MA 123 Calculus 1, Course Information

Academic Conduct: Your conduct in this course, as with all BU courses, is governed by the BU Academic Conduct Code. Copies of the code are available from the CAS Dean's office (CAS 105) or here.. Specifics rules for specific assignments will be discussed in lecture.

The "Golden Rule" of academic conduct is to "Give Credit Where Credit is Due". That is, if you use or consult a source, including a book, journal, web page or person, then cite that source (i.e., give sufficient information so that someone reading your work could determined what information you used and be able to find the source). The details of the form necessary in citation vary greatly from subject to subject, but the basic rule is universal.

If you have any doubt about any aspect of proper citation or academic conduct in general, ask!.

Who should take this class? (Prerequisites): I will assume that you have (and remember) a solid background in "Pre-Calculus" (algebra and trigonometry). We will review as we go along, but this review will not be a replacement for background.

Text: Calculus, Briggs and Cochran. Calculus. To get the correct edition of the text and get the materials for MA 124 and MA 225 you should get the "mymathlab" from Pearson. The cheapest way is to buy directly from Pearson and you can get a 14 day "free trial" so that if your schedule changes, you won't be out any money. The access via pearson incudes the electronic version of the text (used for 123 adn 124) and the text for 225. You can also buy a paper copy with the access code from the bookstore (but watch out! for what you can return if your schedule changes!!).

Access to the course materials requires a "course code" that I have not received yet from Pearson--I will let you know as soon as I get the code.

We will cover almost all of the first 5 chapters.

Technology: Information for the course will be presented through the course home page and announcements will be sent out to the official e-mailing list kept by the registrar. You are responsible for making sure that email sent to the email address kept by the registrar reaches you and that you regularly check this email account.

I may also post announcements on mymathlab.

Special Note: If you take notes on your laptop or other internet enabled divice then you are required to email me a copy of your notes within 15 minutes of the end of class.

Grades: During the semester you will accumulate points by doing homework, in class exams and the final. At the end of the semester the points will be added with the weighting given below and your grade will be determined based on the total points accumulated. Correspondence between letter grades and point values will be announced for the inclass exams.

Weights for components of the course work are as follows:


Special Note: If you take notes on your laptop or other internet enabled divise then you are required to email me a copy of your notes within 15 minutes of the end of class.


Study groups: I encourage you to form study groups and to spend some (not all) of your study time with your group. Make absolutely sure that you abide by the requirements of the Academic Conduct Code and the rules for each assignment. In particular, you should write up your assignment on your own. Papers which are too similar will be subject to action under the Academic Conduct Code porcedures. Also, if you get a significant idea or assistance from a tutor or a classmate, BE SURE to reference them ("Thank you to So A. So for suggesting I integrate by parts on problem 3.").

Pedagogy: I have heard it said that students learn approximately 5 percent of the material for a class in lecture. This is usually quoted to justify doing away with lectures. However, about 5 percent of my body is my head and I would not want to do without that.

In fact, I think that the 5 percent figure is about right. You learn mathematics by doing mathematics, doing exercises and writing up solutions carefully so that your answers can be easily understood. Being able to do problems is the goal. However, seeing examples and hearing the important points discussed before trying to do the problems yourself is much more efficient than reconstructing all the mathematics for yourself (the mathematics we will cover took hundreds of years to develope). So think of the lectures as how you prepare to do the real work of learning the material--doing the exercises yourself.

Final comment: Too many students consider their courses hoops that they must jump through in order to reach a degree. This philosophy implies that you only need to keep the material in your head until the final. This is just wrong.

There are two goals for this course. The first is to learn the techniques involved in Calculus. There is a lot to learn here as we will cover many new ideas and the associated computational tools that allow you to use these ideas.

The second, and more important, goal is to change the way you look at the world. The developement of Calculus is one of the key steps in the development of our current tecnhological society. The calculations of Calculus are becoming more and more the domain of machines, but the ideas and how and when to apply those ideas to get new insights and solve new problems is still the work of human engineers, scientistis, and mathematicians. There is a lot to learn, so we won't be able to spend a tremendous amount of time on applications (which is really too bad!) but we will do some and you should keep your eyes open for applications in your other courses. Almost all of you are taking Calculus because it is required by your field of study--which means that you will use these ideas in your field of study--start that now.