Matthias K. Gobbert

General Policies and Procedures

Study Suggestion

While I realize that you have only a limited amount of time available for this class, the following strategy has proven very successful in studying for math classes, and I strongly advise its use: Prepare for the lecture by reading the scheduled section(s) in the textbook; even if you do not understand everything, you will have an overview of what to expect in class. At this point, you should review any section that might be needed as background for the new material. Then attend the lecture and take your own notes. Afterwards, you should review the textbook and your notes as much as necessary to understand the material; test yourself by working out the examples in the text! At this point, you are ready to do the homework problems for this section as a final test of your understanding.

You should realize that this approach actually saves time over the whole semester, since it is easier to do homework problems right after studying the material, and thus reinforcing the lecture. Also, by starting all homework problems as early as possible, you have the opportunity to get additional help before the due date. You should expect to spend at least three hours of your own time for every hour of lecture per week.


The first purpose of homework is to reinforce concepts introduced in class and to help guide you in your own explorations of the subject matter. Mathematics can only be learned by applying its concepts yourself. If you defeat this goal by not doing the work yourself, you are essentially cheating your own education, but you might also be committing academic misconduct; see below. A second purpose of the homework is to provide feedback to me about your learning progress, and the third purpose is to prepare you for the exams. Only as a fourth purpose is the homework used to evaluate your performance.

Please note that the homework is due in class, at the beginning of the lecture to be precise. No guarantee can be given for homework turned in at any other time and/or place. I will accept late homework only in exceptional situations, provided approval for late homework has been obtained by the due date. If late homework is accepted, it will ordinarily still accrue a penalty of 5% of the possible points for each day from the due date until my receiving it (including weekends and holidays). I reserve the right to exclude any problem from grading on late homework, for instance, if it was discussed in class.

Never leave homework at my office, if I am not present, as it may get destroyed by the cleaning crew. Rather, you should use properly addressed campus mail envelopes submitted at the departmental mail slot. Always write your name clearly on the homework. I suggest to add my name and the class number, which helps to recover the homework, in case it gets lost somewhere. Your student or social security numbers are not needed at any time.


The number and type of exams is given in the syllabus. The final exam is comprehensive and will cover all material covered in the course. Additional quizzes might be given, if deemed necessary. Please note that you are encouraged to write your solutions in permanent ink. If you decide to use pencil or other erasable media, I will generally not be able to entertain grade changes or corrections afterwards.

While the grading scale will be adjusted later to some degree to reflect the level of difficulty of the exams, the following may serve as a guideline based on prior experience:

Score above 90% 80% 65% 50% otherwise
Letter grade A B C D F

Please note that this syllabus is subject to change by announcement, in particular the weight distribution and the grading scale.

Policy on Academic Misconduct

You are welcome to talk to others, because it is important that you learn how to communicate mathematical ideas, but you must do all assignments on your own. If you make use of any information from any source, you must include a reference to that source, e.g., to books, articles, software, webpages, individuals, etc. This is a vital issue of academic integrity. Failures to properly cite sources constitutes plagiarism and a serious violation of the student honor code as defined in the catalog and the directory. You are encouraged to review the codes and policies there. If a violation is observed, you can expect me to pursue the matter to the full extent of the policy, including but not necessarily limited to issuing a failing grade for academic misconduct. The right is reserved to check a picture identification at any time.

I apologize for these drastic statements, but past experiences have forced me to add this paragraph to the syllabus. Please, remember that I am charged with enforcing academic integrity in order to preserve the quality and reputation of your education, grades, and degree at this university. When in doubt about anything or if you have any questions on this matter, feel free to contact me.

Copyright © 1999-2002 by Matthias K. Gobbert. All Rights Reserved.
This page version 5.0, January 2002.