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 first purpose of homework is to reinforce concepts introduced in class and to help guide you in your own explorations of the subject matter. Mathematics can only be learned by applying its concepts yourself. A second purpose of the homework is to provide feedback to me about your learning progress, and the third purpose is to prepare you for the exams. Only as a fourth purpose is the homework designed to evaluate you.

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 it was discussed 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.


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. Please note that you are encouraged to write your solutions in permanent ink. If you decide to use pencil or other erasable media, I will generally not be able to entertain grade changes or corrections afterwards.

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 note 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. This applies both to computer code, if applicable, as well as its interpretation. If two or more assignments feature very similar code or draw exactly the same conclusions in the same fashion, you can expect to be invited to a discussion with me. 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 4.2, August 2001.