In addition to the book, you will need regular access to a computer with internet access. It is best if you have your own. There will be required computer lab work using software which is available to download and install on your own computer or which you can use in computer labs at the Math Department. Other course materials will be posted on my web page.
I am anticipating having perhaps two hour exams in the class but no cumulative final exam. The final exam period may however be used for some required activity: you should expect this to happen.
Our final examination period will be on Wednesday December 16 2:30--4:30 pm in the same room.
In past sections of this course (including one taught by me), experimental mathematics involving loosely directed group work has been the entirety of or by far the largest component of the course, with the communication goal being implemented by submitting reports on the results of the mathematical experiments to the instructor.
My take on this is different. I think the the most characteristic form of communication in mathematics is reading and writing proofs, and we will do substantial units on logic and proof, mostly using discrete mathematics content, including taking a couple of hour exams.
Reading and presenting proofs is not the only form of mathematical communication: there will be some experimental labs (leading to group reports) later in the course.
There will be a general requirement that every member of the class make some sort of presentation of mathematical content to the class, either as an individual or with a single partner. The exact implementation of this requirement is not yet clear in my mind; I will be thinking about it.
Otherwise, I do not take attendance and do not need to be contacted if you miss a class, except that of course you need to contact me if you expect to miss an exam, and you may wish to contact me if missing a class affects your ability to get homework in on time.
There is an exception: when we are doing group lab work, I will take attendance, and unexcused absences will have an effect on your lab grade. When you are working in a group, showing up and communicating reliably is essential.
There will be computer labs and experimental group projects which will count as homework assignments
I expect homework (including computer labs and group lab reports) to be turned in on time. My basic policy is that homework turned in on time (or at least, before I get around to grading the assignment) will be graded and returned reasonably promptly. With regard to homework turned in late I do not promise to do more than give a minimal partial grade for the effort of handing it in and hand it back to you, although I may very well mark and return it, possibly with some deficit. I disavow any consistent policy about this: it is best to turn your work in on time.
Individual exams will be marked in such a way that the median grade is a C (about 75) unless I am severely dissatisfied with the level of class performance. I do not curve down: if the average or median raw score is above 75, it will stay there.
Your grade will be computed in the following way: each exam and the total homework/projects grade have equal weight. There may be additional adjustments, such as changing the weight of the homework or adaptively changing the weight of items you do best and/or worst on. I remind you here that everything in this syllabus is subject to change with due notice on my part.
After all adjustments, 90-100 is an A, 80-89 is a B, and so forth. Please note that I very seldom give +/- grades. I do not give grades of A+ or C- under any circumstances at all. I may give the other +/- grades occasionally, where extra considerations arise in borderline cases. No numerical mark by itself earns a +/- grade and I will give these only at my own entire discretion: you cannot bargain for one.
I will not be offended if you arrive late or leave early, as long as you are not disruptive about it. If you expect to have to leave early, seat yourself near an exit. When group work is involved, remember that you can inconvenience your group seriously by absence or failure to communicate.
I will try always to be present during scheduled office hours. If I am not, there will be a notice on the door of where I am and when I can be expected to reappear. I am generally willing to talk to students if I am in my office and it is not my office hour, even if the door is closed. Do not be afraid to knock. I may talk to you only briefly if I am very busy. It is a policy of mine that I do not provide material help on the content of an exam in my office on the same day that the exam is given.