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Course policy

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Note: Some parts of this policy may not apply to your specific course. Consult your syllabus.

1. In Class. A large part of your grade depends on your participation. How to participate is simple: I ask questions -- you answer, you ask questions -- I answer. During the lectures, feel free to interrupt me at any time and you don't have to raise your hand. I suggest taking only rudimentary notes: main ideas, theorems, and formulas (and keep your pen handy). Sitting in the back of the class impedes your ability to take part in the discussion.

Lectures aren't designed to prepare you for some preexisting exam or homework; on the contrary, assignments are created based on what has been discussed in class.

Please refrain from any activities that may cause distraction, which include but aren't limited to:

  • coming late, leaving early;
  • using cell phones, headphones, laptops, etc.;
  • eating, drinking, and so on.

2. Attendance. You should be there and on time. Expect a high degree of "continuity" from one period to the next, so that if you miss a class (for any reason), next time you may feel lost unless you have worked out the lesson at home. If you have missed a class without a valid excuse, you are not allowed to attend the next class without permission.

3. How to study. You should start with the textbook and/or lectures. Make sure you understand all new concepts and ideas. Contemplate... Not until you feel comfortable about the material should you turn to the actual assignment. This assignment is a test. It tests your knowledge of a small part of what you need to know. There may be reading assignments.

4. Online Assignments. They are provided via Webwork. This assignment is a timed test. It tests your knowledge of a small part of what you need to know. Please anticipate potential technical problems as the deadlines are firm. If you need help, use the "Email instructor" button from the inside the applications so that I can see exactly what is troubling you.

5. In-Class Quizzes. They will be 5-10 minutes long, open book, and may happen at random.

6. Written Assignments. You can discuss them with other students but you can't copy. Nor should you use the internet to search for answers. Unless a special arrangement has been made, the submission should be on paper. Please staple. Everything should be written legibly with generous margins and room between the lines. Always state the problem being solved at the top of the page. Projects: follow the instructions given under Projects. Advanced courses: assignments submitted in TeX may receive extra credit of one point provided the TeX code or the PDF is emailed to me -- in addition to the paper -- as it might be posted online.

7. Exams. The midterm will be based on the material covered since the beginning of the class. The final exam will be comprehensive and cumulative. The material since the last midterm will receive more emphasis.

8. Writing. You should write in complete sentences, including all algebra: $$\text{No: }\quad \begin{array}{|l|} \hline 1+1\\ 2 \\ \hline \end{array}\quad\quad \text{Yes: } \quad \begin{array}{|l|} \hline 1+1\\ =2.\\ \hline \end{array}\quad \text {Yes: } \quad \begin{array}{|l|} \hline 1+1=2.\\ \hline \end{array}$$ You should justify all your steps and conclusions, including all algebra: $$\text{No: }\quad \begin{array}{|l|} \hline 2x=4 \\ x=2 \\ \hline \end{array}\quad\quad \text{Yes: } \quad \begin{array}{|l|} \hline 2x=4 ; \text{ therefore,} \\ x=2. \\ \hline \end{array}$$ Advanced courses: examine also Student's guide to proof writing.

9. Calculators. You shouldn't need them but they are allowed in class. Your syllabus lists computer restrictions not requirements. Any equipment more advanced than what's indicated is not allowed. This applies to quizzes, tests, and the homework assignments. Whatever you submit, it should be able to stand on its own -- without references to a calculator. For example, providing the graph of a function with no explanation where it has come from is unacceptable. There will be no instruction on how to use calculators.

10. Grades. The grade for the class will be based entirely on your performance. Individual problems in homework, quizzes, and exams will be graded with a score between $0$ and $10$. These scores are converted to decimals and then combined according to the formula provided in your syllabus. The total score determines your letter grade according to the scale below: $$\begin{array}{|l|l|l|l|l|l|} \hline \text{F} & \text{D} & \text{C} & \text{B} & \text{A}\\ \hline [0,.60) & [.60,.70) & [.70,.80) & [.80,.90) & [.90,1.00]\\ \hline \end{array}$$ I occasionally use the following "curved" scale: $$\begin{array}{|l|l|l|l|l|l|} \hline \mathcal{F} & \mathcal{D} & \mathcal{C} & \mathcal{B} & \mathcal{A}\\ \hline [0,.60) & [.60,.70) & [.70,.80) & [.80,.90) & [.90,1.00]\\ \hline \end{array}$$ It is each student's responsibility to carry out these computations on a regular basis. You may use this spreadsheet.

The zero score will be given for problems not submitted or not attempted and I will give partial credit if you've made meaningful progress in the problem. The final exam scores won't be released until the grades are posted by the university.

11. Missed Assignments and Exams. There will be no late homework accepted or make-up tests given. However, you will receive credit if

  1. you have a valid reason for absence: illness, death in the family, approved institutional activity, etc. (see the university excused absence policy); and
  2. you submit an explanation in the form of an e-mail (you may be asked to provide a note from a relevant authority).

In that case, the missed score is assigned based on your other scores: next homework/quiz, next test, or the final exam. If the final is missed, the grade for the class will not be based on the rest of the grades but entirely on my assessment of the student's achieved level of mastery. One weekly assignment (quiz or homework) may be dropped.

12. Office Hours. A few hours every a week are set aside for meeting students one-on-one, in my office. Come to talk about what you have found difficult in the course. You cannot ask for help with any specific homework problem. Consider also the tutoring services provided by the department and the university.

13. Academic Integrity. Cheating will result in the zero grade for the assignment.