Course Procedures

Mathematics 333---Differential Equations

Instructor: Carol S. Schumacher

Class Meets

TR 9:40-11 p.m.

in PRC L09

If you have any questions, please ask during class, after class, or during my Office hours Or E-mail me at

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Text:  Differential Equations, 4th Edition by Paul Blanchard, Robert L. Devaney, and Glen R. Hall.

Grading: The grade will be calculated based on 5  components:

Homework assignments
Guidelines for submitting homework
10% of the final grade
Projects (three)
Projects 1 and 2 are each worth 7% of the final grade; Project 3 is worth 6% of the final grade
Quizzes 10% of the final grade
Tests (Three) Each is 15% of the final grade
Final examination 15% of the final grade

In addition, regular class attendance and class participation are expected. Due to the nature of the course, a failure to fulfill these expectations will result in a lower course grade.

Homework Assignments: For every section that we cover, I will suggest several practice problems for you to work on. The only way to truly learn mathematics is by doing mathematics. For this reason, the suggested problems are probably the most important aspect of the course. I will grade a selection of the problems and give completion credit for the rest. I encourage you to come to my office hours to discuss any questions that you have regarding the problems.

Beyond just providing practice, the problems are meant to be extend and deepen the understanding you have gained from the reading and the class period. The problems are not always easy, but the thought that goes into them always pays off in the long run. All of this means that much of the learning you do will be done outside of the classroom, but it doesn't mean that when class is dismissed you are on your own. I strongly recommend that you discuss concepts and solution techniques with your fellow classmates. Furthermore, I hope that you do not consider office hours to be a last resort. Office hours are an important part of any class, and I plan to make myself available to you whenever possible. There is much that can be done to explain material on a one-on-one basis that is just not possible in large group setting.

The two lowest homework grades will be dropped.

Guidelines for submitting your homework

  1. Homework is due at the start of class on the assigned due date, unless I specify otherwise. Late homework will not be accepted. If you know that you will be missing class for some reason, (for example, sporting events, your sister's wedding, religious holidays, etc.) you should turn in assignments beforehand or have someone turn them in for you. Assignments that are not turned in due to an unexpected emergency absence will be dropped, provided the absence is excused.
  2. The homework packet should have your name clearly written in the upper right hand corner of the first page and it should be stapled in the upper left hand corner. There is not a stapler available in the classroom, so plan ahead.
  3. Your homework will be evaluated on neatness, completeness, and correctness. Homework solutions should be legible and presented in a logical fashion, with the problem number clearly indicated.
  4. Working with your fellow students is encouraged, but assignments must be written up individually unless you are told to turn in a group assignment. If you did work with other students on the problems, you should indicate this on your paper. (This will not cost you any credit; it is simply a matter of academic honesty.)

Projects: Expressing your ideas in writing is essential in any discipline, including mathematics. There will be three class projects this semester. Each project has two major components. The first is to work out the mathematical details of the problem that you are assigned. The second is to make sense of those mathematical details and to organize them into a coherent narrative. The paper may very well include symbols, computation and graphs; however, these will need to be accompanied by generous verbal explanations that explain the mathematical ideas. You will be expected to write clearly and coherently, using correct mathematical and English grammar. You will be working with one or two partners on each project, and your group will turn in a single paper. Assignments are not considered submitted until physically in the possession of the instructor. One point will be deducted for each hour a project is late.

Writing math papers:  Write as if your intended audience was a fellow student in the course who has not considered the question you have been asked to write on.  In other words, the instructor is not your intended reader; you are writing to a first-time student of calculus who knows only what you knew when you began to work out the details of the topic on which you are writing. The essay must not assume your reader has access to a statement that defines the problem.  You thus need to provide introductory material and diagrams that set up the problem as well as explaining the solution to it. 

Quizzes: Periodic quizzes (about 15 minutes each) will be given throughout the course. In addition, the instructor reserves the right to give a pop quiz at any time during the course. No makeup quizzes will be given. Quizzes will be reflective of examples done in class and homework problems. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped. (The quiz dates on the assignment schedule are approximate.)

Tests: You will have three major tests during the semester. The second will cover mostly the material which has been covered since the first test; likewise, the third will cover mostly what has been covered since the second. However, you will be responsible for all the material covered in the course in as much as it relates to the topics being tested. 

Test dates

First Test Tuesday, February 5, 2013  
Second Test Thursday, March 28, 2013  
Third Test Thursday, April 25, 2013 *
Final Examination Thursday, May 9, 2013 From  8:30-11:30 a.m.

The final examination will be a cumulative three hour final held at the time specified by the registrar for period B---Thursday, May 9, 2013 from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Academic honesty: Though you are encouraged to work with other students on outside assignments, it is understood that every piece of written or computer-generated work that you submit must finally be your own. In any case, if you work with a fellow student or students, you should make a note of this on your paper. (There is no penalty for this! It is merely a matter of academic honesty.) If the assignment is a group assignment, the members of the group should contribute equally to writing the final product---in other words, don't put your name on a paper written by others. For further information, consult the student handbook or ask your instructor.

Resources for help: Prof. Schumacher is the primary source for help with the course. Do not hesitate to ask questions in or out of class.Other students in your class can also be a source of help. It is well-documented that having a classmate with whom to work and talk regularly about classwork improves performance in mathematics courses. You need not look for a student who "knows more" than you do. This arrangement works best for both partners if the students who are working together are well matched in ability and background.

Disabilities: If you have a physical, psychological, or learning disability that may impact your ability to carry out assigned course work, feel free to discuss your concerns in private with me, but you should also consult the Office of Disability Services at 5453. The Coordinator of Disability Services, Erin Salva (, will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are appropriate. (All information and documentation of disability is confidential.) It is Ms. Salva that has the authority and the expertise to decide on the accommodations that are proper for your disability. Though I am happy to help you in any way I can, I cannot make any special accommodations without proper authorization from Ms. Salva.