Math 251A, Fall 2017

Math 251A is the honors section, offered through the Honors College, of first semester calculus. Math 251A covers the same material as the standard first semester calculus course, Math 241, the primary difference being the level of sophistication. In the honors section there is less emaphasis on calculation and more on theory, including mathematically precise definitions and reasoning. For example, you may be asked to explain or illustrate a definition or a theorem, as opposed to perform a calculation.

Class Meetings

We meet four times each week: lectures are on Monday - Wednesday - Friday, from 9:30 to 10:20 in Keller Hall 413; the teaching assistant John (Curlee) Robertson leads the recitation period on Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:20 in Keller Hall 404. Attendance at both lectures and recitations is mandatory; although we will not monitor attendance students who attend class regularly tend to receive better grades.

In all class meetings I ask you to be respectful of your fellow students and instructor. For example, to minimize distractions,


Our textbook is University Calculus, by Joel Hass, Maurice Weir and George Thomas, from Addison/Wesley Publishers. It is available for purchase at the bookstore. Mathematics textbooks can be quite expensive and University Calculus is no exception. However, since we will not be using the associated online homework system, a second hand copy (of the same edition) could suffice. Also, on the bright side, the cost is mitigated by the fact that you will use this text for the entire calculus sequence, Math 251A - 253A.

Getting Help

Both Curlee and I will have several office hours each week, and I really encourage you to stop in and ask us questions. My office is PSB 409 and my office hours are MF 2:30 - 3:30 and W 10:30 - 11:30; Curlee's office is Keller 404E, and once he sets his office hours I will post them here. While our office hours are your first resort, you can also frequent the Learning Emporium in Bilger, which is staffed with tutors able to help you with all of your science classes, including mathematics, chemistry, etc. Finally, the Student Success Center in Sinclair Library offers one-on-one tutoring by appointment. Follow the links for hours of operation and more details.


Your course grade will be determined by in-class exams (3 at 15% of your course grade each), a final exam (30% of your course grade), and a recitation grade (25% of your course grade).

Exams: There will be three exams, and these are tentatively scheduled for September 20, October 25 and November 17; precise dates for the exams will be announced in class approximately one week in advance. Make-up exams will only be given in unusual circumstances, with one week prior notification (or in the event of an emergency, strong supporting documentation). Not attending class, and hence not being present when an exam is announced or adminstered is not an acceptable excuse.

Final: A comprehensive and common final exam will be given during the final exam period. Comprehensive means that the exam covers the entire semester. Common means that every section of Math 241 and 251 will take the same exam. Neither Curlee nor I will see the exam before classes end. There are two important sources of practice for the final exam: old finals and Math 241 review problems.

The Registrar has scheduled the final exam for Wednesday, Dec. 13, 12:00 - 2:00. Do not make plans to leave the islands before Dec. 13: the final exam cannot be given early to accommodate travel plans.

Recitation grade: Your recitation grade will be a combination of written homework, quizzes and worksheets. Homework will be assigned after each lecture, graded and returned in a timely fashion. It will be posted on this web site, on which the homework policy is described in greater detail. The recitation instructor, Curlee, will provide you with details on the other components of your recitation grade.


In the end, your grade will be the product of how well you understand the course material, and how well you communicate that understanding on written exams and assignments. If you are having trouble following along in lecture or recitation, or your scores are not what you would like, it is up to you to seek advice and help. Come to speak with me or Curlee and, for our part, we will do everything we can to help you achieve your goals in the class.

It goes without saying that all academic work should be done with the high levels of honesty and integrity that this University demands. Cheating will not be tolerated. It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not copy from another student, or let another student copy from you.

Please read the following on academic expectations for a similar message with more detail.

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Last modified: Sat Aug 19 11:50:35 HST 2017