Mathematics 5900

Spring 2013

Instructor: Kelly A. MacArthur

Class Time and Place: 5:15 - 8:15 p.m.
Sandy Campus, Room 127

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-4:00 p.m,
Fridays 9:40-10:40 a.m. or by appointment.
Office Location: JWB226
Office Phone Number: 581-8341
E-mail address:

Text: Mathematicsw for Secondary School Teachers
by E. Bremigan, R. Bremigan & J. Lorch, an MAA text book,
print edition: ISBN 978-0-88385-773-1
electronic edition: ISBN 978-0-88385-980-3

Math Education Website: The math department has a web page
for math teachers in K-12 schools.

Computer Lab: also in the T. Benny Rushing Mathematics Student
Center, Room 155C.
M – Th 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
F 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Link to computer lab is

Grading: The grades will be calculated as follows:
Homework 45%
Quizzes 25%
Final Exam 30%

Calculators: Calculators will not be used much in this class. For exams, you will not be allowed to use a calculator. So, you may as well practice doing your homework without one. :) This will be discussed more in class.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe strongly that mathematics, at its core, is the art/experience/science of problem solving and pattern recognition. It is inherently a creative process, one to be struggled with, repeated, and enjoyed. The process requires imagination, persistence, courage, processing time, and ultimately produces experiential, mathematical skill. It is from this perspective that I teach. I'm not as concerned with the destination, i.e. the answer, as I am about the journey of problem-solving and mathematical exploration since it is exactly the entirety of the journey that creates the answer. And, self-confidence and mastery are then natural by-products of the mathematical journey.

Homework: The homework will be graded for correctness. The grade of each homework set will be based on accuracy, thoughtfulness, completeness and clarity of communication (i.e. there may be no credit given for answers given without work shown). You can use these as study tools for the exams. These homework sets will be due a week or two after assigned. Most likely, I'll assign homework every week and it will be collected the following week in class. But, this will be discussed and decided more firmly in class as we progress. The lowest homework set score will be dropped, thus late homework sets will NOT be accepted under any circumstances. To turn in the homework, you will need to staple your homework together. Collaborating on homework is allowed, but each student's homework assignment should be clearly written in his/her own words, leaving no room for interpreting such collaboration with cheating or copying.

Quizzes: I will be giving a quiz every class period. It will vary from week to week, with some quizzes being done as a whole group and other quizzes being completed individually. I will drop the two lowest quiz scores, and as such, there will not be any way to make up a quiz or take it at a different time than in class.

You are responsible for knowing these policies. Please take it seriously because the flexibility listed here is literally all there is.

Online Grades: I will put your grades online on Canvas.
You can get there easily from the main University of Utah website To log in, you use the same student id and password that you use for Campus Information System. I do my best to update the grades on a regular basis and keep everything accurate. However, I would advise you to check your grades often to make sure there were no data entry mistakes. I'm always happy to correct any mistakes I've made. You just need to let me know about them.

Grading Scale: Although I'm not philosophically opposed to curving grades, I find it's rarely necessary. The grade scale will be the usual: A (93-100), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), E (0-59). If I do need to curve the grades, I will simply shift everything down by a few points (whatever is necessary).

ADA Statement: The American with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning and psychiatric disabilities. Any student with a certified disability who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Center for Disabled Students (CDS) and me at the beginning of the semester to discuss any such accommodations for the course.

Other Policies: Due to experience, I have decided to make some additional policies regarding my classroom administration and grading.
  1. I do NOT allow the use of laptop computers in my classroom. At this point, I don't believe you are taking notes for the class if your computer is open. Thus, it is unnecessary in class.
  2. There will be no retakes of exams…ever. Your score is what you get.
  3. You may take an alternate exam if you talk to me about it first and explain the extenuating circumstances that make it necessary. Needing to work, babysitting your siblings, oversleeping, or needing more time to study do not pass as acceptable reasons to inconvenience me. Getting in a car crash or your mother’s death, on the other hand, is sufficient reason to request to take an alternate exam. But, it is 100% your responsibility to communicate with me as soon as is possible, before the exam occurs (or as soon as possible).
    Talking to me after the problem will be sufficient reason for me to allow you to get a zero on that test. I reserve the right to make alternate exams more difficult than the scheduled exam.
  4. I will demand respectful behavior in my classroom. Examples of disrespect include reading a newspaper or magazine in class, social chatting with your friend in class, text-messaging your buddies during class or cuddling with your girl/boyfriend in class. If you choose to be disrespectful during my class, I can guarantee I will take action to terminate your disruptive behavior.
  5. There will be no cursing nor negative ranting (for example, “math sucks”) on any written work turned in. The penalty for such things on your written work will be a zero score on that assignment or test!
  6. You need to have a valid email address registered with Campus Information System. I will regularly send emails to the class and expect you to be responsible for receiving that information.
  7. If you have crisis-level extenuating circumstances which require flexibility, it is completely your responsibility to communicate with me as soon as possible. The longer you wait to communicate with me, the less I can and am willing to do to help.
  8. If you have questions about any exam grade, or you want to appeal the grading of the exam, you must bring it to me within one week of the exam. After that, you will have to live with whatever grade you got.
  9. Please make sure you do your best throughout the semester and come talk to me if you need further study strategies. I will NOT offer any extra credit at the end of the semester or any other way for you to improve your grade at that time. If you ask me toward the end of the semester if I'll make special arrangements for you to improve your grade by some means, I will automatically deduct one percentage point from your overall grade, just for asking the question!!
  10. If you cheat on any homework, project, quiz or exam, I will automatically give you a zero for that grade. Depending on the severity of the cheating, I may decide to fail you from the class. In all cases of cheating, I will also report the incident to the Dean of Students. Additionally, if an international student cheats, I will also report the incident to the International Students Office.
  11. I reserve the right to change my policies stated in this syllabus at some point in the semester. If I do make a change to a policy, I will announce it in class and send the change in email.