MATH1314-Precalculus I, College Algebra and Geometry

Edith Aguirre,
El Paso Community College


Provides in-depth study and applications of polynomial, rational, radical, exponential and logarithmic functions, and systems of equations using matrices. Additional topics such as sequences, series, probability, and conics may be included

Course Size:

Course Format:
Students enroll in one course that includes both lecture and lab. The lecture is taught by the professor and the lab is taught by TAs.

Institution Type:
Two Year College

Course Context:

This is a freshmen-level math course. This course is taken face-to-face or online, along with a separate lab. For face-to-face the lab is taught by a lab assistant and for online the lab-part is designed by the instructor. This MATH1314-PreCalculus course is one of two courses Math1314+Math2412(PreCalculus II) that transfer to our 4-yr institution as one credit to be able to be ready for Calculus I. Most STEM majors require Calculus I in their degree plan, but when entering to take their college placement exam, they're placed in this course Math1314. Many other degree plans require Calculus I or Math1314, so we have a variety of students in this course, not just STEM majors. For Fall 2019 semester we have 51 sections with about 30 students in each section of Math1314, so about 1,530 students currently registered in these courses district-wide at El Paso Community College.

Course Content:

This Math1314-PreCalculus course prepares students to be successful in their next courses Math2412-PreCalculus II and Calculus sequences. We cover functions, their properties and their applications through various word problems.

Course Goals:

I'm focusing on the LAB 1hr/week course for a face-to-face MATH1314-PreCalculus course to design activities for them to learn about functions through the use of MATLAB. Here are some goals for the lab activities:
1. To be able to graph functions with correct axis labels.
2. Learn to program the functions in MATLAB to be able to evaluate a function for a given input.
3. Learn to graph the functions in MATLAB to view the basic/parent properties:
4. Learn about transformations of functions: vertical/horizontal shifts, vertical/horizontal stretches, and reflections.

Course Features:

This course has a 1hr/week lab, where currently students are using it to learn about student success skills and receive help on completing their assignments. I would like to include activities to help them get engaged in programing in MATLAB to learn about functions covered in class.

Course Philosophy:

The course MATH1314-PreCalculus I is already desgined to have a lab for all lecture courses, so I'm focusing on using that 1hr per week more effectively in teaching students how to learn to use MATLAB for their future STEM math courses Math2412-PreCalculus I, and Calculus I, II , and III.


I will have a rubric for the activities created, to assess the following:
1. Their MATLAB code
2. Their Graphs
3. Questions pertaining transformations of functions.


References and Notes:

Precalculus (10th ed.) by Ron Larson publisher Cengage Learning
There was a subcommittee of math faculty that selected top 3 books and we, as a discipline, voted for this textbook. It has all of the content found in our official syllabus and has an online component to be able to offer online courses.

I have been part of several initiatives for the college (EPCC) that have shaped by ability to teach this course and others. I have implemented the Emporium model-self-paced courses, STATWAY curriculum-for non-STEM majors, the MATHWAYS Pathways curriculum-for non-STEM and STEM majors, and have worked with the Charles A. Dana Center to implement various pedagogical styles.