Course Materials: Functioning in the Real World: A Precalculus Experience, by Gordon, Gordon, Fusaro, Siegel, and Tucker.
A graphing calculator will be useful, although it is not required.
The text, and a calculator if you have one, should be brought to class every day.
You will learn to use a combination of algebraic, graphical, and numerical methods, and to decide which is the most helpful tool in any given context. You will develop your understanding of the mathematical concepts and learn how to apply them to realistic problems, and not merely to perform operations mechanically. You will learn to interpret results, not just to obtain answers. You will use technology not only as a tool for answering questions that arise naturally, but also to learn mathematics.
This class has several important aims. You will learn mathematical thinking, to read and write mathematics, to use technology, and lastly, you will learn specific mathematical skills. All of these are important for Calculus, not only the specific skills.
As you read through how the course is structured, you will see that a lot is expected of you. You will need to spend an average of 9 hours per week on homework, projects, and reading.
You will receive some suggestions for reading a math book.
Every day, part of your assignment will be to read the material that we will be discussing during the next class. Many of you have not read mathematics before. To encourage you, to help you learn how to do it well, and, incidentally, to give you credit for your efforts, I will be posting questions that cover your reading. You will send the responses to those quesions to me by 5pm the day before the next class, following the guidelines for submitting reading assignments. For instance, if on Wednesday I assign reading on Section 1.1, then by 5pm Thursday, you will have read that section, checked my web page for questions on the reading, and sent me your responses. These will be graded on a 2 point scale: 2 points if you respond in full, 1 point for a partial response, and 0 points if you choose not to respond in time.
Problems will be assigned every other class meeting, and will be due two classes hence, by 4 pm. Late homework which is received by 4pm the following day will receive at most 50% of the total possible, and no homework will be accepted after that. If you are going to miss class, make arrangements to get the homework to me on time.
Consult your Guidelines for Homework Presentation for information on how your homework should look.
Two exams will be "gateway exams". These exams will only take 15-30 minutes of class time. They will not test mathematical ideas so much as the skills which are the foundation of the course. You must get 100% on these exams, but you may take the m over and over again.
In addition to the gateway exams, we will be having two "midterms". Each of these will take the entire class meeting. They may test some mathematical skills, but the primary emphasis will be giving you an opportunity to show me how you've mastered the underlying mathematical ideas.
We will also, of course, have a cumulative final. I am currently leaning towards giving a take-home final, due Wednesday December 17 at 11 am.
Notify me in advance if you will be missing an exam, either by phone or by e-mail. If your reason for missing is acceptable, we will arrange that you take the exam early. If you miss an exam without notifying me in advance, I reserve the right to not give you any make-up exam. I will not give any individual more than one make-up exam during the semester.
If you question the fairness of any grade, bring it to me within a week of receiving it.
Reading assignments: You may discuss the questions with your classmates, but you must enter the responses yourself.
Homework and Projects: You may work with anybody you want. You may use any references you want. However, you must understand how to do every problem, and you must site references. That not only includes any other textbooks, but also naming anybody you worked with or got help from.
Exams: You may not use any notes, books, or colleagues as reference during the in-class exams. You may not use a calculator unless everybody in the class has access to a graphing calculator.