Calculus I - Mathematics 141, Sections 36-37-38-39

Frank Thorne - Fall 2020
University of South Carolina

Welcome to Math 141! Calculus is a beautiful, important, challenging, and fascinating subject.

Instructional Staff :

Meeting schedule :

Learning outcomes:

Successful students will:

This could describe any math class. Typically, all of this is best learned in some specific context. Therefore, successful students will also: During 2020, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is on everyone's mind. This fall's class has a special learning outcome:

This material will be optional; students may opt out from the Covid-19 material if they prefer.

Text : Thomas, Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 13th edition. The book is available from the campus bookstore; although the price is high, this price represents a substantial discount which our department negotiated with the publisher. The book is bundled with access to MyMathLab, which will also be used for 141. The same book will also be (presumably) used for 142 and 241.

This is the same as the book used last year. Also, although the bookstore's books have a special cover, my understanding is that the book is mostly identical to "non-custom editions" available elsewhere, provided that you get the 13th Edition. (One difference: one chapter has been removed, which is not used in 141, 142, or 241.) You are also welcome to obtain the book elsewhere if you can find it -- but be sure that you are getting MyMathLab access.

I also highly recommend Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus Thompson. If nothing else, read the epilogue on p. 283.

Homework : Homework will be due approximately weekly, via the Pearson MyMathLab software. Please follow these instructions to set up your account and join the course. This requires a Pearson access code; this should have been bundled if you bought your book new at the bookstore.

The homeworks are long. Do not start the night before. They are also very important.

In general it is recommended that you write out solutions in longhand before typing them into the computer, as if you were taking a quiz or exam. This will help you prepare for the quizzes and exams!

Later in the semester, if the recitation section is still meeting physically, we might have a couple of Maple Labs. (This is doubtful at this point, but possible.) For students participating remotely, either these will be made optional or alternative assignments will be made. Your TA will help you with these, and they will be counted together with the homework.

Accompanying each homework is a set of practice problems. All problems which will appear on any quiz, assessment, or exam will be taken from these practice problems. So you know exactly what to study. The online homeworks will correspond to a subset of these practice problems.

Quizzes : Quizzes will be given in your discussion section with some regularity. Details will be announced by your TA. To get full credit you must answer clearly, show your work, draw pictures where appropriate, and put equals signs where they belong. If we can't understand how you arrived at your answer, then you will receive little or no credit.

Assessments : You will have six short (30 minute) midterm assessments. Think of them as somewhere between a quiz and an exam. They will cover the following topics:

These will be held in class, on dates that will be announced at least a week in advance. As with quizzes, to get full credit you must answer clearly, show your work, draw pictures where appropriate, and put equals signs where they belong.

Final exam : The final exam won't be graded separately. Instead, it will be divided into six parts, corresponding to the midterm assessments. For each section, if you improve then your previous grade will be replaced; otherwise, your midterm grade will be allowed to stand.

Gateways : Math 141 also includes gateway exams, which are the same for all sections of Math 141. These help to ensure a set of common standards, and assure you are prepared for future material. There are two gateway exams:

The exams will be taken using the WebWork software, which will be explained further by your TA. These exams are computerized, and "showing your work" isn't necessary.

Grading is on an all-or-nothing basis. You have three attempts for each exam, during the periods specified above. There are also practice exams available which don't count against your three attempts. Finally, there is a WebWork orientation which is available immediately.

Grading :

On all handwritten work, you will be graded both on correctness and on quality of exposition. The standard is that someone who doesn't know the answer should be able to easily follow your work. Any work that is confusing, ambiguous, or poorly explained will not receive full credit.

The grade cutoffs are: A for 90%, B+ for 86%, B for 80%, C+ for 75%, C for 65%, and D for 50%.

      % of grade  
  Six midterm assessments:     10% x 6  
  Homework:     20%  
  Quizzes:     15%  
  Gateways:     5%  

In addition, there are three ways to earn extra credit:

Class discussion forum : The class will use Piazza as an online discussion forum. You are strongly encouraged to post questions about the course there. All of the instructional staff will check Piazza frequently and answer there. We will also add our own additional thoughts, clarifications, and suggestions.

Students are also encouraged to answer each other's questions there, and to write with their own insights. Extra credit will be offered for particularly active participation.

Sign up for an account here.

Make-up policy :

If you have a legitimate conflict with any of the exams it is your responsibility to inform me at least a week before the exam. Otherwise, makeups will only be given in case of illness or emergency. Late homework will generally only be accepted in case of illness or emergency, but please ask me if you have special circumstances.

Accommodations :

If you have a disability which requires any sort of accommodation please contact Student Disability Services. They give recommendations to me, and then I do whatever they say -- provided that you provide notice at least one week in advance.

Honor Code :

It is imperative that you refrain from engaging in plagiarism, cheating, falsifying your work and/or assisting other students in violating the Honor Code. The honor code applies to all work for this course. Students should review the Honor Code here.

Calculators :

Calculators will not be allowed for the exams. You may use them on the homework if you want, but this is discouraged, as the purpose of the homework is to prepare you for the exams.

Supplemental instruction :

Felicia McGill runs the supplemental instruction sessions. This is a valuable resource and you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of it. Please go to ask questions and meet other students. It is a particularly good place to work on your homework.

More information about the SI sections will be posted here once Felicia announces it.

Schedule of lectures, homeworks, and exams

To be filled in as the course proceeds.

Some classes may end early and be supplemented with recorded material. 75 minutes is a long time, and some topics make for better "power lectures" than others.