Class: MTWRF 10:00 - 10:50 Language (LANG) 301
Instructor: Mark Brittenham
Office Hours: (tentatively) Tu 2:00 - 3:00, We 11:00-12:00, We 2:00 - 3:00, and Th 1:00 - 2:00, and whenever you can find me in my office and I'm not horrendously busy. You are also quite welcome to make an appointment for any other time; this is easiest to arrange just before or after class.
Text: Precalculus, by Larson and Hostetler (4th edition).
This course, as the name is intended to imply, will provide you with (nearly) all of the tools needed to make a successful attack on the calculus. We will make a good stab at covering the entire book during the semester. In particular, we will cover the following sections of the text (although not necessarily in this order):
Other topics will be included as time allows.
Homework will be assigned from each section, as we finish it. It is an essential ingredient to the course - as with almost all of mathematics, we learn best by doing (again and again and ...). Cooperation with other students on these assignments is acceptable, and even encouraged. However, you must write up solutions on your own - after all, you get to bring only one brain to exams (and it can't be someone else's). For the same reason, I also recommend that you try working each problem on your own, first. Assignments will be due two class periods after it is assigned (e.g., Mo assignment due on We, Th assigment due the following Mo). Some fraction of the problems will be graded; but I highly recommend that you not try to second-guess the instructor, and work them all. Homeworks handed in late will be recorded as turned in but not graded. Homework will count 15% toward your grade.
Midterm exams will be given four times during the semester, approximately every third Tuesday - the specific dates will be announced in class well in advance. Each exam will count 15% toward your grade. You can take a make-up exam only if there are compelling reasons (a doctor SAYS you were sick, jury duty, etc.) for you to miss an exam. Make-up exams tend to be harder than the originals (because make-up exams are harder to write!).
Finally, there will be a regularly scheduled final exam on Wednesday, December 17, from 8:00am to 10:00am. It will cover the entire course, with a slight emphasis on material covered after the last midterm exam. It will count the remaining 25% toward your grade.
Your course grade will be calculated numerically using the above scales, and will be converted to a letter grade based partly on the overall average of the class. However, a score of 90% or better will guarantee an A, 80% or better a B, 70% or better a C, and 60% or better a D.
In mathematics, new concepts continually rely upon the mastery of old ones; it is therefore essential that you thoroughly understand each new topic before moving on. Our classes are an important opportunity for you to ask questions; to makesure that you are understanding concepts correctly. Speak up! It'syour education at stake. Make every effort to resist the temptation to put off work, to fall behind. Every topic has to be gotten through, not around. And it's alot easier to read 100 pages in a week than it is in a day. Try to do some mathematics every single day. Class attendance is probably your best way to insure that you will keep up with the material, and make sure that you understand all of the concepts. I will not be taking attendance; I expect that you will simply see the wisdom of attending class, for yourselves.
Calculators are terrific devices for finding (approximate) numerical answers. However, the goal of this course is to teach you how to find the answers, not to actuallyget the answers. And the numbers we will typically be tossing around will be simple enough that using a calculator would just get in the way. Consequently, you are requested not to use them, except perhaps as a way to verify the correctness of your work. Get used to not using them, however, because they will be specifically banned from most of our exams.
Note: In accordance with UNT policies, it is the responsibility of students with certified disabilities to provide the instructor with appropriate documentation from the Dean of Students Office.