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Math 20D Spring 2016
Course Syllabus

Course:  Math 20D

Title:  Introduction to Differential Equations

Credit Hours:  4

Prerequisite:  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: Elementary Differential Equations (10th Edition), by William E. Boyce and Richard D. DiPrima; published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2013.

Subject Material:  We shall cover parts of Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the text.

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.  We will have two different kinds of homework assignments in this class: online homework (which will be graded) and "paper-and-pen" homework (which will not be graded).

Reading Assignments:  Reading and doing the examples in the sections of the textbook corresponding to our discussions in lecture will help you learn and understand the course material better.  If you work through the relevant examples in the book before you start your homework problems, you will probably solve the homework problems more easily and perform better on your exams than if you do not do the reading.  Your reading assignments are on the course calendar; for example, 2.3 is written on April 1, so your assignment is to read section 2.3 before our class meeting that day.

MATLAB:  You have four MATLAB assignments and a MATLAB quiz that count for a total of 10% of your course grade (the assignments count for 5%, and the quiz counts for 5%).

Midterm Examinations:  There will be two midterm exams during the regular lecture hour on two Wednesdays; see the course calendar for the specific dates.  You must take your midterms on the scheduled dates at the scheduled times; they will not be offered at an alternate time.  You will not be allowed to use a calculator during exams, but you may bring one handwritten 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of notes with you (yes you can write on both sides of the paper).

Final Examination:  The final exam will be held from 3:00pm - 5:59pm on Wednesday, June 8.  Please note:

You will not be allowed to use a calculator on the final exam, but you may bring one handwritten 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of notes with you (yes you can write on both sides of the paper).

Regrades:  Graded MATLAB assignments will be returned in the discussion sections.  If you find a grading or point totalling error on a MATLAB assignment, you must return it immediately to your TA.  Regrade requests will not be considered once the assignment leaves the room.  If you do not retrieve your graded assignment during discussion section, you must arrange to pick it up from your TA within one week after it was returned in order for any regrade request to be considered.

Gradescope:  Midterm and final exams will be uploaded and graded on, an online grading platform. You will be automatically added to the course around the time of the first midterm. You will receive an email with instructions on how to login. Passwords can be reset (or set originally) here. Once the exams are graded, an email will be sent. Regrades can be requested directly on Gradescope. Regrades will be left available for one week after grading is finished for the midterms, and some short amount of time (hopefully a full day) for the final exam.

Grade Recording Errors:  Keep all of your returned homework and check TritonEd to make sure that the grades on your papers are the same as the grades recorded on TritonEd.  If there is any mistake in the recording of your scores, you must bring us the original assignment/lab in order for us to make the correction.

Grades: Your cumulative average will be the best of the following two weighted averages:

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- F
97 93 90 87 83 80 77 73 70 < 70

We may adjust the above scale to be more lenient (depending on the overall class performance), but we guarantee that we will not adjust the scale to make it harder to get a better grade.  Please note:

Late Homework:  Online homework problems may be completed after the due dates; however, there is a late penalty of 50%.  This penalty is applied only to the problems which are submitted late, and not to the entire assignment.

Piazza:  Piazza is an online discussion forum that allows you to ask questions using mathematical symbols and expressions.  Piazza was designed to enable you to get help quickly and efficiently from classmates, TAs, and instructors.  Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, you are encouraged to post your questions on Piazza.  Find our class page at:  If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

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/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.

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

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.)

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