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21-260: Differential Equations

Course Description


Instructor and TA's

Course Schedule and Homework

Grading Information

Other Course Policies

Frequently Asked Questions

How to succeed in this course (and elsewhere).

  • Attendance will not be taken in this class, however, it is expected that you will attend class regularly. If you do miss a class it is your responsibility to find out what was covered and whether any important announcements were made.
  • The single most important thing that you should do is work out 125% of the homework. Even if your schedule ensures that you can not finish before the quiz, you should still do the assigned problems, along with an assortment of unassigned problems, as a study aid.
  • Collaboration on homework is a good thing. You are encouraged to discuss the homework and to work together on the problems, but each student is responsible for the final preparation of his or her own homework papers. For your own good, this does not mean simply copying another's work; the object is understanding, not penmanship.
  • The course is a 9 unit course, which nominally means that you should expect to spend 9 hours per week on the material (3 in class, 1 in recitation and 5 outside the classroom). The real time needed will vary, of course, but if you find that you are spending much more time than this, it is likely that you are "spinning your wheels", and that you should seek help from any of the various sources available to you: these include your instructor, your TA, your fellow students, the learning center and the tutoring center.
  • Like all mathematics, the material in the course cannot be learned passively. However reasonable, simple, or rational you may find what you read or hear, you do not understand it if you cannot apply it yourself. Thus it is imperative that you test yourself by doing problems. If you have difficulty with a problem, ask your instructor or your fellow students about it; do not suppose that your difficulty will cure itself without treatment.

Save your receipt.

  • Your graded assignment is your "receipt". You should hold on to all of your work until you receive your final grade. From time to time grades do get recorded incorrectly. Changes to the grade record cannot be made, however, without evidence that such a change is warranted.
  • If you wish to dispute your grade on an assignment, it must be presented to your instructor before the next exam.

If bad comes to worse...

  • If, due to illness or another legitimate reason, you are unable to complete the work required for this course by the end of the exam period, I will assign a grade of I (incomplete). You must request this action and provide documentation of the cause.
  • Enrollment Services will only allow a grade of I to stand for one semester. If the grade is not ammended by that time it will revert to a default grade (the grade you earned based on the material completed). Once the grade reverts to the default grade I will not change it.


  • Any cheating on quizzes or exams will, at minimum, result in failure on that assignment, at maximum, in failure for the course. The incident will be reported to the Dean of Students per University policy. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, receiving aid from another student, giving aid to another student, or use of unauthorized materials.
  • A second incident (in this or a later class) will result in an academic board review. In this case the penalty may be much more severe, possibly including suspension or expulsion from the university.