Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA)
Mathematics, Calculus
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
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    Creative Commons Attribution
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    Education Standards

    MTH 161: Precalculus I


    A syllabus for MTH 161: Precalculus I, taught within the Virginia Community College System.


    MTH 161: Precalculus I

    Instructor Information


    Online Office Hours:

    Contact Information:

    Instructor email address:

    Canvas site:

    Course Information

    Course Description

    Presents topics in power, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions, and systems of equations and inequalities. Credit will not be awarded for both MTH 161: Precalculus I and MTH 167: Precalculus with Trigonometry or equivalent. This is a Passport Transfer course.

    Prerequisites and/or Co-Requisites

    Prerequistes - MDE 60; MTH 3, MTH 5 and MTE 6-9; or placement

    Corequisites - None or MDE 61 with placement

    General Education Core Competencies Supported by this Course

    After completion of this course, students will be able to:


    Quantitative Literacy

    Quantitative Literacy is the ability to perform accurate calculations, interpret quantitative information, apply and analyze relevant numerical data, and use the results to support conclusions. Degree graduates will calculate, interpret, and use numerical and quantitative information in a variety of settings.

    Required Course Texts and Supplementary Materials

    Primary Textbooks:

    OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Dec 20, 2019

    Options include: free PDF, free live web view, free accessible versions, and low cost print copies.


    Calculator: A scientific or graphing calculator is required for this course. The following models by Texas Instruments are recommended:

    • The TI-83 or TI-84 graphing calculators are recommended and cost about $100 to $150
    • The TI-30XS scientific calculator is recommended and costs about $15


    Course Learning Outcomes

    • Graph polynomial, piecewise, absolute value, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions by using symmetry, intercepts and asymptotes as needed.
    • Solve equations in linear, quadratic, absolute value, rational, radical, exponential and logarithmic form resulting in real or complex solutions.
    • Solve systems of equations using an appropriate method including graphing, matrices, substitution and elimination.
    • Perform operations on functions to include finding domain and range, arithmetic operations, composition, inverse, and condensing and expanding with logarithmic properties.

    Topics Covered in this Course

    • Review of Lines
    • Complex Numbers
    • Solving Equations and Inequalities
    • Basics of Functions and Their Graphs
    • Algebra of Functions
    • Inverse Functions
    • Quadratic Functions and Their Graphs
    • Polynomial Functions and Their graphs
    • Rational Functions
    • Exponentials
    • Logarithms
    • Systems of Equations


    Description of Assignments/Assessments

    The course includes various modalities including: 

    • Video Assignments - These assignments pair videos with computer graded problems. These are automatically graded by the course site and can be attempted multiple times.
    • Homework - Longer problem sets that include all the content on the quizzes and tests. These are automatically graded by the course site and can be attempted multiple times.
    • Quizzes - Every week there will be a quiz with similar problems to the HW and video assignments but there will be a time limit and only two attempts.
    • Discussions - Each chapter has a discussion forum assignment. You are expected to write in complete sentences with correct grammar in addition to using correct mathematical terminology and notation.
    • 3 Tests & Final Exam - There are three tests that will evaluate your long term knowledge and conceptual understanding. These are taken using the Lockdown Browser and Respondus monitor in Canvas. Your computer will need a camera with microphone to take the tests. Only one attempt is allowed on each problem and there is a time limit. Only a calculator (no cellphones may be used) is allowed for resources. No books, notes, other websites, or help from people is allowed.

    Course Schedule

    The following course schedule may change due to the progression of the course and at the discretion of the instructor.





    Chapter 1 – Functions

    • Register for MOM
    • Syllabus Quiz
    • Algebra and Precalculus Diagnostics
    • Sections 1.1 – 1.4 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 1.1 – 1.4 Quiz
    • Sections 1.5 – 1.7 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 1.5 – 1.7 Quiz
    • Chapter 1 Discussion


    Chapter 2 – Linear Functions

    • Sections 2.1 – 2.4 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 2.1 – 2.4 Quiz
    • Chapter 2 Discussion
    • Test 1


    Chapter 3 – Polynomial Functions

    • Sections 3.1 – 3.2 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 3.1 – 3.2 Quiz
    • Sections 3.3 – 3.4 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 3.3 – 3.4 Quiz


    Chapter 3 – Rational Functions

    • Sections 3.5 – 3.6 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 3.5 – 3.6 Quiz
    • Sections 3.7 – 3.8 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 3.7 – 3.8 Quiz
    • Chapter 3 Discussion


    Chapter 3 – Polynomial and Rational Inequalities

    • Test 2
    • Sections 3.10 – 3.11 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 3.10 – 3.11 Quiz


    Chapter 4 – Exponential Functions

    • Sections 4.1 – 4.2 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 4.1 – 4.2 Quiz
    • Sections 4.3 – 4.4 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 4.3 – 4.4 Quiz


    Chapters 4 & 9: Exponential and Logarithmic Equations and Systems of Equations

    • Sections 4.5 – 4.7 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Sections 4.5 – 4.7 Quiz
    • Chapter 4 Discussion
    • Sections 9.1 – 9.2 and 9.6 reading, video and homework assignments
    • Chapter 9 Discussion
    • Test 3



    • Final Exam


    Course Policies & Procedures

    Grade Policy

    You can access your grades for this course by clicking the Grades link in Canvas.




    Video Assignments








    3 Tests and Final Exam

    60% (15% each)



    Numerical Average

    Letter Grade












    Based on the progression of the course, the grade distribution for each assignment may change. However, if changes are made, I will notify students in a timely manner and in writing. Final grades are made available to each student within the Student Information System (SIS) now web delivered via MyTCC or SIS.

    Course Communication

    Students should check their VCCS student email accounts and Canvas at least twice a week. The best ways students can reach the instructor for assistance is email. Expect a response time of 24-48 hours.

    Attendance Policy

    All students are expected to be present and on time at all scheduled class and laboratory meetings. Instructors are not required to admit a student who arrives late to the classroom. A student who adds a class or registers after the first day of classes is counted absent from all class meetings missed. Satisfactory completion of the Orientation assignments is required to avoid being deleted from the roster. Satisfactory completion of the Mid-Term Exam is required to avoid being withdrawn from the course.


    If a student is absent more than 15 percent of scheduled instructional time, attendance may be defined as unsatisfactory. This calculation includes absences occurring during the add/drop period. See also the Withdrawal Policy in this syllabus for more information. Per the college’s attendance policy, faculty have the right to develop a more stringent policy as well. Students who do not attend or participate in class by the deadline to drop for tuition refund may be deleted from the course.

    Late Work/Make-up Exam Policy

    Late homework will receive 10% penalty and are only accepted within one week of the original deadline. Make up exams are allowed for the first 3 exams with documentation for the extension.

    Classroom Behavior

    TCC is committed to maintaining a social and physical environment conducive to carrying out its education mission. Therefore, all members of the TCC community are expected to demonstrate standards for civility.

    • Be moderate in speaking. Loud, obscene, argumentative, or threatening speech is disruptive to teaching and learning and is offensive to others. It has no place in an academic setting
    • Resolve any disagreements in a positive, non-combative manner. Request the assistance of college authorities if needed.
    • Show respect for the comfort of others in an educational setting by observing acceptable standards for personal cleanliness and dress.
    • No eating food in class
    • No bad attitudes
    • No harsh judgement of yourself or others

    Electronic Devices

    Cell phones, pagers, and other communication devices are prohibited from use in classrooms, laboratories, and libraries, unless authorized by the appropriate faculty or staff. Although soundless communication devices such as cell phones and pagers are permissible in classrooms, college offices, and/or meeting rooms, they must not be answered during class.


    We may use phones to access internet resources as part of class activities. Any other use of phones is distracting and should be avoided. The use of phones as calculators is not allowed.

    Inclement Weather/Emergent Hazardous Conditions

    Tidewater Community College uses TCC Alerts to immediately contact and inform faculty, staff and students of a major crisis or emergency. TCC Alerts delivers important emergency alerts, notifications, and updates via: Email (work, home, other), Text Message via Cell phone, Pager.

    When an incident or emergency occurs, authorized senders will be instantly notified via TCC Alerts. TCC Alerts is a personal connection to real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to contact, and other important information. New users may register via the link on the College’s Closings & Emergencies webpage (

    All students are encouraged to sign up for TCC Alerts as soon as possible. If you have already subscribed, please verify your contact information is up-to-date in TCC Alerts.


    Disposition of Classes for Emergency Shutdown of the College

    In the event of an emergency shutdown of the college, the president and her executive staff may elect to conclude the term in session if eighty-five percent or more of that term has been completed. If the term in session is concluded, faculty shall compute final grades of students based on coursework completed at that point. Since this is an online class we will continue on schedule despite any closings of the campuses.

    Academic Policies & Procedures

    Students are responsible for being aware of the policies, procedures, and student responsibilities contained within the current edition of the TCC Catalog and Student Handbook.

    Withdrawal Policy

    Students who wish to withdraw without academic penalty should contact a counselor to determine the appropriate procedure. Withdrawals through completion of 60 percent of a session will result in a W grade. After 60 percent of a session is completed, a withdrawal will result in a grade of F in a credit course or a grade of U in a developmental course, except under mitigating circumstances that must be documented by the instructor and approved by the academic dean. Dynamic session classes have unique refund and withdrawal dates. Contact a campus Enrollment Services Office for more information, or visit the Academic Calendar website (URL provided in Important Websites section).


    A student who drops after the last day to withdraw does not receive a 'W'. He/she receives an 'F', in which case there is both an academic and financial penalty. A student who withdraws by the deadline faces a financial penalty, but not an academic penalty.



    Deadline to drop to tuition refund


    Deadline to withdraw without academic penalty and to receive a grade of W for the course

    Academic Integrity

    TCC will expect students to demonstrate personal and academic integrity, to be open to new ideas, and to share in a community where individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures help one another grow intellectually, socially, and personally.

    TCC expects students to achieve, not just to get by. And while many caring and talented faculty and staff are here to help, students must take responsibility for their own learning. Students should strive for a high level of academic performance and to be responsible, contributing citizens within the college and in outside communities. Above all, TCC wants students to develop a love of learning that will last a lifetime, along with a life-long interest in maintaining emotional and physical wellness.

    Student Outcomes Assessment Requirement

    Work products submitted by students to fulfill course requirements may be used by the college to evaluate its academic programs and general education requirements.

    Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct

    Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following actions: cheating on an examination or quiz—either giving or receiving information; copying information from another person for graded assignments; using unauthorized materials during tests; collaboration during examinations; buying, selling or stealing examinations; arranging a substitute for oneself during examinations; substituting for another person, or arranging such a substitution; plagiarism—the intentional or accidental presentation of another’s words or ideas; collusion with another person or persons in submitting work for credit in class or lab, unless such collaboration is approved in advance by the instructor.


    Faculty members who have reliable evidence of academic misconduct will (1) investigate the matter, and (2) review the facts of the matter and the proposed penalty with the appropriate academic dean. They may then take one or more of the following actions:

    • Require the work to be accomplished again
    • Give no credit for the test, paper, or exercise
    • Assign a grade of F, U, or W for the course
    • Refer the matter to the campus Dean for Student Services or designee for possible disciplinary sanction through the college’s disciplinary procedure


    If the faculty member chooses to refer the matter to the campus Dean for Student Services or designee for disposition, the Plenary Disciplinary Procedure shall be followed, and the student’s dismissal from the college is a possibility.

    Educational Accessibility

    Students who have documented, diagnosed disabilities, and who need special accommodations for tests, etc., are advised to see the Educational Accessibility Disabilities Services staff in Student Services so that the instructor may be notified of what accommodations are appropriate in each case. Requests for accommodations should be made to the designated campus Educational Accessibility counselor at least 45 days before classes begin. Documentation must be provided to support the need for accommodations.

    Students who have been hospitalized (for medical or psychiatric reasons) unexpectedly during the semester shall contact the Office of Educational Accessibility Counselor for support and connection to college resources. If the student is incapacitated, a designee may make contact on their behalf.

    For assistance with disabilities, contact the campus Educational Accessibility Counselor/Provider or the Coordinator of Educational Accessibility Services: call 822-7752, visit Student Services/Development, or visit the Educational Accessibility webpage (URL provided in Important Websites section).

    Emergency Procedures

    In the event of a bomb threat, tornado, or fire, students and staff may be directed to evacuate the building or move to an internal assembly area within the building. Evacuation routes are posted in each classroom. The map indicates the route to the nearest exit. Students should review the map to make sure that the exit routes for the building are clearly understood. The information regarding locations of the Emergency Assembly Areas and Internal Assembly Areas for all classrooms or spaces used on the various campuses is available on the Crisis and Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) webpage ( If you require assistance during an evacuation, let your instructor know at the end of the first class.

    Student Success Resources

    The following resources are available to TCC students. Visit the Student Handbook webpage for more information about student services and locations.


     A library is located at each TCC campus and at the Visual Arts Center. These libraries are intended for research and study, and they contain materials in print and digital format to support the courses, curricula, and mission of the college. The research materials include books, newspapers, magazines, journals, DVDs, streaming media and an extensive collection of indexes, abstracts and full-text databases. Faculty members may place materials on reserve in the libraries for their students. Visit the Library webpage for more information:

    Academic Support Services

    Each campus provides various kinds of academic assistance. One-on-one tutoring, math and computer labs, and other forms of individual and group assistance may be available. Students can also find free help for writing, from short questions about commas and comma splices to a comprehensive review of research papers in progress, in the Writing Centers. You should contact your local Learning Assistance Center (LAC) to determine when a staff member is there qualified to assist you with MTH 245. The contact information for all four LACs is found at

    Online Help Desk

    Visit the following website for Blackboard support:

    Important Websites

    • College Website:

    • Closings and Emergencies:

    • Blackboard and Student E-mail:

    • Educational Accessibility:

    • Student Handbook:

    • TCC Catalog:

    • Class Schedule: log-in to SIS for current course offerings)

    • Academic Calendar:

    • For current financial aid information and assistance, visit or

    • Library:


    Student Acknowledgement


    By reading this I have agreed to all policies and guidelines contained in the syllabus.