Math 2001: Fall 2016
Course Policies

How to succeed in this course

Devote time to the course. The Boulder Faculty Assembly has moved that

An undergraduate student should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week outside of class for each credit hour earned.

That adds up to 9 hours per week, outside of class, for Math 2001.

Not all of the work you need to do is collected, or even assigned. One of the goals of this course is to learn to teach yourself mathematics. Reading the textbook means more than casting your eyes across the page: pick apart the definitions, theorems, and proofs; organize and reorganize them within your own mind; create examples to develop intuition. Doing homework means more than handing in problems when they are assigned: find—and create—exercises that push the limits of your understanding, and learn to evaluate for yourself whether your answers are correct.

Ask questions. If you are studying actively, you will have questions. Use this principle to measure whether you are actively engaged.


The textbook for the course is Book of proof by Richard Hammack. It is available for free online, and bound copies can be purchased inexpensively in the usual places.

We will use this book primarily a reference for tools and techniques. A great deal of content that is not in the text will be introduced in class.

Office hours and contact information

Instructor: Jonathan Wise
Office: Math 204
Office hours: calendar
Phone: 303 492 3018

I maintain a calendar showing times I will be available in my office. I am also happy to make an appointment if these times are not convenient for you.


Beginning in the second week of class, all homework will be submitted online, via D2L. Homework should be typed unless specified otherwise, preferably using LaTeX.

Each week, you are allowed to make independent submissions for comments, but you will not receive a grade. You may later include such a submission in a portfolio (see below). These should be submitted via D2L.

Suggested independent submissions: a problem you have worked independently, revision of a writing assignments, a video explaining a concept or giving a solution to a problem, a question about a mathematical object you have constructed. Remember to cite any resources you use in creating your submission, even if if the resource was just the source of a practice problem.

Guidelines for collaboration and use of resources

I encourage you to consult outside sources, use the internet, and collaborate with your peers. However, there are important rules to ensure that you use these opportunities in an academically honest way.

  1. Groups may submit a single assignment with multiple names on it. The effect of group work on course-wide scores will be in inverse proportion to the number of group members. Groups can make independent submissions as well, but group work in a portfolio will be considered in inverse proportion to the number of group members.
  2. You should not do consecutive assignments in groups unless you are specifically assigned to do so.
  3. Anything with your name on it must be your work and accurately reflect your understanding. You are responsible for every word in a joint submission. Division of labor, in which one group member does one half of an assignment and the other member does another half, is not permissible and will be treated as plagiarism.
  4. Plagiarism will be dealt with harshly. Deliberate plagiarism will be reported to the Honor Code Office.

To avoid plagiarism, you should always cite all resources you consult, whether they are textbooks, tutors, websites, classmates, or any other form of assistance. Using others' words verbatim, without attribution, is absolutely forbidden, but so is using others' words with small modifications. The ideal way to use a source is to study it, understand it, put it away, use your own words to express your newfound understanding, and then cite the source as an inspiration for your work.


The final grade is the sum of a skills score and a communication score. Each is computed initially as an average, but you may improve them by submitting portfolios. The skills score is computed based on in-class quizzes and exams. Each question is scored between 0 and 2, and the skills score is the average of all of these scores. The communication score is based primarily on at-home writing assignments, although some in-class activities may contribute as well. Communication scores are also assigned between 0 and 2 and are averaged.

With each assignment, I will also assign numerical values for A, B, and C. At the end of the semester, I will compare your averages to the averages of the typical A, B, and C scores and assign your score accordingly. It is important to be aware that scores are assigned based on standards for the end of the course.


At any time during the semester, you may submit a portfolio documenting your progress towards the goals of the class. You can use a portfolio to add new scores to your quiz or communication average, to replace quiz or communication scores, or even to remove quiz or communication scores.

Except in special circumstances, a portfolio should be a single PDF file or a physical packet of papers containing all of the relevant documentation. The first page of the portfolio should be a statement explaining what the contents of the portfolio are, which course goals they demonstrate achievement of, and how they demonstrate that achievement. Be as detailed and explicit as possible on the cover page. If you believe the portfolio should replace scores you earned previously, you should explain which scores those are and why the materials you are enclosing are a suitable replacement. The remaining pages of the portfolio should be previously assessed materials (either previously graded materials, or independent submissions with comments), including any comments I made on those materials.

It is incumbent on you to make it easy for me to understand your portfolio. If it is not clear what you are requesting, or if it is difficult for me to understand or find your documentation, I will return the portfolio to you with a request for clarification.

There is also a limit on the number of changes you can request in one portfolio. A portfolio submission cannot change more than the equivalent of one whole quiz or one whole writing assignment.

I will not always follow your suggestions, of course, but I will follow suggestions that are sufficiently well-argued and supported. Below are some examples of ways you could use a portfolio:

Example 1: Argue that you received a low score on an early assignment because you did not understand a concept that you later understood better. Include both the early assignment and the later assignment, make clear what the concept is, and how both assignments test it. If I am persuaded, I will remove the earlier assignment from the calculation of your grade.

Example 2: After receiving a low score on a paper, you independently submit a series of revisions. You may request that I replace your score on the earlier paper with a score for a revision. You should submit both the original paper and the revisions, including all comments I have made on them. Your cover page should address the goals of the course and how your revision better achieves those goals than your original version.

Example 3: You miss a quiz, but find or create a collection of problems that examine the same concepts. You submit those problems as an independent submission and receive my comments on them. You may then request that the quiz you missed be replaced with a grade for the independent submission. You should submit the original quiz and your substitute problems, along with my comments, in your portfolio.

Example 4: You find an interesting problem in the textbook (or some other source). You submit a solution to this problem independently and receive comments on it. You may then submit your solution in a portfolio and ask for it to be included in your communication score. Make sure to document which course goals your independent work addresses.

Missed quizzes and late assignments

If you miss a quiz, you will receive a score of zero on it. However, you can replace the quiz by making an independent submission and then submitting a portfolio. I will usually offer small time extensions on late assignments, provided that it does not interfere with my grading. However, very late assignments should go through the independent submission / portfolio process.

Communication goals

To achieve an A, you should be able to do all of the following:

To achieve a B, you should be able to do all of the following:

To achieve a C, you should be able to do all of the following:

To achieve a D, you should be able to:

Skills goals

One goal of this course is to develop skills working with various mathematical objects. When assessing your skills with these objects, I use the following principles to obtain a letter grade:

Here are the actual objects we will be working with. This list is subject to change depending on time constraints and interest of the class.