MATH 131 - Calculus I
 Fall 2011
 Course Number 14702


Dr. Michael Oehrtman

Office Hours:

MW 2:15 pm – 4:15 pm
 or by appointment
 in ROSS 2239F

Class Time:

MWF 1:25 – 2:15 pm

 T 11:00 – 11:50 am



ROSS 2060



Class Website:

Credits: 4 semester credits

Prerequisites: Strong algebra and trigonometry background, an understanding of basic functions (polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, etc.), and a willingness to work hard.

Required Text: Hughes-Hallett, Gleason, McCallum, et al., Calculus, 5th ed, Wiley, 2009.

Technology: You will need a graphing calculator for this course. I strongly recommend a TI-83, TI-83 Plus or TI-84. We will also use a computer algebra system called Mathematica® for lab activities. UNC has a site license for the software, and it is available in ROSS and UC labs. WeBWorK will be used for homework assignments, and course materials will be available on the class website.

Course Description: Inspired by problems in astronomy, Isaac Newton and Wilhelm Gottfried Leibnitz developed the ideas of calculus roughly 300 years ago. Since then, calculus has provided the foundation for advances in many other fields, even those which seem far removed from mathematics. You will find applications in chemistry, physics, economics, biology, medicine, business, psychology, and of course mathematics. Calculus is so important that it is often considered the gateway to many of the disciplines in which it is used.

The importance of calculus lies in its power to reduce complicated problems to simple rules and procedures. While these procedures can be (and often are) taught with little regard to the underlying mathematical concepts or their practical uses, our emphasis will be on understanding all of these: concepts, procedures and uses. We will engage in the full mathematics process, which includes searching for patterns, order, and reason; creating models of real world situations to clarify and predict better what happens around us; understanding and explaining ideas clearly; and applying the mathematics we know to solve unfamiliar problems. Participation in this variety of mathematical activities is challenging, and for many students, the experience will be vastly different from experiences in more traditional mathematics course.

So what is calculus? Very briefly, calculus is the study of changing quantities. It has two main themes: differentiation, which studies rates of change and is the focus of this course; and integration, which studies accumulating quantities and will be introduced this semester but is more fully developed in Calc II. Calculus I is an introduction to the tools, methods, and applications of single-variable differential calculus. Central concepts of the course are that of a function and its derivative. We begin by a review of basic functions and their properties. Next we’ll discuss a concept of a limit that is necessary to give the definition of a derivative. After mastering limits and their use in defining derivatives of basic functions, we’ll study a collection of simple rules that allows us to easily compute the derivative of any function expressible in terms of elementary functions. We’ll discuss various applications of differential calculus to real-life problems. In particular, we’ll talk about differential equations, their (numerical) solutions. Finally we will introduce the idea of the definite integral to model aspects of accumulation.

Goals: Our course is one of the General Education courses and it aims to satisfy the following outcome objectives in the area of Mathematics:

Labs: On Tuesdays we will work in small groups on labs that develop the central concepts in the course. Attendance and participation is especially crucial on these days. You will turn in individual write-ups of these class activities and make presentations of your work to the other groups in the class. It is also important to ask questions of the other groups (who will generally work on related but slightly different problems than your own group) when they present as you will be responsible for all the problems on exams.

Attendance: There may be topics covered in class that are not in the text. You are responsible for all material covered. I don't take attendance, but there is a strong correlation between attendance and final grades. Missing class more than once or twice during the semester is likely to affect your grade, either directly or indirectly. If you do miss class, you should get notes and/or handouts from your classmates and/or see me during office hours.

Homework: There are three types of homework assignments in this class (see the homework page for details):

The key to success in this course is regularly working with other students in the class, doing the homework early and asking questions when you have them!!! We will discuss homework problems in class, but there will often not be enough time to discuss all of them. Please come to office hours or visit the math tutoring lab if you have additional questions about the homework.

Late Policy: WebWorK assignments will have a closing date and time and will not be accepted late. All other work is due at the beginning of class on the announced due date. I may accept late written homework for reduced credit, until I have graded an assignment or project. After I have graded the pile, I will no longer accept late work and you will receive a 0. I generally grade materials within a couple days of collecting them, and sometimes grade them the same day they are collected. Expect to lose approximately 10% for each day an assignment is late.

Exams: We will have four in-class exams (roughly covering Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5), and a comprehensive final exam. The final exam will be Monday, December 10th, from 4:15 to 6:45 pm. Make-up exams are possible only if there is a documented emergency.

Gateway Test: There will be a WeBWorK-based test on differentiation after we have covered the short-cut rules for taking derivatives in Chapter 3. You will be able to take the test as many times as you like during the 2 week period that it is open. A passing grade is 6 out of 7, and each problem is graded as correct or incorrect (no partial credit). Successful completion of the Gateway Test during the allotted time frame is worth 2/3 of a letter grade.

Workload and Assistance: You should expect to spend 8 to 12 hours each week outside of class working on the course material. Some weeks (those in which an exam is scheduled, for instance) may require more of your time, other weeks may require less, but on average, budget 8 to 12 hours each week. I can’t stress enough that in order to be successful in this class you should spend much of this time working with other students in the class! Please ask questions and seek assistance as needed. You may email me at any time, and I encourage you to make use of my office hours and the Thursday group study room. In addition there are two tutoring centers (see for hours and more information):

Collaboration: I assume that you are here to learn. If you talk to each other, you will learn from each other, perhaps more than you will learn from me. I encourage you to form study groups. Try the homework yourself, and then get together with a study group to go over questions, and to study for tests. You will learn a great deal from articulating your questions and explaining material to your peers. Discussion of assigned homework is encouraged, but you should be sure you fully understand the material by writing your solutions on your own. Evidence of any cheating or collaboration on work assigned to be completed individually will result in a 0 for that work, at minimum.

Honor Code: All members of the University of Northern Colorado community are entrusted with the responsibility to uphold and promote five fundamental values: Honesty, Trust, Respect, Fairness, and Responsibility. These core elements foster an atmosphere, inside and outside of the classroom, which serves as a foundation and guides the UNC community's academic, professional, and personal growth. Endorsement of these core elements by students, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees strengthens the integrity and value of our academic climate. UNC's policies and recommendations for academic misconduct will be followed. For additional information, please see the Dean of Student’s website, Student Handbook link

Portable Electronic Devices: Please extend courtesy to your instructor and fellow students by turning off your portable electronic devices, and putting them away in your bag, during class. If you know that you may need to accept an emergency phone call during class or if you have children in childcare or school, please let the instructor know. If you need to take a phone call during class, please step out of the classroom while you complete your call.

Students with Disabilities: Students who require special accommodations due to a disability should contact Disabilities Support Services (351-2289) as soon as possible to better ensure that accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Grades will be determined as follows:

Points Earned


Written Homework Sets 250

1300 - 1400


Online WeBWorK Assignments

   A 1260 - 1299


Derivative Gateway


1215 - 1259


Chapter 1 Exam 100

1160 - 1214

Chapter 2 Exam 150

   B 1120 - 1159

Chapter 4 Exam 150

1075 - 1119

Chapter 5 Exam 150

  980 - 1074

Final Exam                             __250__

840 - 979

Total Possible

    0 - 839

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