Algebra II

Rated 5 out of 5 by from great improved a lot both in my life and in my career. thank u
Date published: 2020-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Subject Order and effective explanations Dr. Sellers did another great job of selecting examples and solutions that made the area of study simpler to understand.
Date published: 2020-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Refresher This is the third course I’ve taken from Dr. Sellers in my effort to survey the math courses offered by TTC, the others being “Fundamentals of Math” and “Algebra I” (natch). It is certainly the most interesting, at least for those of us whose high school was many decades ago. It also more clearly reveals the approach taken by Professor Sellers (and perhaps also by TTC) in teaching high school math. That is, it is practical, not theoretical. I do not necessarily mean this in a bad way, just as a statement of (what I see as) an approach. For example (and as another reviewer observed) he shows how to solve quadratic equations, first by factoring, then by completing the square, and finally by the use of the quadric formula. But what is missing is the demonstration of why the quadratic formula works. That is, there is no proof. Now this is no doubt just fine for those who don’t need or even want a rigorous approach to mathematics, but I suspect that this practical approach and lack of rigor is the underlying source of many of the negative reviews. While I don’t really like the idea of teaching students to take things on faith, I do believe that this approach does have merit, especially when the course is limited to just 18 hours. Strangely the lectures on exponential and logarithmic functions are slightly more theoretical than many of the others, but that may be simply because the use of logs and antilogs to solve basic math problems has been consigned to the dustbin of per-calculator history. I did like the introduction of natural (base e) logs in the course, though the reason why base e exists at all was ignored. But enough nitpicking: Dr, Sellers has a methodical teaching approach, taking his time and repeating things over and over. This may be tiresome for those of us who already know the material, but I am very sure less so for those who are being exposed to theses concepts for the first time. He makes everything very easy to understand. Overall the course is well structured, covering most topics that Algebra II students would study in the high school classroom. Don’t be put off by the negative reviews concerned with a lack of depth. For those who are jumping in for the first time or those who just wish a refresher or reminder of long ago, this course hits the mark. I did not work all the accompanying problems, but enough to comment that for a serious student, there are far too few, especially work problems. Of course there are plenty of inexpensive algebra workbooks on the market.
Date published: 2020-07-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from much too simple slow methodical explanations watered down examples
Date published: 2020-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great format, really engaging lecturers. The lectures are well presented, well paced and helped by downloading the PDF guide notes.
Date published: 2020-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bought it to supplement my grandson's classwork. It has helped clarify some specific topics.
Date published: 2019-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from this will help teachers who need refreshers This is good for H.S. and college students and older folks who just need a refresher. Algebra will help you follow the stockmarket also so you do not get fooled. It can be used to build a cement patio, the limits of the course do not exist. When we were kids we asked why do we have to study algebra, as we get older we know why and need to relearn all of the subject.
Date published: 2019-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of many excellent courses I have used Great Courses for many years to supplement my education. My current wish is that several gift cards could be tied together to purchase courses. This is not allowed at present.
Date published: 2019-05-15
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Algebra II
Course Trailer
An Introduction to Algebra II
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.

32 min
Solving Linear Equations
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.

31 min
Solving Equations Involving Absolute Values
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.

31 min
Linear Equations and Functions
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.

29 min
Graphing Essentials
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.

29 min
Functions-Introduction, Examples, Terminology
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.

31 min
Systems of 2 Linear Equations, Part 1
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.

29 min
Systems of 2 Linear Equations, Part 2
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.

30 min
Systems of 3 Linear Equations
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.

31 min
Solving Systems of Linear Inequalities
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.

29 min
An Introduction to Quadratic Functions
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.

32 min
Quadratic Equations-Factoring
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.

32 min
Quadratic Equations-Square Roots
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.

31 min
Completing the Square
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.

30 min
Using the Quadratic Formula
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....

30 min
Solving Quadratic Inequalities
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.

30 min
Conic Sections-Parabolas and Hyperbolas
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.

32 min
Conic Sections-Circles and Ellipses
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.

32 min
An Introduction to Polynomials
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.

32 min
Graphing Polynomial Functions
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.

31 min
Combining Polynomials
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.

34 min
Solving Special Polynomial Equations
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.

32 min
Rational Roots of Polynomial Equations
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.

32 min
The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
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.

32 min
Roots and Radical Expressions
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.

32 min
Solving Equations Involving Radicals
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.

31 min
Graphing Power, Radical, and Root Functions
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.

32 min
An Introduction to Rational Functions
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....

31 min
The Algebra of Rational Functions
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.

31 min
Partial Fractions
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.

30 min
An Introduction to Exponential Functions
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.

30 min
An Introduction to Logarithmic Functions
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.

32 min
Uses of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
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....

30 min
The Binomial Theorem
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.

31 min
Permutations and Combinations
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?...

32 min
Elementary Probability
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!

34 min
James A. Sellers

If you are shaky on basic math facts, algebra will be harder for you than it needs to be. Spend every day reviewing flashcards of math facts, and you will be surprised at how much better at math you are!


The Pennsylvania State University


The Pennsylvania State University

About James A. Sellers

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 of America Allegheny Mountain Section Mentoring Award. More than 60 of Professor Sellers's research articles on partitions and related topics have been published in a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals. In 2008, he was a visiting scholar at the Isaac Newton Institute at the University of Cambridge. Professor Sellers has enjoyed many interactions at the high school and middle school levels. He has served as an instructor of middle-school students in the TexPREP program in San Antonio, Texas. He has also worked with Saxon Publishers on revisions to a number of its high-school textbooks. As a home educator and father of five, he has spoken to various home education organizations about mathematics curricula and teaching issues.

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