Math 130-01: Calculus I
Syllabus Revisions for Weeks 9 through 15
Statement About the Pandemic
We have been thrown out of our regular classroom routine into a world of on-line classes, with almost no warning or time for preparation. And that is just one small aspect of a world dealing with a global crisis. There is no way that the rest of this course will be all that it would have been, but we all need to try to make the course as good as it can be under the circumstances. I will try to preserve some sense of continuity and normalcy in the course, and I will cover as much as possible of the material that we were originally scheduled to cover. However, I recognize that this is a time of great stress for all of us. I will try to take that into account, while at the same time running a rigorous and useful course.
I have your grades for the first eight weeks of the course. It is a fact of life in courses like this one that, with a few exceptions, most students' final grades do not differ all that much from their midterm grades. My policy for final grades will be that if you participate in the rest of the course and turn in homework that represents a reasonable attempt under the circumstances, then your final grade will not be lower than your midterm grade. (On my grading scale, the passing grade for a C- is 65%.) You will still have the opportunity to improve that grade, but you can only lower it by not participating in the rest of the course. More detailed policies are discussed below.
There is no way that on-line classes with Zoom can be as satisfactory as in-person classes. After one week of trying to lecture on-line, I find the experience to be difficult and exhausting. I really miss the sense of connection with people in the audience. However, I see some hopeful signs that the classes can still be worthwhile, if we work together to improve them. (I acknowledge that there is certainly room for improvement.)
Feedback about the course would be appreciated. Consider contributing to the "Running this course" discussion in Canvas. If you want to send more private comments, you can email me or message me in Canvas.
I hope to keep people from drifting away from this course. To help stop that from happening, I am imposing a participation requirement for the last five weeks of the course. The following are "participation events" that will count towards this participation requirement:
- Come to a regular on-line Zoom class.
- Come to the office hours scheduled in our regular meeting time and ask some questions.
- Meet with me for an individual appointment in office hours.
- Send me a message in Canvas (using "Write" in your "Inbox") about the material being covered in the course. The message should be substantive. Explain some concept from the current readings in your own words. Or ask a question that shows that you are engaging with the material. (Email would also be acceptable, but Canvas messages are preferred because Canvas keeps a record of our communications.)
- Make significant contributions about the course or the course material to Canvas "Discussions."
You should plan to have at least two "participation events" every week. I understand that this might not be possible every week, but even if you cannot participate in any of the ways listed above, you should try to send me at least a short email to let me know that you are still involved in the course.
There will be several more homework assignments during the rest of the semester. To help me keep homework submissions organized, I am asking that you turn in your work through Canvas, if possible. (If that is not possible for you for some reason, let me know.)
I will grade homework as usual, but as noted above, as long as you make an attempt to do most of the assignments, your grade on remaining assignments will not lower the grade that you had at midterm.
I will accept photos of your work, but photos are not easy to grade, so I would appreciate it if you could find better ways to submit. A PDF would be good. (There are apps that can scan documents with your phone's camera and assemble them into a PDF. If you know or want to learn LaTeX, you can use that to make nice PDFs.) Maybe you could use a drawing program to make diagrams and graphs, instead of drawing them by hand. A Microsoft Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice document would be OK. A plain text file would be OK for many homework problems, even though you would have to type things like dy/dx for the derivative.
There will be no labs for the rest of the semester. However, our lab TA, Nick Mckenny, will have office hours via Zoom duing our usual lab period, and I might drop by occasionally during those times as well. I will be putting some "lab-type" problems on the homework, that is, problems that require more thinking and that introduce some new concepts that are not covered in the class. Remember that you are allowed to work with other people on the homework, if you can find some way to continue to do that. It might be possible for Nick to assign people into "breakout rooms" where several people can have a discussion apart from the other people attending the office hours. There will be some experimentaion involved. If people find Nick's office hours useful, he might be able to offer some additional hours.
About Quizzes and Exams
Giving quizzes and regular exams under the circumstances would be difficult or impossible. (However, there might be some practice quizzes or Canvas quizzes assigned as homework.) We were scheduled to have one-more in-class test and a final exam. I would like to eliminate the in-class test and replace the in-class final exam with some kind of final assessment. The final assessment will probably be either a take-home final exam or a final exam given on Canvas. However, I am willing to consider other ideas.
I had a policy of dropping two quiz grades and then dropping one grade at the end of the course, but doing that in the same form will no longer be possible. I did drop one out of the four quiz grades. For most people, the grades on labs, quizzes, homework, and tests were similar. If you have one poor grade among these that you were counting on dropping, you should consult with me about finding some way to replace that grade.
Here is a tentative schedule of topics for the last five weeks of the course:
|Mar. 30 to Apr. 3||
Mean Value Theorem
|Apr. 6 to 10||Graphing||Section 4.5
|Apr. 13 to 17||Max-Min problems||Section 4.7|
|Apr. 20 to 24||
|Apr. 27 to May 1||Antiderivatives||Section 4.10|
|May 4||Wrap-up and Review.|