MAT-125 at Southern New Hampshire University | Daniel M. Clark

MAT-125: Quantitative Reasoning & Problem Solving at SNHU

In Musings of a Middle-Aged Studentby Daniel M. ClarkAdvertising present (What's this?)

MAT-125 is the first of two courses in my fourth term at SNHU. It was maddening. I screamed. I cursed. I considered ritual seppuku. It wasn't hard, just infuriating.

To date, I've covered a full term in each of these recaps. That format breaks when the post clears 1,500 words before it's even done (and the last recap post wasn't exactly short). Rather than bi-weekly posts for a pair of classes, I'll switch it up to a weekly post about a single class. This week: Math 125: Quantitative Reasoning, Problem Solving, and Basic Shapes.

About MAT-125

Before I get into the recap of this course, I want you to look at something. It neatly encapsulates the entire course. Just… look.

Circle is not an option, so… pentagon?

That's right, I paid a thousand dollars for a math class to teach me what a square is.

To date, MAT-125 is the most bizarre course I think I've taken—and not just at SNHU. I mean, in my life. It's a course with an identity crisis. It has no idea what and for whom it wants to be. Do you want to learn basic shapes like a kindergartener? Do you want to try out college algebra? Do you want to learn how to calculate mortgages, compound interest, and employment opportunity analyses? With MAT-125, you don't have to choose!

I could not remember my instructor's name just now and had to look it up. Ashley Shimabuku Seale. I do recall we called her “Ms. S.,” but apart from that, she didn't make an impression on me. I guess I have no complaints or compliments.

The Learning Environment

Students complete all math work in MyMathLab, provided by Pearson. It's a surprisingly good system. Solutions and notations were easy to enter, and I had no problem finding my way around. I was concerned going in about doing equations and things like fractions that aren't keyboard-friendly. I shouldn't have worried. For one thing, there are no advanced equations; there isn't anything more complicated than exponents and square roots. For another, MyMathLab makes entering any kind of mathematical text super easy.

Brightspace handles journal and discussion assignments, of which there are only five in total.

Homework and Reading

MyMathLab came with an ebook that I never looked at. Seriously, not once. My method for the homework was to open MyMathLab and answer the questions using the knowledge I already had. That's not a brag or a flex, that's just honesty. There wasn't anything new to learn in this class, and if I needed clarification about an error I could always use the embedded tools in MyMathLab to get to the correct answer.

The Final Project

This thing is a hot mess. The final project is a mashup of the course's milestones with virtually no additional content. Students are expected to patch up any flaws revealed in the milestones and then submit the final version.

Being a templated assignment, Turnitin scores will be high. Don't worry about it. On the off-chance a professor has a problem with Turnitin scores, there are processes in place to dispute that.

Also? The final project is submitted in Word. Yeah. Microsoft Word. You know, the natural choice for math work.

Advice for Students Registering for MAT-125 at SNHU

Oh god, where to start?

  • Knock out the homework on Monday night. Just get it out of the way, it's simple and you don't need it hanging over your head.
  • Don't sweat MyMathLab. Seriously. If you do feel like you're not gelling with it right away, ask your instructor for help. The bulk of your points for this class happen in that environment.
  • Review the kindergarten projects your mom saved. You need to know what squares, triangles, and circles are.
  • You may think that your final project looks like garbage. Don't worry, it does. Mine did. And also don't worry because your grade doesn't depend on the aesthetics of the thing.
  • You have multiple attempts at just about everything. I willingly gave up points because I couldn't force myself to redo assessments. If you're comfortable with that, go for it. Otherwise, take as many tries as you need.
  • LEARN EXCEL. Right now, if you haven't yet. The best thing you can do for yourself in the sections that aren't elementary school geometry is to create an Excel spreadsheet and plug in the formulas for things you're taught—average, median, mode, compound interest, mortgages, loans… all of it. Use that spreadsheet to answer questions in assessments. Just plug the question's numbers into your spreadsheet's formulas and it will calculate the answer for you. No heavy lifting required.
  • In week eight you'll learn about the Monty Hall problem. The video the course links to is garbage. Watch the Numberphile explanation instead.

In the End

I can't say I hated the course. To say I had any kind of strong feeling about it would be a gross exaggeration. It's a thing that happened. I keep a running journal of noteworthy things about each class. In my entry about MAT-125 I wrote, “Perfect score streak broken in week two. Willingly gave up half a point on the assessment because even though I could retake it and get the perfect score, my god I just don't want to go through that damn thing again.”

That's MAT-125 in a nutshell. Something I just wanted to get over with and if that meant not retaking tedious assessments, so be it.

Final Grade: A (97.4%)


Next week: LIT-200: Critical Approaches to Literature