Math 187, Fall 2008: Information and Policies

Link to class schedule


M. Randall Holmes


We meet in MG 118 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 1:40 pm to 2:30 pm.

Office and Hours:

Office: Math/Geology 240A. Hours: To be determined after consulting you all. See ``open office policy'' below.


My office telephone number is 6-3011 (426-3011 from off-campus). My home telephone number is 345-2899: students are welcome to call me but please no calls after 8:30 pm any day or between 6 pm Friday and noon Sunday.

Electronic Information:

WWW (web page):

I read my e-mail constantly and respond promptly. An electronic version of the syllabus, which will include homework assignments, will be accessible from my web page. The electronic version is the official syllabus, and any changes will be posted there and not distributed on paper.  Please note that this document was obtained by editing the Spring 2007 document; please call any editing errors caused by this to my attention.


Participants in this class should read their electronic mail regularly; I do post announcements to the class using this medium.  You might want to set up your BSU e-mail to forward to an e-mail account you use more often.  You should also get into the habit of looking on my main web page for relevant announcements.  In addition, it is your responsibility to read the web class schedule to find out what your homework assignments are and when they are due.

Title of Course:

Math 187: Discrete and Foundational Mathematics. This is section 002. The department generic syllabus for this course, which discusses its contribution to the goals of the University Core Curriculum, is found as an attachment to this document in its paper version or at the URL Some specific material about the goals of this class in relation to the Core Curriculum prepared by your instructor for the University Core Assessment exercise is posted here.


Scheinerman, Edward,  Mathematics, a discrete introduction, second edition.  This is the same book that has been used for several terms so there will be some used copies in the bookstore.


The add deadline (and deadline for dropping without a W) is September 8. The drop deadline is October 3. Petitions to drop classes after this date are usually unsuccessful. Dates for in-class exams: September 12, October 3, October 31 (boo!), December 5.   These dates are firm.  The final exam will be December 17, 1-3 pm, in our regular room.


We may sometimes have occasion to use calculators in class. Use of a plain scientific calculator (without graphing or symbolic computation capabilities) will be allowed on tests, and is sometimes actually needed. Make sure you have such a calculator if you want to use a calculator on tests. You may not use cell phones or PDAs (such as Palm Pilots or Pocket PC's) as calculators during any exam. No exceptions will be made.   I have historically brought the department’s lost and found non-graphing calculators to exams and distributed them on a first-come, first-served basis, but this is not an obligation of mine; if I forget to do this or decide not to do it you will need to have brought a permitted calculator or you will have to take the exam without a calculator.


Homework will be assigned regularly.  If you hand homework assignments in to me 2 days after they are assigned, I will correct and return them.  Specific problems in each assignment will be graded.  Questions about homework will be answered at the beginning of each period.  Homework handed in late may or may not be attended to.  There may also be quizzes and possibly computer labs which will go into your homework grade. Your total homework grade will count as one hour exam grade; on each assignment, you receive 30 percent credit for handing it in (late papers will receive this 30 percent), and your performance on the problems I select to grade will determine how many of the remaining 70 possible percentage points you receive.


How Your Course Grade Will Be Computed:

I expect to give four in-class exams this term and the final. There will not be review days for exams or for the final, though I will be willing to take questions about exams during the usual time for homework discussion (within reason). Exams will generally be linearly scaled so that the median grade in the class corresponds to a mid-range C (75 percent) unless I am seriously dissatisfied with overall class performance. Your cumulative homework grade is treated as another exam.  Each exam is worth 100 points.  The final counts 200 points; your percentage grade on the final may replace the lowest of the other five exam grades (including the homework grade as an exam grade) if this helps you. 90 or above is an A; 80 or above is a B; 70 or above is a C; 60 or above is a D; lower grades are F (after any scaling).  I may occasionally use the new +/- grading, but only in borderline cases where special considerations exist; you should not expect to get such a grade, nor does any numerical score entitle you to such a grade.

Eligibility for this Class:

No exceptions will be made. If the computer tells me that you don't meet prerequisite or placement exam standards for this course, I will free your seat for someone who does meet them (in fact, the office staff now does this before it even comes to my attention).


Attendance will not be taken except on the first two days. If you do not attend this class on at least one of the first two days, I will exercise my option to have you administratively withdrawn (though not until after the third day of classes).

Open Office Policy:

My office hours for these classes are to be announced. I will almost always be in my office at the officially scheduled times, and I will try to warn you when I will not be. If I am in my office during a posted office hour, I am available to help you. Don't assume that these are the only times when you can get help! I am never offended by a student asking me for help if I am in the office (though I may help only briefly if I am very busy).  I may or may not be on campus on Thursdays when I have no classes; on other days I usually come in at about 7:40 am and leave some time between 3 and 5 pm.

Late Work and Makeups:

Makeups for exams will be possible, and should if possible be arranged in advance of your absence.

Academic Honesty:

The penalty for cheating (defined as looking at another student's paper or unauthorized use of books or notes during an exam) will be a grade of zero (0) on the relevant exam. A repeat offense will mean an F in the course.

Courtesy Issues:

Cellular phones must be turned off during class. If there is a good reason that you must await a phone call during class, please inform me in advance and minimize the disruption by sitting near an exit. Cell phones must be turned off (no exceptions whatsoever) during an exam. You do not need to contact me if you are missing class or if you need to arrive late or leave early; but I do need you to enter or leave the class quietly in either case. Of course, you do need to contact me, preferably in advance, if you are missing an exam. You may not use a Walkman or any other portable audio device during an exam.


The word ``yesterday'' is defined to mean the previous class session; the word ``tomorrow'' is defined to mean the next class session, unless I specifically say otherwise :-)