M408R, Calculus for Biologists
Web page: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/sadun/F16/M408R
Calc Lab: The Math Department Calculus Lab (see
www.ma.utexas.edu/academics/undergraduate/calculus-lab/ ) is open starting on the second week of class. This is a joint TA session for all calculus classes taught at UT, and will be staffed at all times by multiple TAs and undergraduate Learning Assistants. No matter what your question, you can always get help at Calc Lab.
Textbook (required): Calculus in Context, by Callahan et al, Available free online at www.math.smith.edu/Local/cicintro/ . (If you want a hard copy, it costs about $80 new on Amazon, and a lot less used.)
Software (required): You will need to buy a copy of MATLAB. UT does have a site license and MATLAB is loaded on all of the math department computers. However, you will need to bring a laptop, with MATLAB loaded, to discussion section, and occasionally to lecture. The student edition of MATLAB costs $50, or you can get it bundled with Simulink (a really good statistics package) for $99.
Scope of course: M408R is a 1-semester survey of calculus. As such, it covers more ground than the first semester of a 2-sememster sequence, but with a very different emphasis. We will cover Chapters 1-6 of Callahan, and part of Chapter 11.
Goals for the class:
Learning the key ideas of calculus, which I call the six pillars.
2. Track the changes (derivatives)
3. What goes up has to stop before is can come down (max/min)
4. The whole is the sum of the parts (integrals)
5. The whole change is the sum of the partial changes (fundamental theorem)
6. One variable at a time.
Learning to analyze a mathematical model using calculus.
Learning how to apply the results of the model back into the real world.
Learning enough formulas and calculational methods to make the other goals possible. There
are three questions associated with every mathematical idea in existence:
2. How do you compute it?
3. What is it good for?
Exam schedule: There will be in-class midterm exams on Wednesday, September 21, Monday October 17, and Monday, November 21. The final exam will be on Tuesday morning, December 13, 9-12. Exams are closed book, but you will be allowed a single sheet of handwritten (by you!) notes for the midterms, and two sheets for the final exam.
Calculators: You are welcome to use whatever you want in class and for homework, but only very basic calculators will be allowed on exams. If it has a screen that shows anything besides numbers, or if it allows programs of any kind, or if it has built-in statistical functions like linear regression, it is not allowed. So don't waste your money on a fancy graphing calculator!! Save the expense and buy MATLAB for your laptop instead.
Classroom procedure: We will provide you with a variety of online learning resources on Quest, keyed to sections of the book. These learning modules were prepared by Bill Wolosensky and me, and are intended to explain and supplement the sections of the book that we are covering. You are expected to study the material and answer some fairly easy online questions before lecture. Then, in a typical lecture session, we will discuss what you've studied (bring questions!) and you will work in teams on harder and more thought-provoking problems, while I circulate and talk with you about them.
Discussion sections and worksheets (10% of course grade): Much of your learning will come from working on tutorial worksheets on the different topics. These are intended to be done in groups of 3 or 4. You will form your groups on the first discussion day, Thursday August 25. If you join the class later on, you will be assigned to an existing group. We may start on some tutorials in lecture, but the Tuesday-Thursday discussion sections is the main place where you will work on these. Attendance is required, and the worksheets are to be turned in at the end of the hour. If you are absent you will receive a 0 for the worksheet, and if you did not actively participate in your group's discussion, you may receive a reduced grade. I will drop your lowest 3 worksheet scores at the end of the semester. Mini-projects (6% of course grade) These are larger assignments to be done over a longer time scale. They should be done in the same groups of 3 or 4 that you use for the worksheets. I will drop your lowest score at the end of the semester. Individual homework (9% of course grade): You will also be given homework, mostly from the book, due roughly once every one or two weeks. Unlike the worksheets and mini-projects, these are to be done largely on your own. You are welcome to talk about these problems with me, or with your friends, but each student should turn in his or her own work, and what you turn in should reflect your understanding. Copying somebody else's solution is cheating. I will drop your lowest score at the end of the semester.
Preclass/Learning Modules (5%): Our online content delivery system is called Quest, which can be accessed by going to the page at quest.cns.utexas.edu, logging in, and selecting this class. You will be charged a one-time $30 fee to use this service, which is mandatory for this class. This is where you will find your learning modules, aka preclass assignments. There are learning modules, also known as preclass assignments for each section of the book that we are covering. These include videos, text, and questions for you to answer. The questions are intended to be easy, and are mostly intended to get you ready to learn the material in more depth in lecture. The questions are due at midnight the night before the class in which that section is scheduled to be taught. Your three lowest Quest scores will be
dropped at the end of the semester. No late work will be accepted for any reason other than religious holidays. As noted elsewhere, I will drop some of the assignment scores to allow for the fact that stuff happens, much of it beyond our control. Please do not ask if I will accept a late assignment. I won't.
Academic honesty: The University is a place of honor and mutual respect, and students deserve to be treated with courtesy and trust. However, betraying that trust is dishonorable and unforgivable. On an evolutionary scale, cheaters belong somewhere between tapeworms and cockroaches. If you are caught cheating, you will be penalized as harshly as possible under the rules of UT. Most students are honest, honest students do not like cheaters, and they do report what they see.
Grading: Each midterm counts 15%. The final exam counts 25%. The preclass homework counts 5%, the worksheets 10%, the individual homeworks 9% and the mini-projects count 6%. If you do badly on a midterm, or miss a midterm for any reason, then I will substitute the final exam in its place. (E.g., if you bomb one midterm, then your grade will based on 15% each for the other midterms and 40% for the final.) If you do badly on (or miss) two or more midterms, you're out of luck. The final
exam will not substitute for the preclass, worksheet, homework or mini-projects. 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):
even in unusual settings.
A "B" means that you can do the standard problems we have done during the semester, but
struggle with novel applications.
A "C" means that you understand the techniques of the class well enough to handle a class that
has M408R 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 I'm only going to 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. Furthermore, a 90% average will guarantee you at least an A-, an 80% average a B-, and a
70% average a C-. My cutoffs are usually more generous than that, but each semester is unique.
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
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 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.
UT Core Requirements: This course may be used to fulfill the mathematics component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following three core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, and empirical
and quantitative skills. Stress: If at any time you feel overwhelmed by your coursework, or by campus life, please contact
the Counselling and Mental Health Center
Student Services Bldg (SSB), 5th Floor
Hours: M--F 8am--5pm
512 471 3515
For what it's worth, I had serious anxiety issues myself about a dozen years ago. I know how hard it can be. A combination of counselling and medication helped me turn things around. There is no shame in seeking help, and the upside can be enormous.
Guns: Open carry of firearms, and concealed carry by people who do not hold a Licence to Carry (LTC) or a Concealed Handgun Licence (CHL), are forbidden throughout campus. In addition, LTC and CHL permit holders may not bring concealed firearms to my office (RLM 9.114). According to state law and UT policy, I do not have the authority to ban guns in class, in the TA office, or in CalcLab. However, I respectfully request that licence holders do not bring their weapons
to any of these places. The mere thought of an armed classroom scares the daylights out of your instructor, and out of many of your fellow students.