Syllabus for MAT-129

PRECALCULUS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Precalculus is a broad-based course that follows on courses in college algebra. It prepares you for courses in calculus and higher mathematics and for courses in technology where knowledge of precalculus is a prerequisite. The course is especially appropriate for students taking courses in aviation, electronics, nuclear studies, computer science, and so on. The underlying teaching philosophy is that students who study mathematics should develop skills of active enquiry and independent thought. To this end, active participation is fostered by means of a variety of activities.

Providing a solid foundation for the study of calculus and advanced mathematics, the course emphasizes skills development and critical thinking. You are encouraged to explore and solve realistic and relevant applications in the areas of science and technology. Topics include exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, trigonometric identities and equations, applications of trigonometry, systems of equations and inequalities, sequences and series, and analytic geometry.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should:  

  1. have acquired basic knowledge of certain mathematical topics and be able to apply the knowledge to the solution of related problems.
  2. be able to integrate knowledge acquired to solve a variety of problems, some abstract and some related to everyday life.
  3. be able to think logically.
  4. have developed confidence in your own mathematical ability through practice.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.


Required Textbook

  1. College Algebra and Trigonometry, 5th ed., by Margaret L. Lial, John Hornsby, David I. Schneider, and Callie J. Daniels  (Boston: Pearson, 2013).

    ISBN-13: 978-0-321-67178-3

Solutions Manual

  1. Student's Solutions Manual (for College Algebra and Trigonometry, 5th ed.), by Beverly Fusfield (Boston: Pearson, 2013).

    ISBN-13: 978-0-321-79136-8

COURSE STRUCTURE

Precalculus is a 3-credit online course consisting of six (6) modules and a preliminary self-assessment module. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Preliminary Module: Self-Assessment

  1. Module 1: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

  1. Module 2: Trigonometric and Circular Functions

  1. Module 3: Trigonometric Identities and Equations

  1. Module 4: Applications of Trigonometry

  1. Module 5: Systems of Matrices

  1. Module 6: Further Topics in Algebra; Analytic Geometry

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete  study group activities, complete written activities, and take two (2) proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final.  See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Online Participation

Online participation in Precalculus counts 10 percent toward your final grade in the course. In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in module 1, you are required to participate in five (5) graded online Group Activities.

The Group Activities in this course provide an opportunity for you to practice and apply analytical and computational skills within an interactive group setting. In so doing, you can benefit from the help of your classmates and share your understanding of chapter concepts. These activities take place in two phases: group problem solving (or group work) and posting worked-out solutions to selected exercises.

Phase 1: Group Work

Phase 1 (Group Work) involves group problem solving and discussion and counts 60 percent toward your activity grade. Participation in group work entails posting draft solutions to textbook exercises and discussing them with other group members in the activity’s Solutions Forum.

Phase 2: Posting Solutions

Phase 2 (Posting Your Solutions) involves posting worked-out solutions to the group exercises and counts 40 percent toward your activity grade. Participation in phase 2 entails posting your worked-out solutions to the exercises selected in phase 1 and discussing them in the activity’s Solutions Forum.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six (6) written assignments, which draw on even-numbered exercises from the textbook. For each assignment, answer all exercises, and show all work.

Assignments must be prepared electronically with a word processor, preferably using whatever equation editor comes with your word processing software. However, if your word processor is not compatible with your mentor's word processor, you will need to save your document as a rich-text file (.rtf) before submitting it. Check with your mentor first to determine file compatibility. (Important: Use the equation editor to insert equations into your word-processed document, not to create the document itself.)

When preparing your answers, please identify each exercise clearly by textbook section and exercise number. Be sure to include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled. To receive full credit for your answers, you must show all work and include complete solutions.

For help regarding preparing and submitting activities, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Examinations

You are required to take two (2) proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

 

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Midterm Examination

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in Modules 1–3 of the course and is three hours long. It consists of twenty-five (25) multiple-choice questions worth four points each.

The exam is open book, but not open notes. In this regard you are permitted to use only a scientific (nongraphing) calculator and the authorized textbook. But you are not allowed to consult a solutions manual, notes of any kind (including graded or ungraded activities), or any other reference sources or sources of information. The use of blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations.

Final Examination

The final exam covers all material assigned in Modules 4–6 of the course and is three hours long. It consists of twenty-five (25) multiple-choice questions worth four points each.

The exam is open book, but not open notes. In this regard you are permitted to use only a scientific (nongraphing) calculator and the authorized textbook. But you are not allowed to consult a solutions manual, notes of any kind (including graded or ungraded activities), or any other reference sources or sources of information. The use of blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
  5. Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Group activities (5)—10 percent
  2. Written assignments (6)—40 percent
  3. Midterm exam (proctored, modules 1–3)—25 percent
  4. Final exam (proctored, modules 4–6)—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of D or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, activities, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examinations by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook. Then complete the "Proctor Request Form" and submit it to the Office of Test Administration (OTA). You must make arrangements to take your examination and send in your "Proctor Request Form" to OTA before the end of the first week of the current semester.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. The activities you submit to your mentor draw on even-numbered exercises from the textbook, but mastering related odd-numbered problems, in conjunction with the Student's Solutions Manual, may be the key to success in the course. Consult the Student's Solutions Manual only after you have made a genuine effort to solve the odd-numbered exercises.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

Thomas Edison State College. All Rights Reserved.