Syllabus for Calculus I - Fall 2023
Professor: Mark McClure
Calculus was first developed in the late 17th century by Isaac Newton. Newton developed calculus as a tool to understand Kepler's laws of planetary motion. In the process, he answered questions dating literally past the edge of recorded history, ushered in the modern scientific era, and created mathematical tools with applications to sciences still being discovered today. In this course we will:
- Develop a stronger understanding of infinity and infinitesimal (infinitely small).
- Develop an understanding an understanding of area of complicated regions bound by curves.
- Improve algebraic skill
- The text: We will use the APEX Calculus textbook by Gregory Hartman et al. This is an outstanding, freely available, open source text that you can browse online. It is available in several formats:
- MyOpenMath: We will have regular auto-graded homework using MyOpenMath. You should receive login credentials directly from me.
- Discourse: I'll setup an online discussion forum to facilitate communication. We'll also do a few assignments using this tool.
- Computers: In addition to accessing course materials, like the text, homework, we'll use computers for their originally intended purpose: computing. More on this below.
There are some tools that we will not use:
- Calculators: While we will use computers for visualization and serious computation, the use of hand held calculators generally obscure the main conceptual points of mathematics. We will not use them on exams.
- Moodle: All material will be disseminated via our class web page.
Computational and reference tools
As a general rule, I am very much in favor of using multiple modes of thinking to approach a problem. I encourage you to bring all you have to bear on homework problems. In particular, I encourage you to use technology. I will certainly show you how to approach things using
and other tools
Having said that, your objective is to learn the material. To that end, I recommend that you
Think first, think more, and consult afterwards.
Keep in mind that you'll demonstrate your knowledge on exams, where you won't be using computational assistance.
Your SI Leader
I strongly encourage you to talk to and work with others about this material. Hopefully, our class forum will encourage that to some degree.
Supplemental Instruction (SI) study sessions are also offered for this course and meet one to two times a week, throughout the semester. Supplemental Instruction is an academic support program that provides peer-led group study sessions to assist students in traditionally difficult courses.
Your SI sessions will be led by Noah Haley who has already taken this course and wrestled with these same problems and concerns, but who has also been trained to facilitate group sessions to help you improve your understanding of the course material in a fun and engaging way. Your SI Leader is also here to help you review and discuss important concepts, develop study strategies, and prepare for exams. SI is for everyone, and open to all students enrolled in this class; not just those students who are struggling. Attendance for SI sessions is free and voluntary. Students, who attend SI sessions weekly, typically earn higher final course and exam grades than students who do not participate in SI. Bring your lecture notes, books, questions and a friend with you.
- Exams: There will be three exams during the term worth about 100 points apiece. There will also be a final exam worth around 170 points. The likely dates for all those exams are already listed on our course calendar.
- Quizzes: We will have three quizzes that will be worth anywhere from 15 to 25 points. Likely dates for those quizzes are listed on our course calendar.
- Homework: There will be three
types of homework:
- Textbook assignments, which will not be collected but offer important practice
- Online, automatically graded HW, and
- Forum assignments, which give us an opportunity to collaborate.
- In class problems: We will often work on problem sheets in class together. Quiz and exam problems will be closely related to these sheets. In addition, you will gain points simply for participating regularly.
- Final grades: I will determine final grades using a scale not more stringent than the standard 90-80-70-60 scale. You will be apprised of your standing as the term progresses.
- Late work: In general, I don't accept late work.
- Cheating: I don't deal with cheating. If I suspect cheating strongly enough, I simply refer you to the provost and fail you for the class.
Your rights and responsibilities
It's worth understanding your rights and responsibilities as a student at UNCA. One of my responsibilities is to make sure you have the information that you need to do that. Since this is common to all classes, I've got that information on this legalese document.