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MATH-104 Sec 57921, TTh 2:25-4:50PM, MENH 343 - Precalculus - Roy W. Erickson

Professor:Roy W. Erickson
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


A headshot of Mr. Erickson

NEW NOTICE:  I want all to know that while the class is officially on campus, and I will be on campus in our classroom at the appointed times, I will ALSO have a camera on me and my 'lecture pad' so in the event you need to stay home you may watch my lectures live.  The Zoom sessions will be scheduled in CANVAS under the Zoom tab and they will be recorded and made available within an hour of the lecture's conclusion.  I also SCAN AND POST my lecture notes after the lecture has finished and I will post them on my website (to be discussed on or before the first day of class).  TESTS are still on campus but spread across classrooms.

I'm Roy Erickson, your instructor for Math 104 Pre-Calculus class. I’m happy to get back to teaching this pivotal class!  I come from an Aerospace background and I love all things that fly so if there is a SpaceX launch during class expect us to take a 3 minute break to watch it.  My background is varied - I've worked for a national laboratory as a graduate student, an airframer as their manager of computational sciences, and, after peace broke out and the Berlin wall came down, a number of Hollywood studios doing IT consulting work.  I have been teaching Math, Physics, Astronomy and Electronics for nearly two decades.


Course Description

Pre-Calculus lays down the tools necessary for Calculus.  We cycle all the functions we saw in Algebra II but we dive deeper.  These are functions not only used in Calculus as practice functions but also used to model very practical phenomena.  We start with lines, then polynomials, rational functions.  We then discuss the important topic of inverse functions and apply it to exponential and logarithmic functions.  We then recap your trigonometry experience and apply the inverse functions there too.  Next is a more detailed look at finding zeros of polynomials, conic sections, partial fractions, sequences and series - the latter being a big topic in Calculus II.  Finally we wrap it all up with some systems of equations.  All fun stuff!!!  I can’t wait to get into it!

What to Expect in this Course

Pre-calculus is a 4 credit hour class - we meet 4 hours a week.  A typical class begins with announcements, answer a few HW questions (if time permits), start the lecture, do a classwork, take a break, do some more lecture, check out some multimedia, finish with some more classwork.

Traditionally in this class expect to allow 2 hours of outside study/HW time for each hour we are in class.

Types of Assessments

I give five hourly exams to be written during class time on 8.5” x11” white paper and administered on campus (potentially spread across classrooms and/or the testing center).   I drop the lowest score (thus meeting the required four hours of assessment for a 4 credit hour class needed by the UC and CSU schools).    I drop the lowest test score and I lower a test’s total score based on the highest student(s) scores to adjust for test difficulty.

I give homework from the textbook.  It may tend to be on the time-consuming side but more time spent in Pre-Calculus means less time reviewing the material in Calculus.   HW is done on white paper and is scanned and uploaded to CANVAS.  HW is due on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I give classwork.  These are problems worked during class time, usually in groups, if desired, and submitted individually on the way out the door.

I may give a few mini-projects from the text, counted under the HW category but with a heavier weight.  Usually about one a month.  Maybe two hours each.

And just to make sure we celebrate our fun, I give a mandatory comprehensive two-hour final exam on the last day of class.  This is also written on white paper and taken somewhere on campus.

Textbook Information

Precalculus by Openstax (current ed), ISBN-13: 978-1-938168-34-5 for the hardcover and it is FREE!


Other Relevant Course Information

The main communication tools we will be using in this class include:
- Face-to-face lectures but a live Zoom feed is also provided and is recorded.
- Canvas messaging (Emails, video-messages, announcements, and comments).
- Zoom video (simultaneously), and its chat application. Recordings available in CANVAS.
You may be able to borrow a laptop from COC and use it during the semester. To find out about this, please send an Email to


Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

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Last updated: 08/11/2021 Sub#: 425