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MATH-211 - Calculus I - Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic

Course:Calculus I
Professor:Violeta Kovacev-Nikolic
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Violeta with ocean and rocks in the background (Location: beach down the Lands End trail in San Francisco).

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to MATH 211 - the first in the sequence of calculus courses and an essential building block for further studies in STEM and related fields. It is a relatively fast-paced and challenging course that requires a solid foundation in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and precalculus. Students who attained mastery in these prerequisites and those who appreciate math and sciences usually enjoy furthering their knowledge. However, they know success takes time, hard work, and effort. I am excited to assist you in learning the course topics during the upcoming term.

I look forward to seeing you in our first class (please be sure you are present!).

Professor V. Kovacev-Nikolic

Course Description

Calculus I includes a variety of topics. We will start with the concept of the limit of a function, continuity, and derivatives, which we will use to find equations of tangent lines. The next segment of the course involves differentiation formulas and their applications, including rates of change and finding maxima and minima. We will also learn about implicit differentiation. All these tools will help us carry out detailed curve sketching. We will also introduce integrals using Riemann sums and their limits, then move away from this definition and learn how to evaluate integrals using the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. We will apply integration to determine the area of a region enclosed between curves in the plane and then find volumes of three-dimensional objects obtained by rotating a plane curve about a line. At the end of the course, we will explore derivatives and integrals of logarithmic and exponential functions.

What to Expect in this Course

Your commitment is vital for your success (much more important than talent!); with perseverance, you can succeed. To stay on task, you will need to invest time and effort. In general, you will need to spend about 2-3 hours per every hour of class time (which means 10-15 hours per week), or more, as needed. Here are some things that can help you succeed in this course. 

  • Consistently attend classes: Regular attendance is crucial! If you are not present, you are not participating and therefore missing out on the classwork. Note: You need to be present on the first day of class; there is a requirement that instructors drop no-show students, which allows waitlisted students to enroll. 

  • Participate in all class activities and discussions: Learning is deeper when students are actively involved. Throughout the semester, you will have opportunities to discuss relevant concepts, solve problems, engage in group work, and present results.

  • Prepare before the class: Research shows that the learning process is more effective when students preview a lecture ahead of time. With that in mind, I may prompt you to watch an intro video, read a portion of the course text, or fill in a short quiz before we meet. If you come prepared, our meeting will be more efficient.

  • Study and review continuously: Try to go over your notes after each class meeting. To deepen your knowledge and sharpen your math skills, try to solve homework problems without looking up the solutions.

  • Complete assignments on time: Please do your best to stay on top of your tasks! Your learning will be much smoother if you tackle your homework as soon as possible, ideally within a day from the class meeting.

  • Take all exams. We will have our tests during regular class meeting times. If a change in health-related requirements would render on-campus meetings impossible, we will have online proctored tests. 

Educational and Technological Tools

Our textbook is an open educational resource you can access online or save as a PDF file. However, reading alone is not enough - more precisely, math is not a spectator sport! You will need to take notes and write detailed calculations in quizzes or while solving problems in online homework. Thus, a pencil and an eraser are must-haves (you can also use a pen, though it makes it harder to keep the work neat). You will also need something to write on, a stack of papers or a notebook. You can also use a tablet with a stylus for writing and drawing if you have one (though you will still need more traditional writing tools in exams).

In addition to writing utensils, you will need some tech skills and equipment.

  • You will need access to an electronic device (computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) with a network connection. You will use these resources to complete assignments, scan your written work, and submit files to Canvas. If there would be any exams online (depending on the situation with the pandemic), you may also need a secondary device with a webcam to stream a video of your surrounding workspace and to scan and upload your written work to Canvas during a limited-time window after finishing the test. 
  • Homework assignments will be in MyOpenMath, a free online learning and assessment platform.

  • We may use other educational tools (e.g., Canvas Studio, PlayPosit, PebblePad, Mentimeter, etc.); they will be at no cost to you.

Types of Assessments

Low-stakes formative assignments (e.g., quizzes, homework, and so on) will help you learn the course concepts and master the needed mathematical skills. Summative assessments (typically exams) will provide feedback on how well you understand and know the course concepts. More specifically, your progress in the course is reflected through your work on some (or all) of the following:

  • Class participation (individual or group work)

  • Online discussion boards in Canvas

  • Online and written homework assignments

  • Quizzes

  • Review assignments

  • Project(s)

  • At least three midterm tests and a cumulative final

Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook

Title & Authors:

Calculus Volume 1 by Gilbert Strang & Edwin “Jed” Herman





Link to Textbook:

You can freely access the course textbook online or download and save it as a PDF file. If you prefer having a printed book, you can order it online through the textbook website.

Important notice: our course is enhanced with a free online learning and assessment platform called MyOpenMath. You can access this resource without having to pay anything.

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.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 08/21/2022 Sub#: 1426