** MATH
139: Contemporary Topics in
Mathematics** Fall, 2002

__ __

**Dr. Roger Simons meets MW 11:00-12:20 in G255**

__Office__: **G 369 **REVISED

__Telephone:__ 456-9865 __Office
Hours__: ** Mon. 1:30-2:30 &
3:30-4:00,**

__website:__ ric.edu/rsimons **
Wed. 2:00-2:30 & 3:30-4:00,**

__email:__ rsimons@ric.edu **Tue. & Thu. 1:15-1:45,**

**& by appointment**

** **

** This course** does

** This course** satisfies the Mathematics (M) or (SM) General
Education Requirement. It is a
math appreciation course for college students whose academic program requires
no particular mathematics course.
Students who excel in this class are encouraged to consider taking
either pre-calculus (Math 209), which leads to calculus I (Math 212), or to
take a short calculus course (Math 247).
Math 181 is a more technical, math applications course which also
satisfies the Mathematics (M) or (SM) General Education Requirement. Math 181 is designed to provide useful
mathematical skills and techniques with useful applications for students in
programs like biology, medical technology, nursing , and industrial
technology.

__ __

** Objectives**:

1. To
gain appreciation of the power and usefulness of mathematics as illustrated by
a variety of contemporary problems that can be modeled and solved by
mathematical means.

2.
To be able to solve elementary applied problems in the topics we
engage. Topics will include:

graph theory

group decision theory

consumer finance

symmetry

tilings

Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry

fractals

3.
To gain an appreciation of the ongoing development of mathematics, where
some new theorems have immediate applications while others may have very
important applications some time in the future.

** Text**:

** Grading**:

** Points Approximate**

** Work
Possible
Percentage**

Labs, homework and/or
quizzes 100 22.22%

Two 1-hour Exams (100
pts. each) 200 44.44%

Final exam
(comprehensive) 150 33.33%

------------------ --------------------------

TOTAL 450 100%

(2)

__Grading System:__

Grading is based on the
quality of your individual work, not on the class curve.

Each item on an exam or
other assignment is scored so that proportionally better answers get
proportionally better scores. The
total points earned by each student is a *raw* score, whose value depends on the difficulty of
that particular assignment or exam.
My exams are usually written with some challenges for performers at each
level, including the top level.
Thus, an individual *raw*
score is usually not meaningful.

After grading an exam,
or all homework, I determine *my standards* for the cut-off scores of each grade *on that particular exam* or *all the homework*. I
do this by reviewing my answer keys while calculating the raw score of an
imagined, idealized weakest A-, B-, C-, and D- performance. *These scores are the cut-offs for
the letter grades and are interpreted as 90, 80, 70, and 60, respectively*.
All scores within each grade-range are uniformly scaled into an *"interpreted"
score*, which is readily
understood in a 90-80-70-60 grading scale. At the end of the semester, each student's *interpreted
scores* are *averaged.* The
course grade is based on that average, with each grade-range divided into 3
equally wide zones for plus, regular, and minus grades. For example, **B** scores are partitioned into **86.7** to **89.9** for **B+**, **83.3** to **86.7** for **B**, and **80** to **83.2** for **B-**.

The final course letter
grade includes considerations of improvement, participation, effort, and any
special circumstances I know about.

__ __

__Late Homework
Policy:__

Each assignment collected
should be *your individual work* unless explicitly assigned as a group
project. Getting help with it is
considered a case of *plagiarism*,
which may be punished accordingly.
All assignments are __due__ __at
the beginning____of class__. Consequently, it is a __BAD STRATEGY__ to finish
homework __instead of coming to class on time__, as the homework will be
late anyway. Homework that is on
time is a little better than homework of the same quality that is a little
late. Thus, __unexcused late
homework__ loses 4 points per week late out of the 10 or 20 points, pro-rated
as follows:

up
to 1 day late . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . 1 point off

by
start of the next class . . . . . . . . . 2 points off

one
class plus up to 1 day late . . . 3 points off

up
to 1 week late . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 points off

Late homework should be __hand__ed
__in__ __as__ __soon__ __as__ __completed____,__
in my office, *G369*. If I am not there, slide it * under
the door*. Of course, you may also hand it
to me in class.

** Accommodation for
a disability**:

Any student needing
special accommodations for any disability or special need, please make an
appointment to see me very soon.

(3)

__ __

** Legal Copies of
Campus Software**:

RIC now has a license,
allowing students to install, on their own home computers, the same Microsoft
software we have in our labs. Ask
how to get the software at Campus Card opposite the bookstore, or at the Help
Desk in Horace Mann.

** Math-Anxious
Students**:

If you have had a
pattern of panicking in math courses or on math exams or have been avoiding math
out of fear, I can probably help you overcome it enough to succeed in this
course. But you must see me
individually or in small groups. *Come very soon!*

__ __

__Make-up Policy:__

You are expected to take
all exams and quizzes as scheduled with the rest of the class. You should make every effort to do so,
as there is normally no alternative for you. A make-up exam is a privilege (not a right) available only
in the case of exceptional emergencies or conflicts. The make-up exam is usually harder than the original; so, it
is always better for you to take all exams as scheduled with the class.

Permission for a make-up
exam must be arranged directly with Dr. Simons. In the case of a * conflict*,
the

THERE ARE __NO__ EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY!

I can be reached in my
office, Gaige 369, at various times including office hours:

REVISED to:** Mon.
1:30-2:30 & 3:30-4:00, **

**Wed.
2:00-2:30 & 3:30-4:00,**

**Tue.
& Thu. 1:15-1:45, **

**and
by appointment**

My office telephone
number is 456-9865. If I am not
in, leave a voice-mail message. Be
sure to __include__ __your__ __phone__ __number____and__
* when you can be reached*.
Messages can be left there any time 24/7 (

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*Note:
Class policies such as those in this handout are like a contract. Your continuing to be enrolled in the
class implies your acceptance of the policies. Be sure you understand them. *

* *

*If
you do not understand or if you disagree with one or more of the policies,
either ask in class or see your instructor soon about it.*