Depending on your major, Precalculus is either a required terminal math course or a preparation for calculus. In either case, it is an extensive study of the functions that you might see in a calculus course or maybe even in real life.
The goal of this course is that you will be prepared for calculus. This requires that you have a thorough understanding of functions of many different varieties. It also requires that you have a thorough understanding of trigonometry, a topic which we will spend more than half of the term on.
What is required of the student? You will be required to read, think carefully, solve problems, present solutions of problems to the rest of the class, and provide written solutions to problems that you or others have solved together with careful explanation of your solutions. This class will be taught using a modified Moore Method approach. Instead of being shown how to do something and then doing it, you will instead be ask to independently and in cooperation with other students come up with solutions to carefully crafted problems that will be made available throughout the semester. Unless you are specifically told otherwise you are not to use any outside sources to solve any of the problems. This includes any books, internet sources, and any other people. You are of course welcome to ask me questions and to get help on background material such as might be contained in a college algebra course.
Your grades will be determined as follows:
You will have a midterm exam on October 3 during our regular class period and in our regular classroom that will count 20% of your grade. You will have a final exam from 7:00 am - 9:00 am on Tuesday, December 10 that will count 30% of your grade. The final is comprehensive and departmental. The remaining 50% of your grade will come from work that you present at the board in class or turn in to me in written form.
It will be your goal to be able to work every problem in the problem sequence. For grading purposes you will need to either present or write up one problem every week. These problems will be graded on a 3 point scale. Exceptionally difficult problems or exceptionally good presentations may earn more than 3 points. Exceptionally insightful comments during class discussions may also qualify you for points. A total of 50 points will give you a perfect score for this portion of your grade. The number of points you earn will simply be added to your midterm grade times 0.2 and your final exam grade times 0.3 to give you a numerical grade on a 100 point scale which can then be translated to a letter grade using:
The 3 point scale for problems presented at the board or written solutions follows:
3 - You have a correct and carefully explained solution.
2 - You have some minor errors or incomplete or inadequate explanations.
1 - You have major errors or explanations are completely absent.
0 - You did not turn in anything or there is not enough progress toward a solution to warrant any credit.
I reserve the right to change the grading scheme if I believe that it will promote a better learning environment. I will let you know, and solicit your input, if I feel a change might be warranted. I will never make such a change, however, if the only purpose is to improve individual or class grades.
Attendance is expected at all class meetings. I will withdraw you from my class if you miss more than 3 class periods. You are responsible for any work that you missed during an absence. Please come see me as soon as possible if you have missed a class or if you need to miss a future class.
The deadline for withdrawal with a grade of W is October 14 . Any withdrawal after that date will result in a WF. If you feel that you must withdraw please try to do so on or before October 14.
You will not be permitted to make up any written assignments or problems presented at the board. Make-ups for the midterm exam will be given only in exceptional cases (such as illness or family emergencies). You must notify me immediately when such an emergency arises and you must provide written evidence of your emergency. If an emergency requires you to miss the final exam you will receive a grade of I (incomplete) for the semester. A make-up will be scheduled for the following semester. After completing the make-up, your grade will be changed to reflect your score on the make-up final.
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