syllabus

General Information

Title: MA2550: Calculus I
Time: MWF 9:05-9:55am, T 12:30-1:45pm
Location: Hyde 315 Boyd 005 (MWF), Hyde 313 (T)

Instructor Information

Instructor: Dr. Dana C. Ernst
Office: Hyde 356
Office Phone: 603.535.2857
Email: ude.htuomylp|tsnrecd#ude.htuomylp|tsnrecd
Office Hours: MWF at 1:00-2:00pm (or by appointment)
Webpage: http://dcernst.wikidot.com

Course Information and Policies

Prerequisites

A satisfactory grade in MA2140 or Level 3 placement on the PSU Placement Test with high school precalculus mathematics. Note: if credit has been granted for either MA2490 or MA2500 (Applied Calculus I or Applied Calculus II, respectively), consent of the Mathematics Chair is required in order to receive credit for this class.

Course Description

A first calculus course concentrating on limits, continuity, the derivative and integration. Applications are made to classical problems in physics and other sciences. We will occasionally make use of software packages, like Sage and Lurch, which are capable of doing symbolic mathematics.

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Text

We will be using the free textbook titled Calculus by David Guichard, et al. The textbook is available here. One option is to obtain a PDF of chapters 1-11, which is available on this page. Alternatively, if you want to have a physical copy, you can buy a paperback ($9.40) or a hardback ($23.20) from Lulu. My extremely optimistic goal is to cover up to Section 8.1 of the textbook. This may be entirely unfeasible, so we will adjust accordingly.

I expect you to be reading the textbook. I will not be covering every detail of the textbook and the only way to achieve a sufficient understanding of the material is to be digesting the reading in a meaningful way. You should be seeking clarification about the material in the textbook whenever necessary by asking questions in class or posting questions to the course forum.

Purpose

The primary objective of this course is to aid students in becoming confident and competent in solving problems that require techniques developed in calculus. Successful completion of MA2550 provides students with skills necessary for upper division mathematics courses, such as MA2560: Calculus II. In general, calculus is a study of functions. The main tools are differentiation, which measures instantaneous change in a function, and integration, which gauges the cumulative effect of that change. The crowning achievement of first semester calculus is the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, which explains how differentiation and integration are related. Students will have a working understanding of limits and continuity. Students will also be able to utilize various techniques to differentiate and integrate numerous functions including trigonometric functions. In addition, students will understand and be able to apply the Mean Value Theorem, the First and Second Derivative Tests, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus in both theoretical problems and applications. Also, the purpose of any mathematics class is to challenge and train the mind. Learning mathematics enhances critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Quantitative Reasoning Connection (QRCO)

MA2550 satisfies the Quantitative Reasoning Connection (QRCO) requirement of the PSU General Education Program. Students will enhance their ability to analyze quantitative material, and use quantitative techniques to solve problems.

Homework

Homework will usually be assigned every lecture day (typically Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and will usually be due at the beginning of the next lecture day. Tuesdays will usually be reserved for going over homework problems, as a catch-up day, working on labs (see below), or taking exams. I will always tell you when a given homework assignment is due (so, there should never be any confusion). Your homework will always be graded for completion and usually some (2-3) of the problems will be graded for correctness. You are allowed and encouraged to work together on homework. However, each student is expected to turn in his or her own work. Every homework assignment is worth 5 points. There will be approximately 30-33 homework assignments. Five (possibly more) of your lowest homework scores will be dropped. In general, late homework will not be accepted. However, you are allowed to turn in up to 5 homework assignments late with no questions asked. Unless you have made arrangements in advance with me, homework turned in after class will be considered late. Occasionally, you may be required to submit your homework via Moodle, Sage, or Lurch. Your overall homework grade will be worth 15% of your final grade.

Labs

A few times during the semester I will assign small group projects, which we will call labs. Often the labs will be completed during class time, but occasionally some work may need to be completed outside of class. Some of the labs will be used to reinforce or synthesize previously introduced concepts while others may be used to introduce new concepts. Some of the labs may utilize mathematics software such as Sage and Lurch, which are capable of doing symbolic mathematics. There will be 5-10 labs, where each lab is worth 10 points. Your overall lab score will be worth 5% of your final grade.

Exams

There will be 3 midterm exams, which are tentatively scheduled for the following Tuesdays: September 21, October 19, and November 16. Each exam will be worth 20% of your overall grade. There will also be a cumulative final exam, which will be on Tuesday, December 14 at 11:00am-1:30pm (note: I'm using our Tuesday at 12:30-1:45pm time slot to determine when our final exam is). The final exam is worth 20% of your overall grade. Make-up exams will only be given under extreme circumstances, as judged by me. In general, it will be best to communicate conflicts ahead of time.

About Calculators and Other Technology

I am a huge fan of technology and believe that when it is used appropriately, it can greatly enhance one's learning experience. However, when learning, technology should never replace one's own amazing cognitive abilities. When we are discussing concepts in class or when you are doing homework, you should feel free to use whatever resources you feel will help you understand the concepts better. So, feel free to use things like Sage, Lurch, Wolfram|Alpha, your graphing calculator, etc. when doing homework. However, be warned that I am much more interested in the process by which you arrived at your answer than the answer itself. An answer to a homework, lab, or exam question that is correct but lacks justification may be worth little to no points. If you understand a concept, then barring a silly computational error, the correct answer comes along for the ride. Yet, getting the correct answer does not imply that you understand anything! You are not required to purchase a graphing calculator nor will you need them on any of the exams. However, you will be allowed to use a graphing calculator on exams as long as the calculator does not include a computer algebra system (CAS). If you decide to purchase a graphing calculator, I recommend the TI-83 or TI-83 Plus. If you have questions about whether a particular calculator is appropriate or allowed, please ask. I will not spend class time discussing how to use a graphing calculator.

Attendance

Regular attendance is expected and is vital to success in this course, but you will not be graded on attendance.

Basis for Evaluation

Your final grade will be determined by the scores of your homework, labs, exams, and final exam.

Category Weight Notes
Homework 15% each homework assignment worth 5 points
Labs 5% each lab worth 10 points
Midterm Exam 1 20% September 21
Midterm Exam 2 20% October 19
Midterm Exam 3 20% November 16
Final Exam 20% December 14 at 11:00am-1:30pm

Grade Determination

Grades may be "massaged" at the end of the semester, but in general this is what you should expect:

Range Letter Grade
93-100% A
90-92% A-
87-89% B+
83-86% B
80-82% B-
77-79% C+
73-76% C
70-72% C-
67-69% D+
63-66% D
60-62% D-
0-59% F

Additional Information

Getting Help

There are many resources available to get help. First, I recommend that you work on homework in groups as much as possible, and to come see me whenever necessary. Also, you are strongly encouraged to ask questions in the course forum, as I will post comments there for all to benefit from.

To effectively post to the course forum, you will need to learn the basics of LaTeX, the standard language for typesetting in the mathematics community. See the quick LaTeX guide for help with $\LaTeX$. If you need additional help with $\LaTeX$ or editing/posting content to the wiki, post a question in the course forum.

There are substantial resources available online to help you learn the Wikidot markup, which is quite simple. I regularly consult Wikidot's Wiki Syntax page and Wikidot's Quick Reference Guide. Lastly, you can always contact me.

Math Activity Center

This student-run organization provides peer tutoring services for most 1000 and 2000 level math courses and some 3000 level courses. Tutors are typically math majors interested in teaching math and practicing their instructional skills. The Math Activity Center is located in Hyde 351. You can drop in anytime during open hours. For more information see this page.

Student Handbook

The PSU Student Handbook addresses policies pertaining to students with disabilities, religious observation, honor code, general conduct, etc. The Handbook can be found here.

ACT for Growth

All teacher education majors are subject to the Areas of Concern/Targets for Growth policy, which is located here.

Closing Remarks

When does the learning happen? It might happen in class, but most likely it happens when you sit down to do your homework. Most of you can follow what happens on the board in class, but the question is, can you do it on your own? To learn best, you must struggle with mathematics on your own. It is supposed to be difficult. However, if you are struggling too much, then there are resources available for you. I am always happy to help you. If my office hours don't work for you, then we can probably find another time to meet. You can also get help from each other. Get a study buddy! Help each other learn. Go the Math Activity Center. It is your responsibility to be aware of how well you understand the material. Don't wait until it is too late if you need help. Ask questions!