c a l c u l u s t h r e e
c o l l e g e o f t h e
a t l a n t i c
w i n t e r 2 0 0
I n f o r m a l D e s c r i p t i o n
a n d A d v i c e
This is the fifth time I have taught this class. So I have a pretty
good idea of how this course will go. Here are some thoughts on the
class and how to do well and have fun.
- Most students find the material in Calculus III to be less
difficult and more interesting that that of Calculus I and II.
Calculus III basically re-does all of calculus, except with functions
of two or three variables instead of just one variable. This means
that along the way we will review and re-affirm concepts and
techniques from the first two terms of calculus.
- Students who take this class should have had roughly a full year
(or two college terms)
of calculus. It is important that you've seen both differential and
integral calculus and felt like you understood these topics reasonably
well at some point. If you feel like you've forgotten a lot of
calculus, that's ok.
- This class is a lot of work and will move at a fairly brisk pace.
However, the workload is steady;
you'll be doing approximately the same amount of work each week. We'll
hit the ground running and try to get lots of stuff done the next few
weeks. The workload will taper off some toward the end of the term.
- Falling behind in this course is not a good idea. If you're
confused about something, it's very important that you seek help
sooner rather than later. There are many people around who can offer
help. However, we can't offer assistance if we don't know who needs it
when. You need to take responsibility to seek help if you need it.
- I do not expect all of the homework assignments to be easy; I
don't expect you to be able to sit down and do them easily the first
time. Don't let yourself get frustrated. I strongly
suggest working with others and seeking help if you need it. I also
strongly suggest that you start the homework well before it's due.
- In many more traditional math classes the textbook has a ton of
examples in them. The book we'll be using doesn't. The result is that
students sometimes find the homework to be challenging, frustrating,
and occasionally even annoying. However, I'm convinced that this style
of homework -- where there's not an example just like the problem
you're trying to do -- is much better pedagogically. You'll learn a
lot more this way.
- Our textbook emphasizes graphical and verbal
understanding in addition to being able to work with symbols and
numbers. Much of mathematics -- both theory and application -- is
graphical or geometrical in nature. The graphical problems are not
"lite" problems but are an essential part of the course. The graphical
problems are most definitely "real math." Some of you may find
graphical work difficult, as it's likely different than some of what
you've been asked to do in math classes before.
- You will actually need to read the textbook in order to do some
of the homework. I won't be able to cover everything in class, and/or
you'll just want to see a topic explained in a different way.
- I very strongly recommend getting your own copy of the textbook. I
think you'll learn more if you have your own copy to take notes in and
always have with you when you're doing problems. An important part of
introductory science and math classes is forming a strong, long-term
relationship with some textbooks.
- We will make use of the computer program Maple. Maple is extremely
powerful and useful; it is commonly used by scientists and
mathematicians. Learning to use this program can sometimes be a source
of frustration for students. Maple can be annoying at times; try to
stay calm and collected when it's misbehaving and you'll be happier.