Description of Problem Sets for Calculus 2
Fall 2013, Math 104
As you probably found in Calculus 1, mastering Calculus consists mainly of mastering the ideas, more than mastering techniques and skills. That being said, there are skills that must be mastered with each new topic, in order to put the ideas to full use. Thus your homework each week will consist of both some problems practicing the new techniques and some problems emphasizing the concepts and putting ideas together.
Naturally, this means a substantial amount of homework (but no more than most of you will have had in high school math courses).
It is also really important that you practice writing up well-writen solutions to problems -- but doing that for upwards of 25-50 problems every week can be a bit much.
In order to achieve a balance of drilling techniques, introductory conceptual problems, and deeper conceptual problems while also balancing the need for practice writing math with the need for instant feedback, your homework will be divided into three types of assignments: brief daily assignments practicing the section(s) just covered, weekly problem sets, and occasional group problem sets.
- Daily Assignments: The daily assignments will be done through WeBWorK, so that you can get instant feedback and keep trying until you understand. They will generally consist of between two and four problems
- Weekly Problem Sets (PS):
- The weekly problem sets will (usually) consist of two types of problems:
- WeBWorK problems on which you get immediate feedback, and for which you will not write any formal solution.
- Problems (generally from your textbook), listed on the appropriate problem set link available from the main web page, that you will turn in, and which you will write up
following the Guidelines for Homework Presentation.
(Incidentally, dividing the problems between WeBWorK and handwritten will also allow me to have most or all of your handwritten problems graded, which in the past I have not been able to do, instead dividing them into graded and ungraded portions.)
- When you look at the problem sets (available through the links Due in September, Due in October, and Due in November and December), you'll see that each problem set consists of WeBWorK problems, and a list of problems (usually) from your textbook.
- I have the grader assess the handwritten problems for both clarity of explanation and for mathematical correctness. Follow the Guidelines for Homework Presentation when you're writing them up, including being sure to recopy them. Each of these will graded out of 5 or 10 points.
- Work on the problems through the week. I collect them only once a week to allow some flexibility in your schedule, but the material reflects a week's worth of learning, and the length reflects a week's worth of work. Saving them up for the day before the problem set is due will both mean that you are getting less out of the intervening classes and will make for an unpleasant Wednesday.
- Weekly problem sets are generally due at the beginning of class each Thursday. (The WeBWorK portions will be due at 12:50 rather than at 1.)
- Even if I get ahead of myself and post a couple of upcoming problem sets, be sure to check the current assignments on the web each week, as they are likely to be adjusted as our syllabus shifts somewhat.
- You may consult with other people in the class on problems, under the following conditions:
- You must work on every problem -- do not divide the problems amongst you.
- The final result that you turn in must reflect your own understanding, word choice, and work. (See the last page of the course policies, on the Honor Code.) If two people turn in solutions that I consider to be too similar, both people will receive 0s on those problems. If this occurs for more than a couple problems in a problem set, I will stop grading those problem sets and return them as 0s.
- You must cite the people you work with, either at the beginning of the problem set or on individual problems. (Please note that this includes citing a tutor, if you work with one or go to the tutoring sessions.)
- There may sometimes be links to supplementary exercises - please don't forget to work on those.
- Please come to see me for help! A lot goes on in class, and it would be surprising if you understood everything the first time around. Also, of course, everyone learns differently; in office hours, I can tailor my explanations to you (or at least, to a smaller group).
- Occasional Group Problem Sets (GPS):
- These occasional problem sets are to be done in a group consisting of two or three members -- never one member; never four or more.
- These assignments will consist of only handwritten problems, perhaps from your book, perhaps from a supplemental source. The assignments can be found through the same links as the weekly problem sets.
- Again, if there is a link to some supplementary exercises, don't forget to do those.
- The problems will allow you to delve deeper into some recent concepts, and will cover more than just the most recent week's material.
- Work on every problem before your group meets.
- Do NOT divide the problems up among members of your group Again, see the last couple pages of the course policies, on the Honor Code, for more details.
- The final copy of each group problem set should be written by a primary author - a single representative of your group. Make a note of who the primary author is by putting a star next to that person's name on the problem set.
- The make-up of your group can -- and I hope will -- change from group problem set to group problem set; aim to be primary author about every other group problem set.
- The members of a group should contribute equally to each problem. The only extra work the primary author is responsible for is copying over the work the group has already produced.
- Group Problem Sets will be due on occasional Mondays.
- Most likely, I will grade these assignments rather than the grader for the course.
- Points on the group homework will be based on each person's honest assessment of the effort and contribution made by each member.
Other notes on the various assignments:
- Don't worry -- just because you have three types of assignments due each week does not mean you have three times the homework I would otherwise assign-- I have worked hard to keep the number of problems roughly equal to what I assigned back when I had only traditional handwritten problem sets.
- Please ask for help when you need it! A lot goes on in class, and it would be surprising if you understood everything the first time around.
Also, of course, everyone learns differently; in office hours, I can tailor my explanations to you (or at least, to a smaller group). So please come to my office hours whether you're getting stuck on one problem, or at the first sign of feeling completely lost. There will also be tutors ready and willing to help in the Kollett Center -- this is a great place to go if you occasionally need help with a step or two on your homework. If you find yourself asking for help with every question, or needing 10 minutes of attention at a time, then you will be much better off coming to office hours.
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
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Norton, Massachusetts 02766-0930
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