MAT 103A

College Algebra Part I

Winter 2004


Instructor: Bruce Armbrust, phone: 541-4660 ext. 314, email:


Office Hours: Room A210,             Mon.                            10:00 Ė 11:00 AM

Wed.                                    2:45  - 3:45 PM

Thurs.                                     12:30 - 1:30 PM

GMC G4,             Tues. & Thurs.            10:00 Ė 11:00 AM

And as always, by appointment.


Class Time and Location: Mon. & Wed. 4:00 PM -5:50 PM, E106


Textbook: Precalculus, Michael Sullivan and Michael Sullivan, III


Course Description: The course provides an in-depth coverage of functions: polynomial and rational functions, their graphs, and finding solutions and zeros of polynomial functions. Special emphasis will be placed on applications problems and the use of calculators.


Prerequisite: Math 154 with a grade of "C" or better or equivalent or appropriate skills demonstrated through the math assessment process.


Calculators: A graphing calculator is required for this class.  I will be demonstrating with the Texas Instruments-89.  I will do my best to assist with other models, but I promise nothing.


Successful Students Will:

1.      Exhibit a proficiency in the topics covered in this course;

2.      Engage in logical and critical thinking;

3.      Read technical information; and

4.      Demonstrate the solution to problems by translating written language into mathematical statements, interpreting information, sketching relevant diagrams, analyzing given information, formulating appropriate math statements, and checking and verifying results.


Course Grade: Your final letter grade will be based on the usual grading scale:

A 90-100%, B 80-89%, C 70-79%, D 60-69%, F 0-59%

The following items will make up the course grade:


Homework:                              150 points            Average of HW Scores X 15

Quizzes:                                 150 points            Average of Quiz Scores X 7.5

Exam1 (January 26)

Exam2 (February 11):             450 points            Average of Exam Scores X 4.5

Exam3 (March 3)

Final Exam (March 22):            250 points


Homework: Homework will be due the class period after it is assigned.  Homework assignments not turned in at this time will be considered late. You may turn in homework up to one week after it is assigned for half credit.  If all homework is turned in, and no more than two are late, the lowest regular exam score will be dropped.  Your homework score will be determined in the following way: up to 5 points for completion and one point each for 5 problems chosen at random to be graded.


Quizzes: There will be 5 quizzes given over the quarter.  These quizzes will be designed to help prepare you for the exams, and quiz problems will be taken directly from the homework assignments. A quiz may be made up late with a penalty of 10% per day.


Exams: All exams will be given in two sections: one portion will allow calculators while the other will not.  If you cannot make it to an exam (final not included), you may take it up to 2 school days prior to the scheduled date with proper arrangements.  Otherwise, the exam may be made up after the scheduled date with a penalty of 10% per day.


Registration Information: You must register for this class at the Office of Admissions and Records.  You may drop the class with no penalty or mark on your record on or before January 30.  After January 30, you may drop the class and receive a grade of W until March 5.  After March 5, if you are still enrolled, you will receive a grade of A, B, C, D, F or I.


How to Succeed in a Math Class: I am often asked how to successfully pass a math class, and here is my advice:


I) Come to every class session.  Be prepared, and plan on participating.

II) Do your homework.  Remember that what I assign is what I consider a bare minimum.  If you need more practice, do it.  Donít make me be a homework enforcer.

III) Read the book.  You paid good money for it, so you might as well use it.

IV) Make use of available tutors and my office hours.  You will find tutors who know the subject matter in this course at the GMC.

V) Do math every day.  Math is just like everything else: if you donít practice, you become rusty.


Learning Disabled Students: It is important that students who are identified as being learning disabled speak to me about their special needs.  I am more than willing to grant you reasonable accommodations.


Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty of any form will not be tolerated.  Students caught cheating on exams or quizzes will receive a score of zero on the assignment for the first offense and a course grade of F for the second offense.  Students my work together on homework assignments (and, in fact, are encouraged to) as long as all students understand the material covered.


Course Schedule:

The following is a tentative schedule.  If things change (and I have money that says they will), I will let you know.



5          1.1,1.2                         Rectangular Coordinates, Graphing Equations

7          1.3,1.4                         Symmetry, Solving Equations

12        1.5,1.6                         Solving Inequalities, Lines

14        2.1,2.2, Quiz I               Functions and Linear Models

19        NO SCHOOL                    MLK Day

21        2.3, Review                        Properties of Functions

26        Exam I                        

28        2.4,2.5                         Piecewise Functions, Transformations



2          2.6                               Operations on Functions

4          2.7, Quiz II              Modeling using Functions

9          3.1, Review                        Quadratic Functions

11        Exam II                       

16        NO SCHOOL                    Presidentís Day

18        3.2                               Power Functions

23        3.3                               Polynomial Functions

25        A5, Quiz III             Polynomial and Synthetic Division



1          3.4, Review                        Rational Functions

3          Exam III                     

8          3.5                               More Rational Functions

10        3.6, Quiz IV                        Polynomial and Rational Inequalities

15        3.7                               Real Zeros of Polynomials

17        3.8, Quiz V             Complex Zeros of Polynomials

22        Final Exam                          


The following is a list of all homework assignments for this course.  The due dates for the various sections will be given in class.


Section Assignment