Math 309, Written Homework, Fall 2015

In addition to WW assignments, there are also homework assignments that require written solutions to problems assigned from the textbook.  

**  Be sure you get the assigned problems from the current edition (5th) of the  textbook; the problems are often different in earlier editions.

** Also, be sure you do the problems in the weekly schedule from the column titled "Written Homework--To  Hand In"  and NOT from the "Recommended" column ! 
  • The assigned problems will be posted on the main page of the syllabus week by week.  Sometimes I keep adding to an assignment as the lectures continue, but the complete list of problems due on Friday will always be available, at latest, by 8 p.m on Tuesday of that week.  Check the syllabus after 5 p.m. Tuesday to be sure you have the complete Friday assignment.
  • Solutions are due in class on Fridays. Bringing it to class yourself is always the safest. If you can't be there, then you can either send your homework to class with a trusted friend, or put it in the plastic tray on my office door sometime no later than 3 p.m. on the due day.  Late homeworks will not be accepted unless there is a legitimate special reason such as illness; missing homework scores count as "0's"
  • The first homework set HW1 will be due in class on Friday, September 4 
For your written solutions, it's worth remembering that

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure"  
     Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)   
     Do you really want an unhappy and irritated reader evaluating your work?       

Here are some guidelines for writing your solutions. A goal in most upper level math courses is to develop clear writing and arguments, so
  • Write your homework solutions on 8.5 x 11 paper with "smooth edges";  if you tear your solutions out of a spiral notebook, remove the torn ragged edge.  This is a courtesy to the graders: papers with ragged edges tend to stick together, and handling the pages causes bits of paper to fall off onto the desk and floor. 
  • Please staple the pages together in correct order.  Be sure your name is on each sheet in case pages become separated.  Please include either your official "preferred" name, if you provided one to WebSTAC, or your WU ID Number.  The graders have to record grades in Blackboard and there are frequently several people in a class with the same last name.
  • Imagine that your solution is going to be read by another typical student in this class and always include enough details so this person could read along smoothly. It is not the reader's job to try to reconstruct how you got the answer. Just writing down an answer like "x = 5" or "yes" may not receive credit even if correct.
  • Advice: solve problems first on scratchpaper; then use the work to write your hand-in solution.  The reader should feel like s/he is reading a coherent solution, not merely a bunch of scratchwork that somebody else could use to write write a nice solution; doing that is not the reader's job.
  • Solutions for each problem should be visually easy to read:  write legibly and for the sake of the grader, be sure your writing is dark enough to be read easily. Avoid writing very lightly in pencil.
  • When finished, check your mathematical writing style by reading aloud the words and symbols you have written exactly as they appear on the page. What you hear should be smooth-sounding English -- or else something is missing on paper!  If you don't hear necessary transition words such as "let" or "therefore," then insert them into your written solution.
  • If necessary, rewrite the solution until you think it says what you want to say in a way that's clear and easy to read.
These Guidelines for Good Mathematical Writing might also be helpful.
Homework and Academic Integrity:  Talking with other students about homework problems is a good way to learn, and I encourage it,  BUT each student must write up his or her own solutions. Therefore, no solutions from two students should look too much alike.  After all, everybody says things in a unique way, makes up notation as needed, etc.  
Suggestion:  a good way to help each other learn and to avoid "copying" even inadvertently from another student is to talk about problems together without taking any notes away from the conversation. This lets you share your understanding and ideas, but then forces you to reconstruct your own understanding on paper.  In case of any doubts, ask me.
The "bottom line" is that representing as your own any work that is not your own is an academic integrity violation.

Grading and Homework Returns

Course assistants will grade some (not all) of the problems that you hand in; I will choose the problems to be graded after your solutions are handed in.  Of course, you need to hand in solutions for all the assigned problems because you don't know which ones will be selected. The reason for this process (and for having WebWorK) is that regular graded homework is important and the size of the sections makes it very hard to grade all the problems carefully and get them returned to you in a reasonable time.

It is a good idea to keep your graded homework papers together in a folder after they are returned.  Of course, they can be useful for future review and studying, but also they are the only existing record of your work -- for example, if a question about a "missing homework score" comes up later, you need to be able to produce the paper.

The graders will post each homework score in the Grading Center in Blackboard when they are finished.  Normally the score should appear around the time that you hand in the next homework assignment, but some graders will be a little faster with this than others.  So don't worry immediately if grades for a certain homework appear a little earlier for some students than others.

I plan to return graded HW papers in alphabetized piles at the front of the
classroom on Fridays. This means that someone else could notice your HW
score.  I will assume this method is OK with you.  But in accordance with FERPA
regulations, if you don't want your homework returned in this way, please notify
me by email and you will be able to pick it up later at my office.

    Any questions about grading/regrading of homework assignments or must be settled within one week of when the papers were returned in class.  If you delay more than a week in picking up a paper, it cannot be eligible for any reconsideration except in cases of documented illness, etc.