MA 123 Calculus I—Fall 2022

This course is the initial course in BU's traditional sequence of three calculus courses. We discuss the two fundamental concepts—differentiation and integration. Since both are based on the notion of a limit, we begin the course with a thorough discussion of limits. Next we consider differentiation and its applications, and the course concludes with a discussion of integration and its relationship to differentiation.

Instructional Format:

A Sections: These sections are the weekly lectures (3 hours/week). All students must be registered for one of these sections.

When you register for an A section, you are also reserving the Thursday evening 6:30–8:30 time slot. You should not schedule anything that conflicts with this block.

Our first midterm exam is scheduled for 6:30–8:30 on Thursday, October 27, and our second midterm exam is scheduled for the same time on Thursday, December 1. You should not schedule anything that conflicts with these exams. There will also be a double quiz administered in discussion section during the week of October 3–October 6.

The final exam will be given December 15 from 6–8 pm. Note that this exam starts at 6 pm rather than 6:30 pm.

B Sections: These sections are the "studio-style" discussion sections. All students must be registered for one of these sections. Attendance in discussion section is mandatory, and you must attend the entire section.

During most of the discussion section, you will work in groups of four on worksheets that we have developed to augment the lectures and online homework. You may also ask questions about the homework exercises.


Textbook and online homework system:

Briggs, Cochran, Gillett, Schulz: Calculus (Early Transcendentals, 3rd edition), Pearson, 2019.

Detailed information about the textbook options is available at We cover most of the material in Chapters 2–5 of the text.

There are two ways to view the textbook through MyLab Math, and both can be accessed from the menu on the left in your MLM course:

  1. Static eBook: This menu item opens a pdf reader that shows the entire three-semester version of the textbook, and you have the option to make notes and set bookmarks.

  2. Interactive eBook: This menu item opens the interactive eBook. This version of the textbook contains many interactive figures that illustrate certain concepts in a dynamic fashion. It is written in CDF, the Computable Document Format that is based on Mathematica. There is a free CDF player available from Wolfram Research, and you need to install this player for the interactive eBook to work. Boston University has a site license for Mathematica, so you can install Mathematica rather than the CDF player. Note that Mathematica is a powerful technical computing environment, and learning it takes some effort.

Course web page: Most course materials and the online homework assignments will be available at Your course ID on MyLab Math is determined by your A section and is available from your lecturer.

Exams and grading: In addition to the two midterm exams and the final, there will be quizzes in discussion section.

Your grade for the course will be determined using the following percentages:

Each midterm exam 20%
Final exam 30%
Quiz grade 18%
Homework grade 12%

Getting help:

Homework policies:

Discussion section policies:

  • Attendance at discussion sections is mandatory, and you must attend the entire session.
  • Each discussion section will focus on a worksheet that reviews and goes more deeply into topics discussed during lecture.
  • Even though you work in groups during discussion section, we strongly suggest that you write your own solutions to the questions on the worksheets either on a piece of paper that is separate from the worksheet or on a tablet. We also suggest that you revisit your solutions as you study for the midterms and finals.
  • There will be a quiz during every discussion section (starting the second or third week of the semester) based on the worksheet and on the week's homework set. If you do not attend the entire discussion section, you will not be able to take the quiz.
  • No make-up quizzes will be given except as required by the University's policy on religious observance (see below). However, your lowest two quiz grades will be dropped at the end of the semester.
  • If you are unable to make your discussion section for any reason, you are welcome to attend a different discussion section during that week. However, you will NOT be able to take a quiz in any discussion section except your own.

Exam and quiz policies:

  • Calculators cannot be used during quizzes and exams.
  • When you finish a quiz or an exam, raise your hand but stay seated. Someone will come to your seat, pick up your paper and check your BU ID.

Make-up exams: We do not give make-up exams except in truly extraordinary circumstances. For example, if you are suffering from an illness that requires hospitalization, we will either adjust the grading scheme given above or administer a make-up exam. If you miss an exam to participate in a sporting event hosted by a club sport, you will receive a grade of zero. Note the reference below to the University's policy on religious observance.

If you think that you might miss an exam, contact the course coordinator, Professor Blanchard, in advance as soon as possible.

If permission to make up an exam is granted, be aware that the make-up exam probably will not have the same format as the original exam.

University Policy on Religious Observance: This course will adhere to the University's policy on religious observance. Note that this policy states that students are required to inform instructors, in writing, of conflicts with the course schedule and requirements due to their religious observance as early as possible in the semester.

Course announcements: All general course announcements will be posted on the Blackboard Learn A Site for the course. You are responsible for any information that is posted there.

Gradebooks: Your homework grades will be posted on the MyLab Math sites, and your exam and quiz grades will be posted on the gradescope sites for this course. If you have any questions about those grades, you should ask about them immediately. Questions about your exam grades should go to your instructors, and questions about your quiz grades should go to the lead TF for your discussion section. We expect all questions to be made in a timely manner, that is, in one or two weeks after the assessment is graded.

Academic conduct: Your work and conduct in this course are governed by the Boston University Academic Conduct Code. This code is designed to promote high standards of academic honesty and integrity as well as fairness. It is your responsibility to know and follow the provisions of the code. In particular, all work that you submit in this course must be your original work. If you have a question about any aspect of academic conduct, please ask.

Ensuring a positive learning environment: The lectures and the discussion sections are times that are devoted to learning calculus, and activities that interfere with this process are not permitted. Although you may use your smart phones, tablets, or laptops to answer questions at the Learning Catalytics website during lecture, your use of these devices at other times during lecture and discussion section will be subject to the approval of your lecturer or discussion section leaders. Tweeting, texting, shopping online, and visiting Facebook are certainly not allowed.

Important dates: In addition to the exam dates mentioned above, you should know that the last day to withdraw from the course without a grade of W is October 11. The last day to withdraw from the course while receiving a grade of W is November 14.