Differential Equations: What to Expect
Here is some additional info about the class that should give you some
info on what to expect from this class, how to enjoy it and do well,
and help you decide whether or not this class is for you.
- This class is listed as an intermediate class. It's not
intermediate because we'll be doing super hard, super tricky
math. Rather, it's intermediate because of what you'll be asked
to do with some mostly straightforward math. You'll be asked to
think with math and to use math creatively.
- This class makes extensive use of ideas from calculus. It's
important that you've had both differential and integral calculus
before, although it's ok if you've forgotten much of it.
- 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. On a related note ...
- 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.
The style of homework assignments in this class might be very
different from what you're used to. Don't let yourself get frustrated
-- I strongly suggest working with others and seeking help if you
- This course is structured to allow you to do a significant project
as part of the coursework. You'll want to start early on this and
keep moving throughout the term. If you do so, you'll be in a
position to learn a lot via the project. If you do a rushed job, the
experience likely will be less educational.
- The text we use is "modern" in the sense that the authors
emphasize qualitative, global analyses of differential equations,
rather than specialized analytic tricks. This book makes full use of
available technology; we will use computers without guilt or apology
to help us do mathematics. I think these modernizations are
excellent, especially for COA students. However, this might give the
course a different (and hopefully better) feel than other math classes
- The exact syllabus for this is somewhat flexible; feedback is
encouraged, and will help make the class better.
- This class covers a fairly standard set of topics. This course
emphasizes modeling and qualitative analyses over analytic results.
Some courses do the opposite. Our textbook is used at many other
colleges and universities in the U.S.
Web page maintained by email@example.com.