Math 433/533, Theory of Ordinary Differential Equations, Spring 2017, Information and Policies

Please be aware that information provided here is not a promise or contract. It is subject to change at my discretion with reasonable notice. The electronic version, as maintained on the Mathematics Department computer, is the official version.

I will emphasize for this class that this is the first time I am teaching it, so I may make changes in midstream if it seems to be necessary.

Instructor Information

I'm (Melvin) Randall Holmes. My office is in Mathematics 240A. My office number is 426-3011 and my cell phone number is 509-3278. Do not call my cell phone between 6 pm Friday and noon Sunday.

In general terms, the best way to reach me is by email. will reach me; replies will come from (and of course you can use that address too). I read my email constantly (on weekends too) and try to respond reasonably promptly.

Course Communication Channels

Course information will usually appear on the class announcements page (when this is created). Information will sometimes be distributed by email, either from the PeopleSoft class page or directly from me. You should be in the habit of looking at the class page regularly, as that is where homework will be posted. I will not usually describe homework sets in class!

Course Information

This is Math 433, Theory of Ordinary Differential Equations, section 001. It is cross listed as Math 533 as well. Those of you who take it as Math 533 may expect to have extra things to do.

Here is the math department catalog language about the course:

MATH 533 ORDINARY DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS (3-0-3)(S)(Odd years). Theory of linear and nonlinear ordinary differential equations and their systems, including Dynamical systems theory. Properties of solutions including existence, uniqueness, asymptotic behavior, stability, singularities and boundedness. PREREQ: MATH 333.

We meet in Mathematics room 139 TTh from 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm.

Our "final exam" (it will actually be the last hour exam) will be on Thursday May 4, 12:30--2:30 pm in this room.

I am teaching this course for the first time; it may be an adventure! I have Dr. Zubik-Kowal's notes for the class, and I have ordered the text which they are based on:

An Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations (Universitext) by Ravi P. Agarwal and Donal O'Regan, ISBN-13: 978-0387712758, ISBN-10: 0387712755

I would buy this at the bookstore if I were you: consequences of delay of possession of the textbook due to ordering it online and of having the wrong version are really your own problem, and the accommodations I will offer are limited.

Important deadlines

January 13 is the last day on which you can add without a permission number. If you are trying to get in, I will not arrange to admit you until after this date when I have control over who gets in. The deadline to add the course with my permission or drop without a W is January 23. The drop deadline is March 17. Attempts to drop after this date will be difficult.

Evaluation Opportunities

I assign homework regularly and try to grade it reasonably promptly. In this class I expect to assign homework once a week and collect it a week later. My guess is that I will as a rule assign problems on Thursday due on the following Thursday; this gives you a chance to ask questions about things you have trouble with on the Tuesday, but you should not be shy about asking me questions in my office or by email before Tuesday!

Problem sets due after an exam are fair game for that exam if they were assigned two sessions before the exam, so that you had a chance to ask questions. (Such a problem set will probably have been assigned on the Thursday before the exam, which is likely to be on Thursday, and will be due on the Tuesday after the exam; I do not make homework due at exams). I will not usually describe homework sets in class: make sure that you look on the class announcements page regularly!!!

Your total homework grade will count as one test grade. I am planning to give four hour exams, the last one to be held in the final exam period. Dates are to be announced. The weights of the hour exams and the homework grade will be the same; the lowest of these grades will probably be dropped or reduced in weight. Adjustments of this scheme are possible: for example the weight of the homework might be increased to two tests if I thought this helpful.

Individual exams will generally be marked in such a way that the average or median is somewhere around 75 percent (it may be above this if you all do well, or below it if I have a low opinion of class performance). 90 = A, 80 = B, 70 = C, 60 = D. 50 = F as usual. I do not award grades of A+ or C- under any circumstances. I only award the other +/- grades under special circumstances: no point total earns such a grade and I will not negotiate such a grade. You should expect that your grade will be an unqualified letter.

On hour exams you are allowed the use of your writing instrument, your test paper, and a calculator if required. I will supply scratch paper if it is needed. I will supply information in advance of any exam as to what calculator will be needed or permitted.

Classroom Etiquette

I will call you by your last name and expect to be called by mine. Please be aware that I am not good at names and faces; this does not mean that I don't care! (In a class this size, I probably will get all your names and faces correlated!)

Please ensure that your cell phone does not ring in class. Your cell phone must be inaccessible to you during an exam.

You may not listen to a portable music player during an exam. This is self-evident, but I once had a fight with a student about it, so I always say it!

Open Office Policy

I will have posted office hours, at which times you should expect to be able to find me in my office. When I am in my office and it is not a posted office hour, I will usually be willing to help you. Do not be afraid to try to attract my attention (as, by knocking on the door). If I am very busy, I may tell you so and help you only briefly. I will generally not provide material assistance for an exam in my office on the same day that the exam is given.