MS 101 - Precalculus

Professor: Erich Friedman

About the course:

We will meet MWF at 1:30 in Elizabeth 209. This course will essentially cover material from the appendix and the first 5 chapters of the text, Precalculus by Hornsby, Lial, and Rockswold. Topics of the course include basic algebra, the function concept, graphing, solving equations and inequalities, and various examples of functions: linear, quadratic, power, root, rational, exponential, and logarithm. Although this course is primarily designed to prepare you for a calculus course, we will also be doing applications of these topics.

About me:

My e-mail address is My web page can be found at My office is Elizabeth 214-2. My office extension is 7552. My office hours this semester are:

This means that I am always in my office during these times, and you can drop by without an appointment. If you cannot make my regularly scheduled hours, let me know and we can set up another time to talk. Please come by if you need help, or if you just want to chat. You will soon see that my lecture style is informal. I will be calling you by your first name (or a nickname if you prefer), so please call me Erich.

About you:

You should have taken and not passed the math placement test. (If you have not taken this test, see the secretary in the math office, Elizabeth 211.) You should be planning on following this course with a calculus course, either MS 226, MS 222, or MS 201 (If you are not planning to take calculus, you should take MS 151-159 instead). You should have a working knowledge of arithmetic and basic knowledge of algebra. You should be respectful of both me and your classmates. This means coming to class on time and not socializing in class.

About a calculator:

You are expected to have and know how to use a graphing calculator. I will be using a TI-83 in class. You should bring your calculator to tests, but you are not allowed to use one on the quizzes.

About the honor code:

Stetson has recently adopted an honor code. You are not only expected to do your own work, but to tell me if another student is not. The punishment for cheating is an F in the course.

About the math department:

I am usually available to answer your questions, but the math department offers several additional ways to get help. Much of the day, free math tutors can be found in the math office, Elizabeth 211. Also, the math secretary has a list of paid tutors available at other times. There is also a math clinic which runs every Monday through Thursday 7:00-10:00 pm in Elizabeth 209. Please seek help as soon as you fall behind.

About your grade:

Homework is assigned every class period from the section we talked about. Only do the odd problems, as these have answers in the back of the book. Homework will not be collected, but I will answer homework questions in class as time permits. Since these problems will help prepare you for the quizzes and tests, you should do them. Feel free to work together on the homework problems, but make sure you can do them yourself. Make sure you ask about homework problems that you can't do. You should do as much or as little homework as you need, but the leading causes of failing this course are not being prepared for this course, and not doing enough homework.

Quizzes in this course are of the "Gateway" variety. That means you may take a quiz several times, but you must do well for it to count. The first attempt on a quiz will be given in class on the date announced on the syllabus. Each quiz covers the most recent lectures and consists of 8 calculational problems. Calculators are not allowed on quizzes, and there is no partial credit. Each of the 4 quizzes is worth 50 points if you pass it on the first attempt, 45 points if you pass it on the second attempt, then 40 points, then 35, then 30, then 25. Further attempts on quizzes can be made during office hours twice a week. If you have not passed a quiz by the time we have a test on that topic, you will earn a 0 for that quiz. The "Gateway" approach encourages you to concentrate on certain fundamental skills until you master them. If you cannot demonstrate a skill, even after several tries, this is a hint that you are not ready for this course, or not trying hard enough.

Tests will be given on the 4 dates announced on the syllabus. Please check your schedule now to see that there are no conflicts. The tests are a combination of routine problems, and applications we have covered since the quizzes. If you are going to miss a quiz or test, please arrange something with me beforehand. If you miss a quiz or test without telling me beforehand, you will lose 10% of your grade per day, no exceptions. I do give partial credit on tests, though you are expected to show your work and justify your answers. The tests are worth 100 points each.

The Final Exam is comprehensive and is worth 200 points. There are a total of 800 points available.

The Grading Scale is shown below. Please note that the standard 90--80--70--60 scale has been shifted to account for the gateway quizzes, but that I do not award D's in this course. You need to achieve a certain level of competence in this course to succeed in the next one.

A+ 93--100
A 87--93
A- 85--87
B+ 83--85
B 77--83
B- 75--77
C+ 73--75
C 67--73
C- 65--67
F 0--65