Syllabus for MAT-129



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. Students 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.


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.


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

  • College Algebra and Trigonometry, 6th ed., by Margaret L. Lial, John Hornsby, David I. Schneider, and Callie J. Daniels  (Boston: Pearson, 2017).
    ISBN-13: 978-0134112527

Solutions Manual

  • Student's Solutions Manual (for College Algebra and Trigonometry, 6th ed.), by Beverly Fusfield (Boston: Pearson, 2017).
    ISBN-13: 978-0134314341


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


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 proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final.  See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in this document.

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 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 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.


You are required to take two proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook 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.

Exam Study Tools

A timed, ungraded practice exams for the midterm and final exam are available. Since these practice exams contain questions that are similar to those that you will see on the graded exams, they should serve as an effective way to prepare for the exams. In the Examinations section of the course Web site, click on the Practice Midterm Exam link or the Practice Final Exam link to begin.

Midterm Examination

Note: For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

The midterm exam covers all material assigned in Modules 1–3 of the course and is three hours long. It consists of twenty-five multiple-choice problems.  The use of the textbook and blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations..

Note: You are permitted to use a your textbook, scratch paper, and a calculator (scientific, graphing, or financial) but may not use a calculator on a phone, PDA, or any similar device.

Final Examination

Note: For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

The final exam covers all material assigned in Modules 4–6 of the course and is three hours long. It consists of twenty-five multiple-choice problems. The use of the textbook and blank scratch paper for doing math calculations is permitted during online test administrations.

Note: You are permitted to use your textbook, scratch paper, and a calculator (scientific, graphing, or financial) but may not use a calculator on a phone, PDA, or any similar device.

Statement about Cheating

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

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.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

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:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

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

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University 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.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University 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 University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

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, or without identifying it as a direct quote, 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.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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