Syllabus 
Instructor: Geoff Hagopian
Office: Math 12
Office Hours: MWF: 11:30 – 12:30 and TR: 2 – 3
Email: ghagopian@collegeofthedesert.edu
Web Page: http://faculty.collegeofthedesert.edu/ghagopian
Telephone: (760) 7767223
Main Text
Precalculus: Mathematics for Calculus, 6th Edition
James Stewart; Lothar Redlin; Saleem Watson
ISBN10: 0840068077
ISBN13: 9780840068071
Catalog Description:
This course is the second in a two semester sequence preparing students for Calculus. In this course, students will extend the concept of a function to polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions as well as studying analytic trigonometry. Topics include analysis of equations and word problems involving polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric identities, inverse trigonometric functions, and solving trigonometric equations.Tutoring:
Math/Science Study Center in Math 4 computers and tutors.Technology:
MESA club in MSTC study guides a tutoring staff.
You need a graphing utility of some sort. There are many alternatives these days, ranging from the TI/Casio/HP graphing calculators to various iphone/android apps and gcalc.net  get with me and or others and find something you're comfortable with.
Prerequisites:
Before entering the course students must be able to:
Homework
We’ll use the ILRN.COM homework system which is detailed in lecture.
Tests and Grading
Most of your grade points will be determined by chapter tests and the final exam, whose dates are indicated in the tentative schedule. The homework assignments are the crucial touchstone that will guide daily class discussions. Everyone should come prepared to lead and/or follow a discussion on the topic for each scheduled meeting. To be successful, you’ll want to have test scores whose weighted average exceeds 70% (C), 80% (B) or 90% (A) where prefinal exam points are awarded by the following weighting scheme:
5% attendance
10% homework
85% chapter tests and final examOverview
Precalculus is a course designed to do just what it suggests: prepare you for a first course in calculus. This means learning many definitions and properties of basic functions and methods of solving equations, but it also—perhaps most importantly—means learning how to solve problems. The basic outline for general problem solving devised by Polya is a four step program:1. Understand the problem
2. Devise a plan for solving the problem
3. Carry out the plan
4. Look backLet's flesh this out:
Polya’s Four Step Program for Problem Solving
Polya mentions (1957) that there are many reasonable ways to solve problems. The skill at choosing an effective strategy is best learned by solving many problems. You will find choosing a strategy increasingly easy. A partial list of strategies is included:


Often times an algebra problem is best solved using the algebraic method:
Looking back may be the most important part of problem solving and is the best opportunity to learn from the problem. The phase was identified by Polya with admonitions to examine the solution by such activities as checking the result, checking the argument, deriving the result differently, using the result, or the method, for some other problem, reinterpreting the problem, interpreting the result, or stating a new problem to solve.
Teachers and researchers report, however, that developing the disposition to look back is very hard to accomplish with students. Some researchers have found little evidence of looking back among studentseven when it is stressed by instruction. One teacher put it succinctly: "In schools, there is no looking back." This likely stems from a culture of mathematics education that holds “answer getting” as the paramount objective. Also, pressure to cover a prescribed course syllabus; the absence of tests that measure processes and student frustration contribute to the tendency not to reflect on what a problem means in a larger context..
The importance of looking back should outweigh these difficulties.. It is often what you learn after you have solved the problem that really counts.