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Math 161 is a first course in Calculus. Sometimes called
"the mathematics of motion and change", calculus provides
us with the framework to study and understand a wide range
of interesting phenomena since there are so many things that
either move or change.
Studying calculus will also give you a chance to learn about
one of the finest achievements of human thought, requiring two
thousand years to come to fruition.
The writings of Archimedes (287-212 B.C.; arguably one of the three
greatest mathematicians ever) indicate that he was already taking the
first rudimentary steps towards solving problems that we would
classify under the umbrella of "Integral Calculus". But progress in the
field of calculus was slow (when being made at all) from the time
of the Greek mathematicians until a fundamental insight came independently to
Gottlieb Liebniz (1646-1716) and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727;
probably another of the top three mathematicians ever) in the late
17th Century (days of Colonial America, Boroque music, etc.).
Even so, it took another 200 years to come to the
kind of understanding of calculus we have today. Fortunately, it
has gotten easier to learn since its original form, so that the
subject that during Newton's lifetime was understood by probably
no more than 5 people is now studied by many thousands of high school
and college students every semester.
While our primary focus in this semester will be upon learning the
concepts and techniques of Differential Calculus, we will take a look
at some of this historical development and some of the broader issues
of the role of Mathematics in life today.
- Randall Pruim
office: North Hall 284
phone: (616) 957-7113
- Time & Location
Some meetings in the Macintosh Lab in the basement of North Hall instead
of the classroom.
||Monday - Friday 9:00-10:00am, in North Hall 276
||Monday - Friday 1:30-2:20pm, in North Hall 276
- Office hours and Calc Help Sessions
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. (You might like to consult my
before proposing a time.)
| Mondays || 11:30-12:20|
| Tuesdays || 2:30-3:20|
| Thursdays || 2:30-3:20|
| Fridays || 11:30-12:20|
In addition to office hours, there is also a calculus
help session from 7-9pm Monday - Thursday in
NH 251. This program is run through the Student Academic Services
office and provides help on a drop-in basis.
- 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
Please check your email daily.
You are responsible for any information communicated via email.
- 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.
Saturday, 24-Nov-2001 16:43:05 EST.)
- 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
will appear shortly before each test date.
- BlackBoard CourseInfo
I am also making partial use of Calvin's BlackBoard CourseInfo
(part of KnightVision).
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.
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
Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 4th edition
Additional readings will also be assigned from time to time.
There is also an inexpensive book that some
students in the past have found helpful as a supplement to the
required text, called
How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide (ISBN 0716731606).
You should be able to order it online for under $16.
Grading will be based on the following approximate weighting:
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 36% and your
worst test worth 0%).
You will not be able to master the material in this course without
practice. I will usually collect assignments once or twice each week.
(The calendar and problem
sets will be maintained online.
Please follow the homework guidelines.
You may find it pleasant and useful to work together on many portions
of this course. I encourage you to do so. BUT you are responsible for
your learning, and you must abide by some
guidelines for working 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
answering questions. These are difficult things to replace in any
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,
- a calculator,
- 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:
Monday, 10-Sep-2001 08:27:32 EDT
Department of Mathematics and Statistics