Applied Ordinary Differential Equations

Winter 2004

Course Overview

Instructor: Dave Feldman Email:
Office: Second Floor, Turrets Annex Phone: x249, 276-5284
Mailing List: Office Hours: By appointment: email, call, or just stop by
Teaching Assistant: Hua Wang Help Session: Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:00, TAB

Course Overview

As our text we will use Paul Blanchard, Robert L. Devaney, Glen R. Hall, Differential Equations (second edition). Brooks Cole. 2002. ISBN: 0534385141. Here is information on where to by the book. I would like to cover most of chapters 1-3. I think this is a realistic goal, but the pace may be brisk at first.

I have several goals for this course:

  1. I want you to gain experience working with and critically evaluating different mathematical models.
  2. I want you to learn what differential equations are and become familiar with a variety of techniques for solving them.
  3. I want you to do an in-depth, focused study of a particular mathematical model or technique.
  4. I want to help you improve your quantitative literacy, problem solving skills, and mathematical confidence.
  5. I want to have fun while working hard and learning some challenging material.


Your evaluation will be based loosely on the following: I will assign grades (for those who so opt) by following the guidelines on page 8 of the COA Course Catalog. I do not have any quota of A's, B's, etc. In general, I recommend against grades; I believe they are more likely than not to interfere with genuine, reflective learning.

Policies and Stuff

  1. The final version of this and related documents can be found on the course web page,
  2. Homework will be due Fridays at the end of the day. More than one unexcused late homework assignment will result in me likely mentioning this in your narrative evaluation and may result in a lowering of your grade.
  3. You are strongly encouraged to work together on homework. You can also consult me, class tutors, other faculty, friends, and family. However, the homework you hand in should represent your own understanding. This means that if your friends get a homework problem and you don't understand how they did it, you shouldn't photocopy their solution and turn it in.
  4. Information on what is expected for your final presentation can be found in a separate document.
  5. Information on what is expected in homework solutions can be found in a separate document.
  6. I will almost always assign reading for each class. You should do the reading before class and come prepared to discuss.
  7. In order to make time for final presentations, we'll need to schedule a few extra classes toward the end of the term. I would like to open up our final presentations to the full COA community.
  8. As I plan on sending out homework assignments and other information via email, it is important that you check your email regularly.
  9. I expect you to attend class.
  10. We will be using the computer algebra system Maple. If you haven't learned to love Maple yet, you will soon. Here is a page with Maple info.
  11. Academic misconduct -- cheating, plagarizing, etc. -- is bad. Any cases of academic misconduct will result in a judicial hearing, as per pp. 14-15 of the COA handbook. Possible consequences range from failure of the assignment to expulsion. For more, see the revised statement on academic integrity passed by the faculty several winters ago.
  12. A more informal description of the course can be found here.

[ Dave ] [ Odes ] [ COA ]

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