Course Outline for College Algebra
Catalog Description: An overview of the fundamental
concepts of algebra. Topics include: graphing manually and
with a graphing calculator; linear, quadratic, higher-order polynomial, rational, radical, exponential, and logarithmic
functions, models, equations, and inequalities; the algebra and transformations of functions; inverse functions;
systems of equations and matrices ; systems of inequalities and linear programming; and sequences and series.
Prerequisite: To demonstrate academic preparedness for placement in College Algebra, all students must verify
that they have met one of the following placement criteria: a grade of “C” or better in Intermediate Algebra (ACSK
0103); a score of 19 or higher on the math portion of the ACT; a score of 43 – 55 on the Intermediate Algebra
section of the ASSET; a score of 65 – 100 on the Intermediate Algebra section of the COMPASS; or a score of 0 –
45 on the College Algebra section of the COMPASS.
Credit/Contact/Load Hours: 4 credit hours, 4 contact hours, 4 load hours
Target Audience and Transfer: College Algebra meets a variety of student needs. For some it will be the first
math course in a sequence, and for others it will be the last math course they are required to take. Although there are
some exceptions, most students who are working on an AA, an AS degree, or a bachelor’s degree are required to
take College Algebra and / or higher level math courses. Some AAS degrees and a few bachelor’s degrees do not
require College Algebra. These programs require an alternate math course such as Survey of College Math or Math
for AAS General Education.
Core Course Objectives: A student who is successful in College Algebra should be able to:
1. Define, recognize, graph, transform, and perform various operations on functions .
2. Write, solve, and graph linear, quadratic, and other types of equations and inequalities.
3. Identify, solve, graph, and apply polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions.
4. Find zeros of polynomial functions, including by using synthetic division .
5. Solve systems of equations and inequalities graphically, algebraically, and with matrices.
6. Use a graphing calculator to perform algebraic operations and to graph functions.
7. Find the nth term and sum of an arithmetic or geometric sequence.
8. Solve application problems related to the first seven objectives.
For a more detailed list of problem types, contact the Math Department for a copy of the Departmental Review
Sheet for College Algebra.
Required Text: College Algebra, 3rd Edition. Beecher, Penna, and Bittinger. Pearson, Addison Wesley, 2008.
Required Text Coverage (for both standard lecture and WWW course):
1.1 Introduction to Graphing (Optional topics: the distance formula; midpoints of segments.)
1.2 Functions and Graphs
1.3 Linear Functions , Slope, and Applications
1.4 Equations of Lines and Modeling
1.5 More on Functions
1.6 The Algebra of Functions
1.7 Symmetry and Transformations (Optional topics: symmetry, even and odd functions.)
2.1 Linear Equations, Functions, and Models
2.2 The Complex Numbers
2.3 Quadratic Equations , Functions, and Models (Optional topic: the discriminant.)
2.4 Analyzing Graphs of Quadratic Functions
2.5 More Equation Solving (Optional topic: equations with absolute value.)
2.6 Solving Linear Inequalities (Optional topic: inequalities with absolute value.)
3.1 Polynomial Functions and Models
3.2 Graphing Polynomial Functions (Optional topic: the intermediate value theorem .)
3.3 Polynomial Division; the Remainder and Factor Theorems
3.4 Theorems about Zeros of Polynomial Functions (Optional topics: Descartes’ rule of signs .)
3.5 Rational Functions (Optional topic: oblique asymptotes)
3.6 Polynomial and Rational Inequalities (Optional topic: rational inequalities.)
4.1 Inverse Functions
4.2 Exponential Functions and Graphs
4.3 Logarithmic Functions and Graphs
4.4 Properties of Logarithmic Functions
4.5 Solving Exponential and Logarithmic Equations
4.6 Applications and Models: Growth and Decay; Compound Interest
5.3 Matrices and Systems of Equations
5.7 Systems of Inequalities and Linear Programming
6.4 Nonlinear Systems of Equations and Inequalities
7.1 Sequences and Series
7.2 Arithmetic Sequences and Series
7.3 Geometric Sequences and Series
N.B. Visualizing graphs should be emphasized and a variety of application problems from each
required topic should be assigned.
R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7, 3.7, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.8, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8
Required Instructional Activities: The content of the course should be taught with graphing calculator usage as an
integral part of the curriculum. However, no TI-89, TI-92, or comparable calculators are allowed.
Required Forms of Assessment: Each instructor must include a set of 6 departmental final exam questions on his or
her final exam. These questions will be in direct support of the specific objectives stated in the Core Course
Objectives; will be based on material covered in the Required Text Coverage section; and be similar to the questions
on the Departmental Review Sheet for College Algebra. These questions will compose at least 10% of the students'
overall grade in the course and will be graded according to a standard grading rubric. The results of these questions
and overall student performance will be reported when final grades are turned in.
N.B. Please note that no resources other than a graphing calculator may be used by students during the
final exam (e.g., no formula sheets , no notes, no index cards, etc.)
1. Annotated Instructor’s Edition
2. Insider’s Guide
3. Adjunct Support Center
4. Instructor’s Solutions Manual
5. Printed Test Bank
6. TestGen Computerized Test Bank
7. PowerPoint Lecture Presentation
1. Graphing Calculator Manual
2. Student’s Solutions Manual
3. Video Lectures on CD with Optional Captioning (Available in the NWACC Library.)
4. Addison Wesley Math Tutor Center (Accessible via toll-free phone, toll-free fax, e-mail, & the Internet.)
7. MathXL Tutorials on CD
8. InterAct Math Tutorial Web Site