given by Mr. Sellers for the steps chosen is very questionable and arguably incorrect as in the case above. Mr. Sellers harps on the viewer that the answers obtained should be verified. Mr. Sellers should take his own advice. In lecture 12, Quadratic Equations - Factoring, Mr. Sellers obtains an obviously incorrect result to a trivial problem and, completely fails to see that the answer is wrong. He should have verified his answer. Specifically, at the end of lecture 12, Mr. Sellers poses the problem of a rectangular garden that is 10 units long by 8 units wide giving an area of 80 units and, asks the viewer to calculate the increment "X" necessary on all sides (4 of them of course) to increase the area to 88. The resolution presented of this trivial problem cannot be characterized as anything but appalling. The reasoning is incorrect, the equations are incorrect and the result is, of course, incorrect. His solution states that, the length and the width on all sides must be increased by 2. This is obviously wrong. If 10 x 8 = 80, then 14 * 12 is obviously WAY more than 88 (11 * 8 would yield 88). Since 11 * 8 yields the desired 88 with an increase of just 1 unit on one side, a quick and dirty approximation to the result is given by X = 1/4 (since the increment occurs on the four sides of the rectangle). Given the quadratic nature of the problem, X is then known to be less than 1/4. The value of 2 yields 14 * 12, just 14 * 10 would make it obvious that an increment of 2 on each side is incorrect. The correct answer is X = 0.217 (approx). The correct equation (not the one he presented) to solve the problem is (10 + 2x) * (8 + 2x) = 88 I cannot give any examples past lecture 12 as, at that point, I stopped watching. I will be looking for an Algebra product that promotes and develops a feel for Algebra in the viewer. TTC should rework this course. Also, the moving shades in the background are distracting. The blue background is nice but movement only serves to disrupt the attention of the viewer. Consider a static background.
Date published: 2014-07-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A poor follow up to Algebra I My daughter was frustrated with the lack of explanation in about 50% of the lectures. The professor gives easy examples in lecture but expects students to work through difficult examples. He does not explain the base ideas enough. The book was good but explanation beyond what was given in lecture would have been helpful.
Date published: 2013-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb teacher. Excellent value. Prof. Sellers does a masterful job of presenting essentials of Algebra II for middle to high school students. For others who have forgotten the algebra that they took many moons ago this course is excellent. It was obvious to me from the very first lesson that this guy LOVES to teach. His narration style, content, and exercises are to the point and respectful of the student's time and abilities. I have had teachers like Prof. Sellers who are so good at their calling that one does his/her utmost not to let the man down. I so wish I had Prof. Sellers as my math teacher in high school (1960). If you are a middle or high school student you need this set. If you are someone just wanting to get back to algebra or wanting to get primed for Calculus this will be of great help. All in all an EXCELLENT teacher and a SUPERB course.
Date published: 2013-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Prof. Sellers does an excellent job reviewing the most important aspects of algebra 2. This is one of the best teaching aids that I have seen in all of my years learning and teaching mathematics. Prof. Sellers does a nice job selecting the most important topics of algebra 2. His lecture style is clear and methodical. He provides a nice course workbook with about ten questions per chapter. The workbook also includes study tips and common errors. I particularly like that Prof. Sellers clearly has a lot of experience teaching this level of math. His "common errors" address areas with which students have difficulties. I also like that TTC built in "pauses" on the dvd which allow the viewers to pause the video and attempt to answer the problems that Prof. Sellers is presenting. An excellent course. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn or review algebra 2.
Date published: 2012-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I wish every math teacher was this good The course goes a little slow for me, but too slow is much better than too fast. He carefully and methodically explains every step of every problem, in clear, easy to understand language. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2012-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why!?!?! Why oh why couldn't I have had access to this course in high school? At the time of this writing, I'm 32. I picked up this course after finishing the Algebra I course, also by Dr. Sellers. Here was my math experience in high school: 9th grade - Took Algebra I and aced it. 10th grade - Took Geometry and struggled a little bit, but I did o.k. 11th grade - Took Algebra II and tanked horribly. I just could not get Algebra II to sink in. 12th grade - Took a class called "Math Analysis" that was a little bit of everything: Trig, statistics, probability, pre-calc. I struggled the first semester, but ended up acing the second semester. My success in Math Analysis lulled me into a false sense of security. I tried calculus when I got into college and it ate my lunch, and I've always wondered, why? To me, the logical answer was that there were some fundamental concepts from algebra that I never mastered. I've been a TTC customer for years, but I've mainly been purchasing History and Theology courses. When I saw the Algebra I course come out, I bought it thinking maybe I could watch all the videos and see if there were some concepts that I just straight up missed in high school. (There were.) I bought this course and was prepared to spend 18 hours with my brain hurting from all the complicated math that I never could understand in high school. The headaches never came. The information is presented in such a clear format that I'm simply shocked that this is so easy now. I plan on buying the Algebra II workbook that's recommended in the Course Starter Materials and actually working my way through the problems to see if I've been given a false sense of hope, or if, in fact, math is now easy. I highly recommend this course to anyone trying to brush up their math skills and I triple recommend this course if you have a high school student that needs some extra TLC in math. Enjoy!
Date published: 2012-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Most Important Math Course You Will Ever Take 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.' 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 in this critically-important subject.
Date published: 2011-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Algebra II Dr. Sellers is excellent in his presentation. He was also really helping me to "break the ice" on a lot on math concepts. He did an excellent job in explaining the math concepts. I did not excel in math in school but if Dr. Sellers had been my instructor the story may have been different about my level of success in this difficult subject. He did mention in the DVD that this course was not a complete course in Algebra II. I hope that he reconsiders and will do a "complete" course in both his Algebra I and Algebra II DVDs. I feel like someday I may really master this subject with the help of these excellent instructors.
Date published: 2011-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I needed this in high school I wish I'd had this course when I was in high school. I am not dumb - I'm a lawyer, made 97 percentile score on the LSAT, graduated from a top 10 law school, but I have always thought I was mentally deficient for doing math. I am almost 60, and determined to learn it. This course makes it understandable and a joy and I am "getting it."
Date published: 2011-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Allgebra II After more than forty years since high school algebra, I was fearful of having to take Algebra II for my BSN degree, but this course is the best thing that could have happened for me! Professor Sellers is an excellant teacher and really holds my attention and not only takes the fear out of learning Algebra, but makes it interesting.
Date published: 2011-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful - more please! This is a wonderful course, with a clear logic approach and great interactive features. The teacher is pleasant too. It's probably a bit basic for most of the Teaching Compan'ys customers, but if rumors of a precalculus course are true, that's great news. Please don't leave it at this. Next stop: Calculus!
Date published: 2011-06-12
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