M408N, Differential Calculus for Scientists

  • Unique numbers: 54850, 54855, 54860
  • Lectures TuTh 11:00-12:30, JGB 2.216
  • Discussion Sections:
    54850: MW 9-10, CBA 4.344
    54855: MW 12-1, RLM 7.124
    54860: MW 3-4, JES A303A
  • Web page: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/sadun/F11/408N
  • Professor: Lorenzo Sadun, RLM 9.114, x1-7121, sadun@math.utexas.edu
  • Teaching Assistant: Andrew Kontaxis, RLM 11.130, akontaxis@math.utexas.edu
  • Sadun office hours: W 10-11, Th 2-3. I generally keep an open door and welcome visitors at all times.
  • Kontaxis office hours: M10:30-12, F 2-3:30
  • Textbook: Calculus, Early Transcendentals, by Stewart, 7th edition.
  • Prerequisites: This class is restricted to students in the College of Natural Sciences who have scored 70% or higher on the ALEKS assessment. If you do not meet these conditions, you will be dropped from the class around August 29 or 30.
  • Syllabus: The beginning through Section 5.3 of the book, with occasional skipped sections. You can find an online day-by-day schedule here.
  • Philosophy: Calculus has a reputation of being a hard class that features a million different equations to be memorized. There are a lot of formulas and techniques, but almost everything boils down to six simple ideas. The purpose of lecture is to explain those ideas, and to explain how each new formula or technique follows naturally from those ideas. The purpose of the homework is to drill those formulas and techniques. The purpose of discussion sections, and of office hours, is to talk one-on-one with a mathematician about whatever isn't clear. Think of it as free tutoring by expert tutors, and don't skip class.
  • Homework and attendance: Homework will be due in lecture every day, except for exam days and the first day of class. That's 25 assignments. See hw.html for the latest information. Late homework will not be accepted, even a few minutes after class is over, unless you are sick or have made prior arrangements with me. In other words, you must attend class every day!

    The homework is divided roughly 50-50 between written homework, based on problems in the book, and online homework with the Quest system. The written homework will be collected in lecture and distributed in discussion. The online homework will typically be due the night before the written homework is due.

    Each written homework will be graded on a 10-point scale. 5 of those points will be for completing all of the problems. 5 points are for the accuracy of your solution to one selected problem. If you work the "problem of the day" in discussion section and turn in your solution with your homework, you will automatically get the full 5 points for accuracy.

    At the end of the semester I will drop your lowest three Quest scores and your lowest three written homework scores, and average the rest.
  • Discussion Sections: The discussion sections are an important part of the course, where you will be able to work in small supervised groups and get the hang of whatever you are having trouble with. Part of each discussion will be devoted to working a "problem of the day".
  • Exams: There will be two in-class midterm exams, on Tuesday September 27 and Thursday October 27 (right before drop day), plus a final exam on Tuesday morning, December 13, 9-12. These exams will all be closed book and calculators will not be allowed. However, each student will be allowed to bring a single letter-sized ``crib sheet'' (2-sided) to each midterm, and 2 crib sheets to the final. These notes must be HANDWRITTEN ORIGINALS - NO XEROXING ALLOWED.
  • Grading: Each midterm counts 30%. The final exam counts 40%. The homework, taken together, counts 20%. At the end of the term I will drop your lowest 20%. (For instance, if your worst score is a midterm, then that midterm only counts 10%, while if your worst score is the final, then the final only counts 20%.) If you miss a midterm exam because of illness, then your grade will be based 25% on the other midterm, 50% on the final and 25% on the homework, with no grades dropped.

    The final grade distribution is neither a straight scale nor a fixed curve. The cutoffs will be set at the end of the semester, based on overall class performance, with the following qualitative standard for the major grades (with obvious adjustments for plusses and minuses):
  • An "A" means that you understand the ideas of the course well enough that you can use them even in unusual settings.
  • A "B" means that you can do the standard problems we have done during the semester, but can't do anything new.
  • A "C" means that you understand the techniques of the class well enough to handle a class (such as M408S) that has M408N as a prerequisite.
  • A "D" means that you have learned a substantial amount, but that you are not prepared to take that successor course.
  • An "F" means that you have failed to grasp the essential concepts of the course.

    Grading isn't an exact science, and all I'm going to do is adjust cutoffs. Nobody will leapfrog anybody else. If you have more points than your buddy, then your grade will be at least as good as your buddy's, no matter what my general impressions of the two of you are. Furthermore, a 90% average will guarantee you at least an A-, an 80% average a B-, and a 70% average a C-. Most of the time, my cutoffs are significantly more lenient than that.
  • Disabilities: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY
  • Quest Fees: This course makes use of the web-based Quest content delivery and homework server system maintained by the College of Natural Sciences. This homework service will require a $22 charge per student. Please go to quest.cns.utexas.edu to log into the Quest system for this class. After the 12th class day, you will be asked to pay via credit card.
  • Drop dates: The deadline for dropping the class without the course appearing on your transcript is September 9. After that date, a "Q" will appear on your record. The deadline for dropping, period, is November 1.
  • Religious Holidays: I have tried to schedule major class events to avoid major religious holidays, and I apologize if I overlooked something. If you expect to miss class or miss an assignment because of a religious holiday, please let me know 14 days in advance, and you will be given the opportunity to make up the missed work within a reasonable time.