408N Fall 2011‎ > ‎

408N Fall 2011 Syllabus

M408N Fall 2011

Instructor: John Meth
Office: RLM 13.140
E-mail: jmeth@math.utexas.edu
Office Hours: 408N Fall 2011 Office Hours

Teaching Assistant: Camila Friedman-Gerlicz
Office: RLM 9.146
E-mail: cgerlicz@math.utexas.edu
Office Hours: 408N Fall 2011 Office Hours

Class Meets: MWF 12-1 PM in CPE 2.214
Text: Calculus: Early Transcendentals by Stewart, 7th Edition, Brooks/Cole (you must have this edition for the class)
Note: For more information about the textbook, go here: 408N Fall 2011 Textbook.
Web Page: 408N Fall 2011

  • Policy: Put your unique number in the subject of any e-mail you send me, or I may not respond to it. If I have addressed the issue in your e-mail in the syllabus or via a post on Quest, I may not respond to your e-mail. Any class e-mails I send are sent through Quest. You are responsible for making sure your e-mail address on Quest is correct. I can not do this for you.
  • Description of Policy: Since I receive so many e-mails, I may not be able to answer all of them. I will answer those that follow the policy listed above.

Office hours for your TA and instructor can be found here: 408N Fall 2011 Office Hours. If you can not attend these office hours, please follow the instructions listed on the Office Hours page.


This course makes use of the web-based Quest content delivery and homework server system maintained by the College of Natural Sciences.  This homework service will require a $22 charge per student for its use, which goes toward the maintenance and operation of the resource.  Please go to http://quest.cns.utexas.edu to log in to the Quest system for this class. After the 12th day of class, when you log into Quest you will be asked to pay via credit card on a secure payment site. You have the option to wait up to 30 days to pay while still continuing to use Quest for your assignments. If you are taking more than one course using Quest, you will not be charged more than $50/semester. Quest provides mandatory instructional material for this course, just as is your textbook, etc. For payment questions, email quest.fees@cns.utexas.edu.

Quest can be accessed here: https://quest.cns.utexas.edu/.


Successful students will leave this course understanding the basic concepts and having mastered the computational skills of differential calculus. Topics include a review of exponential, logarithmic and inverse functions (Ch. 1); tangents and velocity, limits and limit laws, continuity, limits at infinity, the definition of the derivative, at a point and as a function (Ch. 2); derivative rules, derivatives of polynomials, exponential and trigonometric functions, the chain rule, implicit differentiation, derivatives of logarithmic functions, and related rates (Ch. 3); extrema, the Mean Value Theorem, how derivatives affect graphs, indeterminate forms and L’Hospital’s Rule, optimization, and antiderivatives (Ch. 4); areas and distances, the definite integral, and  the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus
(Ch. 5).

The math department syllabus for this course can be found here: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/academics/courses/syllabi/M408N.php

This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning flag. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for understanding the types of quantitative arguments you will regularly encounter in your adult and professional life.

  • I can not add you to this class. If you would like to be added to this class, please consult an advisor in RLM 4.101.
  • This course is restricted to students in the College of Natural Sciences.  The prerequisite for this class is a grade 70% or better on the ALEKS assessment, and there will be no exceptions made to this requirement.  If you do not meet this prerequisite, you will be dropped from this class around the 4th class day (on August 29 or 30).

  • If you have been dropped from the class for some reason, please consult an academic advisor.
  • Policy: No calculators may be used during exams.
  • The last day to drop the class without having it appear on your record is September 9, 2011.
  • The last day to Q-drop the class is November 1, 2011.
  • If you wish to drop the class but are unsure about the procedure or any deadlines, please consult an academic advisor. I will sign drop slips anytime that is an option for you. I will need to calculate your grade in order to sign the drop slip, so please allow time for that.
  • Policy: Exams are worth 90% (described below). Homework is worth 10% (described below).
  • On all work, your numerical average will be computed as a percentage: the number of points you earned divided by the number of points possible. It is unlikely that any grade will be curved. The percentages of each type of work that will be used to compute your final grade are given below. Your letter grade will be given based on your numerical average earned in the class, on a scale not stricter than the following: you are guaranteed a D for 60 or above, C- for 70 or above, C for 73 or above, C+ for 77 or above, B- for 80 or above, B for 83 or above, B+ for 87 or above, A- for 90 or above, and an A for 93 or above.

  • Policy: I will not discuss a hypothetical curve for the class. I will not try to determine your final grade before you finish the class. I will not help you figure out what you need to make on an exam in order to make a certain grade in the class.
  • Description of Policy: It is unlikely that any grade will be curved. You are guaranteed the standard grade as described above. Any curve will be decided at the end of the semester, after all grades have been calculated. It will be based on the overall performance of your class. Since I do not know what the curve will be, I will not discuss it. I also can not help you figure out what you need to make on the final in order to make a certain final grade, since I do not know what the curve will be.

Homework will be worth 10% of your final grade, 5% for written homework and 5% for Quest homework. There will be roughly 2 to 3 Quest homeworks a week, and 2 to 3 written homeworks a week.

Written Homework: 
  • When I finish a section of the book in class, your written homework for that section is due the next lecture period before I begin class.
  • The written homework for each section I will cover in class can be found here: 408N Fall 2011 Text Homework
  • In order to receive credit for an assignment, you must show all of your work, the homework paper must be stapled with no ragged edges (such as those on papers torn from a spiral notebook), your exercises must be well-labeled, neat, and in order, and your assignment must be turned in before the lecture begins. You must place your homework in the pile labeled with your unique number.
  • During the TA discussion, you will work on one or more problems, given by the TA, which when completed and turned in to the TA will guarantee you half your homework score; if you miss a discussion, there is no makeup of this opportunity. The TA may refuse to assign you credit for turning in this sheet based on your participation, or lack thereof, in the TA discussion.
  • No late homeworks will be accepted. Please see the section titled Missed Homework below.

Online Homework:
  • When I finish a section of the book in class, your Quest homework for that section is due at 11:58 pm the night before the next lecture.
  • All homeworks are completed and graded online, and can be found here: https://quest.cns.utexas.edu/.
  • You must pay for the Quest service after the 12th class day. Please see the section titled Quest above.
  • No late homeworks will be accepted. Please see the section titled Missed Homework below.
The TA will have all of your written homework. All written homework that is not picked up by the date of the final will be discarded.

  • Policy: No late homework will be accepted. Your three lowest Quest homeworks will be dropped. Your three lowest written homeworks will be dropped.
  • Description of Policy: If it were up to me, I would only drop homeworks for valid reasons (being ill, in an accident, etc.) Since I can not accurately determine what is a valid reason for missing a homework, I have a blanket policy of dropping every student's lowest homework scores. HOWEVER, these drops should be used for valid reasons. So if you have a valid reason for missing a homework, that will count as one of your drops. I will not drop that homework in addition to the regular drops. You do not need to notify me that you will be missing a homework, and you do not need to convince me that you had a valid reason for missing a homework. It will simply count as one of your drops. If you have valid reasons for missing more of the assignments than I am going to drop, then you should contact the dean or student emergency services. Discuss the situation with them, and consider dropping the course. I will not drop more homeworks.


Exams are worth 90% of your final grade. There will be three midterms. I will drop your lowest midterm. Each midterm is worth 30% of your final grade. After dropping the lowest midterm, these will account for 60% of your final grade. The final is worth 30% of your final grade. The final is cumulative.

  • Policy: You must bring a valid photo ID and your own writing implements to all exams. Calculators are not allowed during exams.
The midterms will be comprised of roughly 50% Quest questions and 50% written questions. These exams will take place during the normal lecture period, and in the normal classroom. The midterms will be on the following dates:
  1. Exam 1: Friday, September 23
  2. Exam 2: Friday, October 21
  3. Exam 3: Friday, November 18
Being available for these exams is a requirement of this course.

The instructor will have the midterms you do not pick up in class. All midterms that are not picked up by the date of the final exam will be discarded.


  • Do not write on any midterm exam that I return to you.
  • If you feel it has been graded INCORRECTLY, write down which problem was graded incorrectly and why on a separate sheet of paper. Give both the midterm and this separate sheet of paper to me by the next class period. I will decide on the issue privately, and return it to you with my decision.
  • This is not a format for you to ask for more partial credit. If I detect that you are asking for partial credit without finding any specific error in my grading procedure, I will deduct one point from your grade on the test.


I will post the date and location of the final exam once I know it here: 408N Fall 2011 Final Exam. This will be a two hour, cumulative exam given in a different room and at a different time from the regular class. It is worth 30% of your final grade.

Our final exam will be Monday, December 12, 2:00-4:00 pm.
  • Policy: I will not change the time or place of the final exam for any student. If you can not attend the final exam, drop this class.
  • Description of Policy: Since I have no way to determine if your reason for needing to take the final at a different time is valid, I will not be able to change the time of the final for you. If you have an emergency on the day of the final, contact student emergency services and they will explain your options to you.
  • Policy: I will not read or respond to any e-mail received from the moment the final is collected, until the beginning of the next semester. If you have a question about your final grade or would like to see your final exam, you must contact me after the beginning of the next semester.
  • Description of Policy: In an effort to assign grades in an unbiased fashion, I will not read or respond to e-mails I receive after everyone turns in their final exam. I assign the final grade based on your performance in the class, and nothing else. Your final is your last performance in the class, and e-mails tend to add information about students which creates bias. You have every right to examine your final exam, but not until the next semester, after your final grade has been assigned. So there is no reason for us to make an appointment until that time. Furthermore, your final grade is just that - final. I will not change it. Any attempt to persuade me to give you a different grade in the class (based on what you need for your major, or to keep a scholarship, or because you tried hard, etc.) is highly unethical and I do not respond well to it.

  • Policy: I do not give makeup exams. I drop the lowest of your three midterm scores. You must take the final at the scheduled time.
  • Description of Policy: If you miss one midterm, then that will be your lowest midterm score, and it will be dropped. The reason I drop your lowest midterm is for valid absences. Since I can not determine valid absences, I have a blanket policy of dropping the lowest midterm. HOWEVER, this policy is mainly for dropping a missed midterm. If you miss two midterms, one of your midterm grades will be a zero. If these absences are valid, please contact the dean or student emergency services to find out how you can drop the class. The midterm grades will not be replaced. You must be at the final. If for some reason you miss the final, you must contact student emergency services and drop the course.
  • For the lecture on MWF, I will have an index card for each registered student. I will draw cards randomly and ask the student whose name is on the card a question. If the student is in class, they get a check on their card. If the student is not in class, they get an X. This does not account for a percentage of your grade, but I will use it if I am in a position to determine how much to curve a student's grade.
  • For the TA's discussion, the TA will have each student work a problem and turn it in during discussion when a written homework is due the following day. You must be present and involved for a sufficient portion of the discussion for this to count towards your homework, as described in the section labeled Written Homework.
  • I will not respond to e-mails asking to know what happened during a class you missed.
  • Description of Policy: You should find someone in the class whom you can contact in the event that you miss a class. You will be responsible for knowing what happened in class on any days you missed, including any announcements I made in class on that day. Make sure there is another student in the class that can help you with this. The TA and I will not respond to anyone asking what happened on days they missed.


Upon request, the University of Texas at Austin provides appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259 or 471-6441 TTY.  If you plan to use accommodations, you need to notify your Instructors early in the semester.
  • Policy: If you need special accommodations for testing, as authorized by the SSD, you must bring me your letter within the first twelve class days. Also, you must bring me a sheet from SSD with the dates and times of all three midterms, along with the dates and times for your testing at the SSD, at least one week before the first exam for which I will provide accommodations. You must bring me a separate sheet from the SSD for scheduling accommodations for your final exam. If these criteria are not met, you must take your exam with the rest of the class.
  • Description of Policy: If you bring me a sheet from the SSD which has not been filled out, I will not sign it. I also strongly recommend that you remind me several days before each exam about your accommodations, so that there are no errors.


You may use any help, including working with your classmates, for the homework. Cheating on the exams will be treated very seriously. My sanction is generally an immediate F in the course. If I have any evidence you cheated on an exam, I will not contact you. I will contact Student Justice Services, and Student Justice Services will contact you. Also, asking me to change your grade based on your situation or what you need to make is pointless and unethical.