Course Syllabus

Special Notes:

  • Office Hours:
    • Mon:   10:30- 11:30
    • Tues:   9:10- 9:40
    • Tues:   9:50- 10:20
    • Tues:   1:00- 2:00
    • Thurs:  08:30- 09:30
    • Thurs:  11:40- 12:40
    • Fri:   10:30- 11:30
Instr: Dr. Roger Griffiths
Office: Old Main 404 (Tower)
Phone:   824-2123
Location:   Zurn 213
Class Time:   Mon, Wed, Fri:   1:00 - 2:30
Text: Fundamentals of Differential Equations (7th Edition),   by Nagle, Saff, Snider

Goals: Our goals involve gaining an introduction to the mathematical content of ordinary differential equations and their applications. This will include analytical, qualitative and numerical methods for ordinary differential equations.
Prior to calculus, we used our understanding of the rules of algebra to develop techniques for solving algebraic equations. In this class we will use both the rules of algebra and the rules of calculus (e.g., differentiation shortcuts, integration techniques, etc.) to develop techniques for solving differential equations. We will continue to improve our ability to write mathematics.

Why?   The major application of calculus is posing, solving, and understanding solutions of differential equations. Because many laws of nature are equations involving rates at which quantities change, this idea is a derivative, and equations containing derivatives are differential equations. So, in order to understand the many processes of change in the world, one needs to understand differential equations.

Evaluation:   There will be weekly quizzes, occasional take-home assignments, two exams, and a cumulative final exam. Homework will be assigned but not collected. We will occasionally discuss the homework in class, but students are expected to clear up questions using my office hours. Quizzes and tests will be closed-book and administered in class. In-class quiz problems will be very similar to the assigned homework problems. The final exam will be cumulative (and worth twice a mid-term exam).
No makeups will be given!

Grading Policy:
2 exams at 100 points each,
Quiz average out of 100 points, will drop 1 quiz score,
Comprehensive Final exam worth 200 points.

Total Class Points Percent % Letter Grade Interpretation  
470 - 500 94 to 100 A   Exceptional and Rare
450 - 469 90 to 93 B+ Outstanding
420 - 449 84 to 89 B   Very Good
390 - 419 78 to 83 C+ Good
350 - 389 70 to 77 C   Satisfactory - Average
300 - 349 60 to 69 D   Unsatisfactory
0 - 299 Below 60 F   Failure

Course Policies:

Calculators and Computers. You may use a calculator/computer to help learn the material, but not on exams or quizzes. There are several portions of the class that will require the use of a computer, however, all of our examinations are carefully designed to be taken "closed book" without the use of calculators or computers. Examination problems will focus on the basic methods and problem solving techniques which every student of differential equations must know without a calculator or textbook.

Important Dates to Remember:
Exam 1: Wednesday, April 3rd
Exam 2: Friday, April 26th
Final Examination: Wednesday, May 15th; 10:30 - 12:30

There will be a link to your grades from our class web-page (these are NOT on blackboard). To check your grade login with your (Mercyhurst) email address as user name and your student ID as your password. You may change your password or email address once you have logged in. Access to your grades will be further explained in class.


Suggested Homework:     I do not collect or grade the homework. You will be held accountable for the mastery of homework problems via the quizzes (which can occur any day). As such, you get no credit for merely attempting the homework, your goal is independent mastery of each type of problem assigned. The quizzes serve as an immediate assessment of the extent to which you mastered a particular assignment. Good quiz results should serve as positive feedback, but poor quiz results mean you must go back and master that material.

Homework is far and away the single most important part of any mathematics course because this is when most of the learning takes place. Homework problems will be assigned regularly and I expect you to do them. If you are unable to do a problem I expect you to find out how to do it.
You have at your disposal several means of meeting this expectation.
You can stick with it until you figure it out yourself.
You can discuss the problem with a classmate or several classmates (strongly encouraged).
You can ask me about the problem in class, time permitting.
You can see me individually during my office hours. I am always happy to talk to you during my office hours or at any other time if not otherwise committed.
You can discuss the problem with anyone who can and is willing to help you.
Simply ignoring a problem that you are unable to solve is not acceptable.
You should continue to work problems of a given type (even beyond the assigned problems) until you see the pattern yourself, without assistance of any type.
As you 'PRACTICE', keep in mind our stated goal 'to improve our ability to write mathematics, you will want to practice in the manner you will be accessed.

In keeping with college policy, any student with a disability who needs academic accommodations must call Learning Differences Program secretary at 824-3017, to arrange a confidential appointment with the director of the Learning Differences Program during the first week of classes.

Last modified: 18 Apr 15
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