Course Syllabus

Welcome to RWM102: Algebra

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Learn how to use algebra for a variety of everyday tasks like calculating the change you will get back after a purchase, explore how to analyze relationships by graphing, and see how to use math to describe real-world situations in business, accounting, and science.


Course Introduction

Algebra lets us solve many different types of calculations by using basic formulas and steps that work regardless of the specific numbers in the problem. For example, we can use an algebraic formula to calculate a monthly payment or to pay off a loan of any size using a given interest rate.

In this course, we explore how to use standard mathematical and business formulas, and how to translate verbal descriptions into mathematical equations to establish relationships and create predictions. In the later units, we explore how to use graphs to make these same predictions. You can apply the problem-solving strategies we discuss in this course to business, science, and many other fields.

To succeed in this introductory course you should know how to perform operations with real numbers, including negative numbers, fractions, and decimals. Be sure to review RWM101: Foundations of Real World Math if you need a refresher!

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Variables and Variable Expressions
  • Unit 2: Linear Equations
  • Unit 3: Word Problems
  • Unit 4: Inequalities
  • Unit 5: Graphs of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Unit 6: Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities
  • Unit 7: Operations with Monomials
  • Unit 8: Operations with Polynomials
  • Unit 9: Factoring Polynomials


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • evaluate and simplify algebraic expressions;
  • solve linear equations and inequalities in one variable;
  • solve systems of linear equations and inequalities;
  • solve literal equations for a given variable;
  • translate verbal phrases to algebraic (variable) expressions;
  • define percent, and solve basic percent problems;
  • apply simple interest formula to problems involving loans and saving accounts;
  • apply uniform motion formula to problems involving the motion of one or two objects;
  • solve word problems by identifying a variable and creating an equation or an inequality;
  • solve word problems by identifying two or more variables and creating a system of equations or inequalities;
  • plot points on the coordinate plane, and determine the coordinates of any point on the coordinate plane;
  • graph linear equations and inequalities in two variables on the coordinate plane;
  • calculate a slope of a line passing through two given points;
  • write an equation of a straight line in point-slope or slope-intercept form;
  • solve word problems by creating a graph of a straight line and interpreting the meaning of the slope and intercepts of the line in the context of a problem;
  • perform operations with algebraic exponential expressions using the rules of exponents;
  • perform operations with polynomials;
  • identify polynomials that can be factored and determine appropriate factoring strategy; and
  • identify the proper method to factor a given polynomial and use it to solve a quadratic equation.

Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.


Tips for Success

RWM102: Algebra is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 38 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, September 28, 2020, 6:51 PM