Algebra for Calculus

Professor Hlas
hlascs (@)
Drop-in times

Course Information

Section 012: MTWTh 1-1:50 (HHH 231)
Section 013: MTWTh 4-4:50 (HHH 301)

This course is designed for students pursuing degree programs that require calculus. Topics covered include: algebraic concepts, techniques, and applications including polynomial and rational expressions, linear and quadratic equations, complex numbers, inequalities, absolute value, functions and graphs, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations and inequalities, and zeros of polynomials.

Course objectives will be achieved by:

  1. Group work -- Working in groups provides insight to mathematical problems and different ways of thinking than your own. Think of your group as a mini-classroom. How can you guide group members to an answer without showing them how to solve it?
  2. Conceptual understanding -- Before we can become proficient, we must first understand why the mathematics works, which will aid in the remembering of important mathematical procedures.
  3. Procedural fluency -- Improvement of algebraic skills will be necessary in order to focus on upper-levels of mathematics. This will be done by focusing on increasingly faster and more efficient techniques.

This course meets the following Liberal Education Learning Goals: creative and critical thinking, and effective communication.

More course information is available on Canvas.

Required Materials

Connally, E., Hughes-Hallett, D., Gleason, A.M., et al. (2007). Functions modeling change: A preparation for calculus, third edition. John Wiley & Sons. (ISBN: 978-0-471-79303-8)


Graphing calculator (i.e., TI-84). Calculators with computer algebra systems (e.g., TI-89 and TI-92) and cell phones will not be allowed on exams.

Math Lab - free mathematics help (


In this course, we expect you to master the material at a variety of levels: basic skills, applications, and conceptual understanding. The homework assignments will focus on mastery of basic skills. Quizzes and projects will test your conceptual understanding and your ability to apply what you have learned. Exams will test all three: skills, applications, and concepts.

In order to maximize your scores, it is important to clearly and accurately show your mathematical thinking when working on problems. If any concerns arise regarding grading, please contact the instructor.

Grading scale (by percentage):
A ≥ 92.5; A- ≥ 90; B+ ≥ 87.5; B ≥ 82.5; B- ≥ 80; C+ ≥ 77.5; C ≥ 72.5; C- ≥ 70; D ≥ 60; F ≥ 0

Final Exam (20%)

This course uses a comprehensive, common final with the other sections. Other details have not yet been finalized with these sections. Remember that university policy does not allow students to take an examination prior to its scheduled time, so plan accordingly.

Exams (30%)

There will be three in-class exams. All exams will be comprehensive, but will focus on more recent material. For each exam, one side of an 8.5x11 piece of paper is allowed for notes. These notes must be handwritten and turned in with your exam. Calculators will be allowed on all exams, but calculator work will not be accepted for credit. Exams will be weighted 5%, 10%, and 15% for the lowest to highest scores, respectively.

Group quizzes (20%)

During most weeks a group quiz will be given. Only one quiz per group will be scored with each group member receiving the same score. It is expected that all group members contribute to quiz responses and that all answers are fully explained.

MapleTA homework (20%)

MapleTA is a computer software that creates unique mathematics questions and can evaluate correct answers. Most MapleTA homework assignments will have a week for completion and be worth 10 points. Assignments may be retaken as many times as necessary to get a desired scored. Only the best score will be recorded.

Best score (10%)

The highest score (exam 1-3, final exam, quiz, or homework) will be weighted an extra 10% to allow for individual differences between students.

Suggested homework (0%)

After each class, suggested book problems will be posted on D2L. These problems will not be graded, but will be the basis for class discussion and weekly quizzes.

Fine print

Health and Safety in the Classroom Each of us shares responsibility for the health and safety of all in the classroom environment. Maintaining social distances, wearing a face cover, and self-reporting symptomatic information are university directives that we all must follow until further notice (for the latest guidance see Specifically, in this classroom we will mitigate the risks of virus transfer by abiding by the following safety directives: maintain 6 feet of social distance at all times in classroom and laboratory environments, wear a cloth face covering for the entirety of class, and stay home when sick. In the classroom, any student who does not follow these provisions will be asked once to follow the safety directives. If the student does not comply, I will next ask the student to leave the class for that day. I will also refer the matter to the Dean of Students Office for review should a student persist in ignoring safety directives.

Attendance A record of attendance will be collected. This is done to maintain accurate class rosters and to assess the impact of attendance on student achievement. Poor attendance may impact group activities.

If you will be absent, it is your responsibility to find out what was missed by checking D2L or contacting fellow classmates. Authorized absences (school functions or emergencies) may be made up for full credit. Assignments for non-authorized absences may be completed late for 90% credit if the assignment has not been returned to the class yet. All other make-ups receive 75% credit and must be completed within two weeks of the original due date or the last day of classes, whichever occurs first.

Entry-level switching The Department of Mathematics allows students within entry level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, or 246) to move up to a higher numbered course during the first two weeks of a semester or move down during the first three weeks. Please contact the instructor for more details.

*Midterm grades will be based on percentage of points completed at the time of midterm submission. For final grades, total points will be rounded up to the nearest whole number to determine a letter grade. Individual scores or grades will not modified because they represent a student's progress in the class throughout the semester.

Student Accommodations Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 to determine accommodations before contacting the instructor.

Academic Integrity Any academic misconduct in this course as a serious offense. The disciplinary procedures and penalties for academic misconduct are described on the UW-Eau Claire Dean of Students web site.

Civility As members of this class, we are members of a larger learning community where excellence is achieved through civility. Our actions affect everyone in our community. Courtesy is reciprocated and extends beyond our local setting, whether in future jobs, classes, or communities. Civility is not learned individually, it is practiced as a community.