Carnegie Mellon

21-260 Differential Equations

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Grading Policies


The course will have three mid-term exams and a final exam. The mid-term exams have been provisionally scheduled for

Exam #1: Friday, February 17 (confirmed)
Exam #2: Wednesday, March 22 (tentative)
Exam #3: Unscheduled

The Exams will be closed book and calculators will not be allowed. If you miss a scheduled exam, a makeup will be given with a significant penalty. In case of documented illness or family emergency or documented University sponsored trips the penalty will not apply.

The final exam has not yet been scheduled. It may take place as late as December 17. If you must make travel plans before the exam schedule is released, you should not schedule your departure from campus before December 18. No student will be allowed to take the final exam early.


This course will include both written homework, and online homework assignments. Homework will normally be assigned weekly, with online assignments due Wednesdays and written homework turned in on Fridays. You may turn in your written homework at the beginning or end of lecture on the due date or put it in your TA's mailbox before 3:20pm on that day. The TA's mailboxes are in the Mathematical Sciences Department Office, WEH 6113. Homework turned in after 3:20 will be regarded as late.

Late homework assignments will be accepted, generally until solutions to the problem set are provided, but in any case no more than a week after the original due date. The first late homework will be given full credit. Thereafter, the late assignments will be penalized. The second will be given half credit, the third 1/3 credit, and so on. The tenth late homework and any subsequent late homeworks will be given no credit.

Grade Computation

The final grade for the course will be determined by your performance on the homework and quizzes, the three midterm exams, and the final exam. The weights for computing your final average will be:

Homework        15% (5% online, 10% written)
Midterms        60%                         
Final exam      25%                         

Letter Grades

Grade cutoffs for the Mid-term exams and Final exams will be determined after considering the grade distribution and the difficulty of the exam.

Grade cutoffs for final grades will be computed by averaging the grade cutoffs for each assignment, using the weights listed above.

Other Policies

Classroom Courtesy

When attending class, please act in a manner that maintains a positive learning environment. Avoid behavior that may be distracting to your classmates or your instructor.

You should schedule your activities in a way that allows you to arrive before the start of class, and remain throughout the entire class period. If it should be necessary to arrive late or leave early, please do so with a minimum of commotion. In particular, you should make an effort to sit near the door and at the end of a row.

At times during the course, you may need to talk to your neighbor to check a fact or clarify a point. Lengthy discussions, however, are to be avoided. If you find yourself involved in more than a brief exchange, you should consider raising your hand and asking your instructor to clarify the point. Chances are that you are not the only one feeling confused.

Academic Integrity

This is a very important topic, and one about which I feel quite strongly.

For the purposes of this course adhering to Carnegie Mellon's Statement on Academic Integrity means primarily one thing: making sure that work you turn in for credit is yours and yours alone.

This does not mean you can't work with other students. Indeed I strongly encourage you to form study groups. Working together to find solutions to homework problems or while studying for exams benefits everyone involved. When someone explains something to you, you gain the benefits of their understanding. Explaining topics to another student forces you to clarify your own ideas.

It is clear that when an exam begins collaboration stops, and each student works alone to complete the problems. But what does it mean for a homework paper to be "your own work"? Once you have found a solution, you should write it up by yourself. You may need to refer to notes you have taken while collaborating, but you should not be referring to other peoples written work while producing your own.

Now proceed to the Week #2 Homework Assignment

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