A Transition to Advanced Mathematics
Math 300.001
Spring 2023

Allergy Alert. Spring 2023.
Since a student in our class is highly allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts, please do not bring anything into the classroom that is made with peanut/tree nut products.
Thanks you for your cooperation.

The Basics

Course Homepage:
Our course homepage contains most of the needed course information, eg:
homework, handouts, announcements, etc..
Blackboard (Bb): Bb will be used minimally (e.g., as a secure posting location).
Please bookmark our course homepage, which is posted on Blackboard for you convenience.
Prereq.: Grade of C or better Math 142. Also by permission from Math Department.
Required: Check your (official) USC email and Piazza (our social media) regularly (at least daily) for class communications.
Required: Bring your class handouts to each class meeting.
Class Meeting Info.: See Prof. G's Weekly Schedule.
Highly Recommended:   A 3-ring binder to help organize your notes, class handouts, homeworks, etc.
And: some colored pencils, a stapler.
Required Textbook: Mathematical Reasoning. Writing and Proof   by Ted Sundstrom. Either Version 3 or Version 2.1.

Instructor Info Office Office Hours
Prof. Girardi
LeConte 337 See Prof. Girardi's Weekly Schedule
for her office office hours as well as weekly schedule.

Dates See our handy (1 page linked) Semester Calendar, which contains this semester's important dates: holidays, final exam, tentative Exam 1 and 2. Our course's Exams 1 and 2 dates are tentative and might change due to items as: hurricanes, a majority of students are not ready for the exam yet, there is a more natural (earlier) break of material for an exam. Exam 1 or 2 might be just before or after a holiday so make your travel plans accordingly

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, students will demonstrate that they have the rigor of mathematical thinking and proof writing (via topics such as: logic, sets, and functions) needed to help to bridge the gap between lower-level (computational-based) and upper-level (proof-based) mathematics courses.

Course Structure

The course will cover (from the textbook) each section from Chapters 1-4 and, as time permits, other sections. Taking a (highly recommended) glance through the textbook will give a brief overview of the course.

Since part of the goal of this course is to learn how to communicate mathematics, it is important you start reading mathematicial proofs. Afterall, would you sit down to write a novel before you have even read a novel?

The class is a flip class. As USC's Center for Teaching Excellence explains:

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which students gain first-exposure learning of course material outside of class, often through readings or lecture videos. Instructors then engage students during class meetings in more complex application, problem-solving or analysis. In other words, students do less complex cognitive work (memorization, comprehension) on their own time. They then participate in hands-on activities and discussions in class. This approach helps move students to higher levels of learning.
Prior to the initial lecture on a section, you will read the section and, with the help of the textbook's Study Guide, complete a Study Guide Homework for that given section. Thus before class you obtain a base knowledge through your reading, being guided by the Study Guides, so that in class we can move deeper into the material. Study Guide Homework Instructions are posted on the Course Homework page.

Then the lecture for the section will be presented by Prof. Girardi, who will assume that you have done your Study Guide Homework and so you have a base knowledge for the lecture; thus, the lecture can contain more challenging ideas and examples. The lecture may include in-class problems that students do at the chalkboard and/or in small groups. The lecture prepares you for the Exercise Homework, which are posted on the course homework page (note, not posted on Bb!).

Since homework due dates may depend upon where the lecture stopped, sometimes due dates are not known until the end of a lecture. (I do not like to give HW before you are ready for it.) Thus due dates are as announced in class and/or emailed to you. Sometimes (but not often) due dates are posted on the course homepage under the "Homework" link. If in doubt of what is due when, just ask Prof. Girardi at the end of class.

(and Piazza)

One of the goals of this course is to learn how to communicate mathematical ideas; thus, you are strongly encouraged to work together to practice communicating higher levels of math with others. By all means, form study/working groups to discuss the homework problems (but give them a fair shot first before you meet with the others) and to study for the exams.

To assist students working together, Prof. Girardi has created (and invited each student to join) our class Piazza group. Piazza is an online platform for real time group sharing. Our class Piazza group is accessible only to students in our class (and is not accessible by the general public). You are welcome to utilize our class Piazza group to help work together. Feel free to use Piazza to set up study/working groups to colloborate with others in our class.
On our class Piazza group students are welcomed to discuss problems and share ideas but students cannot share answers.
Prof. Girardi will not keep a close eye on your discussions (this is your space) but will, on occasions make (hopefully) helpful comments when a discussion need some guidance.

The homework that you submit must be your own. You are welcome to work together on homeworks, sharing ideas. However, you may not share solutions. Remember, you will have to take the exams individually so do not become too dependent upon one another.

(and what to do if miss class)

Attendance and participation expectations are as follows. (source: →Undergraduate Policy and Regulations→Undergraduate Academic Regulations→Grading Policies)

Enrollment in a course obligates the student not only for prompt completion of all work assigned but also for punctual and regular attendance and for participation in whatever class discussion may occur. It is the student's responsibility to keep informed concerning all assignments made. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, do not absolve the student from this responsibility.

We will follow the University‚Äôs attendance policy, which is at: → Attendance Policy. Beware of the regulations on arranging for an excused absence that can be anticipated at the start of a term.

An excused absence must be approved by the undergraduate student Ombuds.

  • For an excused absence, you need to fill out the proper form at Undergraduate Student Ombud.
    Note there is the usual form and another form for COVID isolation-or-positive.
    Good news: the Ombud will contact all your professors. Bad News: this might take about a week.
  • For an excused absence, you also need to personally contact Prof. Girardi (ASAP, via email or Piazza is fine) to arrange for reasonable makeup work to be due in a timely fashion. A reasonable amount of time for personally contacting Prof. Girardi
    • is (except in extreme circumstances) within 12 hours of the missed assignment, for an excused absences that cannot be anticipated at the start of a term
    • is the third week of the term, for an excused absences that can be anticipated at the start of a term.
Make-up work is provided only for excused absences.

If a student misses a class, either excused or unexcused, it is the student's responsibilty to ensure they get the material missed. If you miss a class, you can post a note on Piazza asking for a volunteer to post their class notes on Piazza. Volunteers are greatly appreciated as someone might miss class because they do not want share their COVID with others. Please let Prof. Girardi know if you are having troubles finding a volunteer. We will maintain this policy as long as it is not abused. You may ask Prof. Girardi about the assignments announced in class.

Course Policies / Common Sense / Courtesy / Integrity

COVID. We will follow USC's Current COVID-19 Guidelines. See this syllabus' Attendance section for more information.

Electronic Tablets. If you want to use an electronic tablet to take class notes during class, then you must keep your tablet flat on the desk (as one does when writing). If you use your tablet for non-class related activities (i.e., Facebook), then you will lose this privilege.

Classroom Environment. To create a classroom environment conducive to learning as well as to help you personally succeed in this class, we have the below policies.

  1. Please feel free to ask questions in class! Also, I often call on students in class. Please do not let this scare you but rather look at it as your personal learning opportunity. We are here to learn!
  2. Students are expected to attend the entire class meeting: late arrivals and early depatures disrupt the class. Repeated late arrivals and/or early departures will not be tolerated. If you must leave class early, inform the instructor before the class begins, sit near the door, and gracefully exit. If you must arrive late, discretely find an open seat (and inform the instructor before hand if you know this will happen).
  3. During class, cell phones and other electronic devices (such as earbuds or bluetooth but with the above discussed exception for electronic tablets) are to be turned off and stored in a closed (e.g., zipped or buttoned) bag (e.g., backpack or purse); they may not be stored in the person's clothing (e.g., jacket pocket). If you do not have proper storage with you then you may give the device to the instructor, who will store it on the instructor's table/desk during class. Improper use or storage of electronic devices could result in the device being confiscated.

Academic Honesty. The first line of USC's Carolinian Creed is As a Carolinian I will practice personal and academic integrity. We expect this of the entire Carolina family. If you ever have the least bit of uncertainty about what constitutes academic integrity, just ask for clarification from Prof. Girardi, who encourages collaboration. Below are some basic Academic Integrity Policies we will follow.

  • if the class chooses to utilize a different site/link/platform/group (e.g., GroupMe, Discord) for communication other than our class Piazza group provided by Prof. Girardi, then Prof. Girardi must be made aware and invited
  • no cheating on any assignment or exam
  • no inappropriate sharing of homework solutions
  • no inappropriate use of the internet for solutions (eg. solution sites as
  • other than on our class Piazza page, no electronic posting of the course class notes nor other course material without prior written permission from Prof. Girardi.
  • no improper emailing of students
Academic Integrity violations are grounds for a F in this course and will be handed through USC's office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Attendance. As discussed in this syllabus' Attendance section, attendance and class participation are expected. If attendance and/or class participation becomes a problem then, upon announcement in class, attendance and participation will also factor into your grade (one full letter grade reduction in course grade if you miss more than 20% of classes on the days attendance was taken and/or you repeatedly refuse to participate in class).

Tutor. UofSC's Student Success Center (SSC) offers (peer) tutoring for several math classes. Even if this class is not on their official Supported Courses list, if you fill out a Request a Tutor Form, then the SSC will try to find you a tutor. You may visit the SSC page or phone them at (803) 777-1000. In the Fall 2021, Prof. Girardi made a short video showing a student how to fill out a Request a Tutor Form.

ADA. If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Dissabilities Act and you have registered with the UofSC Office of Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC), you need to speak with Prof. Girardi before using an approved accommodation. We will discuss how to best handle your SDRC accommodations as so to meet your needs. We will not discuss of your specific disability.

Recording of Class. Recording (of any type, including but not limited to: audio, visual) of any part of the class is prohibited without the prior written permission the Prof. Girardi.

Grading Policies

Your course grade is based soley on your exams and progress checks, as indicated in the chart below.

Each progress check is worth 5 point. Examples of a one progress check are: one exercise (ER) from a set of ER's homework, a study guide (SG) homework for one section, a group work, an announced-or-unannounced quiz. You should read (and learn from) the feedback written on the progress checks as to avoid similar mistakes on exams.

Since progress checks are your place to learn and we hopefully learn from our mistakes, your lowest (approx./at least) 10% of your progress checks scores will be dropped. So if you miss (e.g., forgot it, an unexcused absence) a progress checks assignment then the zero you receive on that work will be part of your dropped lowest 10%. Thus, for unexcused absences, a late progress check is not accepted and no progress check make-ups.

There will be 2 hourly (really 75 minutes) exams along with a cummulative final exam. All exams are closed books/notes. Calculators are not allowed (nor needed). No exam grade is dropped. There will be no make-up exams (except in extreme situations and only with an excused absence approved by the Ombud). If you feel you qualify for an excused absence, then follow the instructions for an excused absence in this syllabus' Attendance section.

Your goal is to gain a working knowledge of the material as to prepare you for your 500-level math courses; you have some personal freedom in this pursuit. By the end of the semester, demonstrate that you have mastered the material and your grade will be agreeable. With this in mind, your course grade (tentatively) will be based on your (personal) higher percentage in the below 2 schemes.

 scheme 1scheme 2
Progress Checks
20 % 20 %
Hourly Exams 60% = 2 * 30% 40% = 2* 20 %
Cummulative Final Exam 20% 40 %
total 100 % 100 %

The baseline score is indicated below. These thresholds may be lowered (at the end of the semester) if appropriate.

90 - 100 % 80 - 89 % 70 - 79 % 60 - 69 % below 60 %

You will be given your class PIN shortly after the last day to drop without a W. Your PIN is a three digit number that helps Prof. Girardi correctly record your scores (the first digit indicates your course/section number and the last two digits indicates your place on the roster within your section). In order to receive credit for an assignment, your PIN must be on the paper. So please note your PIN somewhere you can find it when needed. Bring a photo ID to each exam.

Questions on Returned Work

After homework is returned, you are encouraged to look through the feedback. At this level of math, it is important that we identify precisely where your misunderstanding is and clear up the misunderstanding. Just seeing or reading a correct solution is not as helpful. Thus, in her office, Prof. Girardi will gladly discuss your returned work and clear up your misunderstandings. This way you get the personal help you need to be sure you succeed in this course.

Prof. Girardi is glad to answer your questions over the grading of your work but you must ask within 6 days from the date the graded work is returned and this personal matter should not be done during class time (in front of the entire class).

Let's Compromise

The book I want like to use for this class costs over $300 and is not freely available on the web.
The book I choose to use for this class costs  under $30 and is free on the web.
So your Exercise Homework printing costs are greatly offset by my choice of textbooks.

* This syllabus is subject to change.