Course Home Page
office: North Hall 284
phone: (616) 957-7113
- Time & Location
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:30-2:20pm, in North Hall 259
- Office hours
Regular office hours are currently scheduled for
If these times do not work for you,
other times can be arranged by appointment. Alternatively, you can
simply stop by my office and see if I am available.
| Mondays || 3:30-4:20|
| Tuesdays || 1:30-2:20|
| Wednesdays || 12:30-1:20|
| Fridays || 3:30-4:20|
This is a course in mathematics designed to meet the needs of
students in the humanities and liberal arts. The course will
focus on some of the major ideas of mathematics and the impact
of these ideas on culture. The course has three major goals:
I hope you will come to see mathematics as a human activity that
requires creativity and imagination and can result in beauty as well
as applications. Our goal is to learn to appreciate mathematics
and to discover the power of mathematical thinking and to have some
fun doing it.
- To provide a better understanding of some
rich mathematical ideas,
- To build thinking skills
that can be used to analyze issues even in "non-mathemtaical" areas of life,
- To develop a new perspective on mathematics
and the way it is used.
In many ways this course will be different from other mathematics
courses you may have had in the past.
It is not intended to develop a specific set of computation skills.
I will ask you to think, to analyze, and to "figure out"
rather than to work many routine exercises.
We will focus our attention on ideas rather than on computations.
The only prerequisites are an open mind and a willingness to engage
it while putting aside any preconceived prejudices or expectations
about mathematics or mathematics courses.
- I will maintain an email list of all students registered in this class
and will occasionally use it to distribute information and reminders of
various things pertaining to this course. If you do not know how to access
your email, please talk to someone at the IT help desk. If you prefer to
read your email from an account other than your calvin student account,
send me email with the email address you prefer.
You can also send email to the class list or particular students
in the class via
- Web Pages
In addition to this home page,
I will also maintain a list of web resources pertaining to this course.
You are responsible for any information appearing on the course
Items I have prepared and maintain online include
- a customizable calendar
of daily readings, lecture topics, exams, homework etc.
Friday, 06-Jul-2001 10:21:01 EDT.)
- a list of homework
assignments. Due dates will be maintained on the calendar above.
(I may also distribute these via email.)
- information about tests and exams.
- handouts and overheads used in class.
- BlackBoard CourseInfo
I am also making partial use of Calvin's
You can go to BlackBoard to check your grades,
to send email to individuals or groups in the class,
and to read all the other information (like this page)
that I have on line. For more information on how to use CourseInfo,
see the online tutorial.
Except for your grades, all of this information will available
directly from the web without going through BlackBoard if you prefer.
If you are having difficulty with any portion of the course, do not
hesitate to see me.
Do this as soon as possible, certainly well in advance of any
deadlines (like tests) so that we can work to fix the problem.
The required text for this course is
The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking,
by Burger and Starbird.
Additional readings may also be assigned from time to time.
Grading will be based on the following approximate weighting:
Tests 60% (Feb 26, April 4, May 7)
Final Exam 20% (Monday, May 14 at 9:00 am)
Other includes Homework, corse participation, and any other assignments made.
The final exam will cover material from the entire semester.
If your final exam is better than your worst test, then your final exam score
will replace your worst test score, (making the final worth 40%).
Homework will be assigned nearly every class period.
A calendar and a list problem sets
will be maintained online.
Prior to each assignment,
make sure you have read the corresponding material from the textbook. Read slowly
and think carefully about the ideas being presented. You may find the assigments in
this class to be somewhat different from what you have had in other mathematics classes
in that they will not all be routine repetitions of skills. There may be fewer problems
that you are expecting, but each one will require more thought.
You may find it pleasant and useful to work together on many portions
of this course. I encourage you to do so. BUT you must write up your own solutions
to each exercise (unless your have been instructed to work in groups).
Attendance is required.
If you miss class, you are missing an important part of this course,
and it is your responsibility to find out what has happened in class.
In class we will be doing activities that reinforce the
ideas covered in the textbook, discussing readings and ideas, and
answering questions. These are difficult things to replace in any
Although I will not "take attendence" every day, failure to participate
in in-class activities will hurt your
Preparing for class
You should bring with you each day:
Of course, you should have read (and thought about) any assigned readings
prior to coming to class. You may want to have your notes handy, especially
if you have questions regarding the readings or homework.
- any homework due that day or that you have questions about,
- your textbook (and any of the "extra stuff" that may be needed),
- any additional readings that have been handed out (put them in a folder
so that you can locate them easily),
- and any other materials I announce ahead of time.
Occasionally there are special circumstances that require that the rules
and guidelines above be adjusted for a particular student.
In such cases, it is the responsibility of the student to inform me
of the situation as soon as possible, so that the appropriate
arrangements can be made. This includes, but is not limited to,
students with documented disabilities.
This page maintained by:
Thursday, 01-Feb-2001 09:39:48 EST
Department of Mathematics and Statistics