General Policies and Procedures

Matthias K. Gobbert

Study Suggestion

While I realize that you have only a limited amount of time available for this class, the following strategy has proven very successful in studying for math classes, and I strongly advise its use: Prepare for the lecture by reading the scheduled section(s) in the textbook; even if you do not understand everything, you will have an overview of what to expect in class. At this point, you should review any section, that might be needed as background for the new material. Then attend the lecture and take your own notes. Afterwards, you should review the textbook and your notes as much as necessary to understand the material; test yourself by working out the examples in the text! At this point, you are ready to do the homework problems for this section as a final test of your understanding. You should realize that this approach actually saves time over the whole semester, since it is easier to do homework problems right after studying the material, and thus reinforcing the lecture. Also, by starting all homework problems as early as possible, you have the opportunity to get additional help before the due date. You should expect to spend at least three hours of your own time for every hour of lecture per week.


The purpose of homework is to reinforce concepts introduced in class and to help guide you in your own explorations of the course subject. Mathematics can only be learned by applying these concepts yourself. Only as a secondary purpose is the homework designed to help your evaluation and to prepare you for the tests.

Please note that the homework is due in class, at the beginning of the lecture to be precise. No guarantee can be given for homework turned in at any other time and/or place. I will accept late homework only in exceptional situations, provided approval for late homework has been obtained by the due date. If late homework is accepted, it will ordinarily still accrue a penalty of 10 % of the possible points for each day from the due date until my receiving it (including weekends and holidays). I reserve the right to exclude any problem from grading on late homework, for instance, if I have talked about it in class. Do not leave homework at my office, if I am not present, as it may get destroyed by the cleaning crew. Also note that the department does not have sufficient resources to accept homework, so do not try to turn in homework to the department secretary, please.

Documentation of Computer Problems

The presentation of computer problems should be a complete and self-contained report such that the reader, who is unfamiliar with the problem, can understand the problem to be solved, your solution to it including your computer code, the manner in which the results were obtained, and your interpretation of the results. The level of your report should be appropriate for a student, who has a similar background as your classmates but is not familiar with the problem; as a result of reading your report, this student should be able to reproduce your results. Correct and complete results for a computer problem are never worth more than half of the points for the problem. The explanation of your solution method and the interpretation of the results is required in all cases. You are always required to submit a complete printout of all computer code used.

Here are some ideas on what to include in your presentation:

  1. State the problem in your own words, introducing notation and formulas as needed. Then derive your solution as mathematically required.
  2. Next explain how you obtained your numerical results. You must explain the key idea behind your code as well as state how you used the code. Attach a program listing of your code at the end of each problem, but it should be possible to understand your results without reading it.
  3. Present all enclosed results by introducing and explaining all tables and figures that follow. These must be accompanied by a critical discussion; for instance, you should contrast your results to your expectations, your experience with other solution methods, or mathematical theorems, as appropriate.


The number and type of exams is given in the syllabus. The final exam is comprehensive and will cover all material covered in the course. Additional quizzes might be given, if deemed necessary. While the grading scale will be adjusted later to some degree to reflect the level of difficulty of the exams, the following may serve as a guideline based on prior experience:

Score above 90% 80% 65% 50% otherwise
Letter grade A B C D F

Please notice that this syllabus is subject to change by announcement in class, in particular the weight distribution and the grading scale.

Policy on Academic Misconduct

You are encouraged to work in groups, since it is vital that you learn to communicate mathematical ideas, but everyone should write out their own final solution independently. Copying homework or any other material is considered cheating and a serious violation of the student honor code as defined in the catalog and the directory. You are encouraged to review the codes and policies there. If a violation is observed, you can expect me to pursue the matter to the full extent of the policy, including but not necessarily limited to issuing a failing grade for academic misconduct. The right is reserved to check a picture identification at any time. I apologize for these drastic statements, but past experiences have forced me to add this paragraph to the syllabus. Please, remember that I am charged with enforcing academic integrity in order to preserve the quality and reputation of your education, grades, and degree at this university. When in doubt about something or if you have any questions on this matter, feel free to contact me.
Copyright © 1999-2001 by Matthias K. Gobbert. All Rights Reserved.
This page version 3.2, January 2001.