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Course:  Math 20D   (Course Catalog)

Title:  Introduction to Differential Equations

Credit Hours:  4

Prerequisites:  Math 20C (or equivalent)

Catalog Description:  Ordinary differential equations: exact, separable, and linear; constant coefficients, undetermined coefficients, variation of parameters. Series solutions. Systems, Laplace transforms. Computing symbolic and graphical solutions using Matlab.

Textbook:  You can use either of two books for this course:

Material Covered:  We shall cover parts of chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 of the Boyce and DiPrima text. These correspond to chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 in the Lebl text. A list of topics scheduled to be covered each day can be found on the  Course Calendar.

Homework:  Homework is a very important part of the course and in order to fully master the topics it is essential that you work carefully on every assignment and try your best to complete every problem. You have two options for homework in this class. You can either (1) submit online homework through WileyPLUS or (2) submit handwritten homework through Gradescope. (For option 2, homework may be typed. All submissions must be PDFs; handwritten submissions must be scanned.)

  • In either method, the total number of points for each assignment will be added together and divided by the total number of points available in order to obtain a percentage score.
  • The total number of points available will be different for each method, so the scores will be converted to percentages at the end of the quarter.
  • Students may choose either homework method. If a student chooses to submit both "online" and "offline" homework, then the highest percentage of the two will be used. (It is not possible to combine the two methods. Only the method giving the higher percentage will be used.)
  • It is not necessary for students to specify their choice. The higher percentage score will be used automatically.
  • Homework may not be submitted late.
  • No homework scores will be dropped at the end of the quarter.

Homework due dates are chosen to help students keep to the pace of the course and stay current with the topics covered in the lectures. The "No late homework" policy is designed to encourage students to complete homework assignments on time and reward those who do.

Course Readings:  Reading the sections in the textbook that correspond to what we are discussing in class is a very important part of learning the subject. Lecture time is very limited and not every subject can be fully covered in the time allotted for lecture. Consequently, it is in your own interests to read the related chapters in the textbook.

Electronic Computing Devices:   Graphing calculators and computer programs (or online computing websites such as Wolfram|Alpha) can be very helpful when working through your homework. However, a calculator or computer should be used as an aid in the learning concepts, not just as a means of computation. You should use these devices when working on math problems at home, but always keep in mind that you will not be allowed access to any electronic computing devices during exams or quizzes. Of course, this also means that you will not be asked to solve problems on exams or quizzes that require the aid of an electronic computing device.

  • Help with using TI graphing calculators is available in the Calculus Tutoring Lab.
  • The use of electronic devices will not be permitted during exams or quizzes.

Labs:   The MATLAB assignments are a required part of the course. The assignments, due dates, and instructions on how to submit the assignments can be found here:

There will be MATLAB tutors available in B432 to help you with your assignments.

MATLAB Quiz:   There will be a MATLAB quiz given at the end of the quarter. The quiz will be held during your scheduled MATLAB time in AP&M B432. If you are unable to make the scheduled time, you will be able to schedule an alternate time online. The MATLAB Quiz can be used to replace one MATLAB assignment.

TritonEd Quizzes:  There will be FOUR quizzes that you will take through TritonEd. The first of these is a Syllabus Quiz (due on the Friday of Week 2). The remaining TritonEd Quizzes are actually surveys and your score is based on completion. They are only called quizzes to make it clear that they are required. The quizzes are:

  • Syllabus Quiz:  A multiple choice quiz based on the syllabus. Due Friday, Oct 13 at 11:00 P.M.
  • Start of Quarter Survey:  Due Friday, Oct 13 at 11:00 P.M.
  • Mid-Quarter Survey:  Due Friday, Nov 03 at 11:00 P.M.
  • End of Quarter Survey:  Due Friday, Dec 08 at 11:00 P.M. (Not yet released.)
The quizzes are accessed in TritonEd from the Quiz Folder in the Content area.

Exams:  There will be two midterm exams and a final exam. Check the  Course Calendar  for the exact dates of the midterm and final exams. You may use one 8.5 x 11 inch page of handwritten notes. (Both sides are okay, but no photocopies are allowed.) You may not use any other notes or any electronic devices. Please bring your student ID to the exams.

  • You may bring ONE 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of handwritten notes. You may use both sides. (No photocopies!)
  • No calculators will be allowed during the examinations.
  • We will not be using Blue Books for exams this quarter.

Final Exams:

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not have a schedule conflict involving the final examination.
    You should not enroll in this class if you cannot sit for the final examination at its scheduled time.
  • You must pass the final exam ( >59% ) in order to pass the class. (The actual required percentage may be lowered, depending on overall class performance.)

Make-up Exams:  Make-up exams will not be given. If you miss a midterm exam for any reason, then your course grade will be computed using Method 2. (See below.)

Grading:  There are two methods to determine your course grade:

  • Method 1:   10% HW,   8% MATLAB,   2% Quizzes,   20% Midterm 1,   20% Midterm 2,   40% Final Exam
  • Method 2:   10% HW,   8% MATLAB,   2% Quizzes,   20% Best Midterm Exam,   60% Final Exam
Your grade will be computed using both methods and then the better grade will be used.

Note on MATLAB grades:  There are four labs. Each of these four is worth 2% of your grade (for 8% total). The MATLAB Quiz at the end of the quarter can be used to replace one MATLAB assignment.

After your weighted average is calculated, letter grades will be assigned based on the standard grading scale:

A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D F
[99,100] [93,99) [90,93) [87,90) [83,87) [80,83) [77,80) [73,77) [70,73) [60,70) [0,60)

We may adjust the scale to be more lenient, but we guarantee that the grade corresponding to a given percentage will not be lower than specified by the above scale. There will be no curve, but we may adjust the scale to be more lenient (depending on the overall performance of the class).

Please notice that outside factors, including the need for a certain grade for admission/retention in any academic program, scholarship or transfer credit, graduation requirements or personal desire for a specific grade DO NOT appear in the above calculations, and thus are not considered in any way in the determination of your course grade. Effort, improvement, class attendance and participation will all dramatically improve your grade in the course in that they will allow you to do well on quizzes, exams, and the final exam. They will NOT, however, actively participate in the calculation of your course grade.

No extra credit will be given in this class.

Gradescope: Exam grading will be done using an online tool called Gradescope ( Exams will be scanned and uploaded to Gradescope and will be graded within it. As a consequence, exams will not be returned to the students. Instead, a digital version of your exams will be made available after the grading has been completed. An email will be sent from Gradescope when the exams are made available.

Regrades:  Regrade requests will be made using the built-in regrade request feature in Gradescope. There will be a limited window of time after the exams are made available during which the regrade request feature will be active. This time window will be announced when the exam scores are released to the students.

Academic Dishonesty:  Academic dishonesty is considered a serious offense at UCSD.  Students caught cheating will face an administrative sanction which may include suspension or expulsion from the university.  It is in your best interest to maintain your academic integrity. (Click here for more information.)

Suggestions:  Below are some suggestions that I hope will help you to succeed in this course:

  • Spend sufficient time on the course. According to the policy of UCSD's Academic Senate, "The value of a course in units ... shall be reckoned at the rate of one unit for three hours' work per week per quarter on the part of the student." During a ten-week quarter, for a 4 credit course, you should be willing to spend about 12 hours per week on the course.
  • Keep up with the homework and do not miss a midterm. Missing a homework assignment will hurt your grade because no homework scores will be dropped. This policy is designed to encourage students to complete all the assignments and reward those who do.
  • Get started on the homework assignments early. This will enable you to make the most of your discussion section time by coming prepared with specific questions.