CRN 17229

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Your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing. Abraham Lincoln

UNIV 1301 - University Seminar (17229) - Fall 2011
MW 13:30-14:50 in MAIN 211
Boolean Algebras

  • Goals and Objectives. The course is designed to endow you with the university survival skills necessary to become a successful UTEP student as well as to give a gentle introduction to advanced mathematics. Here are the objectives of UNIV 1301:
  1. Students will begin to understand their roles, opportunities, and responsibilities that impact their success within the context of the university.
  2. Students will learn about and practice essential academic skills in order to strengthen performance in the university setting.
  3. Students will begin to build a network of faculty, staff, and peers in order to create a supportive and positive learning experience/environment.
  4. Students will begin to assess and better understand their own interests, abilities, and values in order to more efficiently pursue their academic, career, and life goals.
  5. Students will become involved in UTEP activities and utilize campus resources.
  • Textbook. Borders: Crossing Into Your Future, 3rd ed., Hayden-McNeil, 2011.
  • Prerequsite. Co-enrollment in Math 1508 or in a course in the Calculus sequence is required.
  • Course contents.
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      We will spend slightly more than half of the allotted time of the course on the study skills portion of the course. You will learn time management skills, improve your note-taking skills, reevaluate your reading habits, work on your test-taking strategies, clarify your career and life goals, do some financial planning, etc. The required textbook provides the material for most of these activities. We will also explore the UTEP campus and some of its resources such as the Library and maybe the Centennial Museum.
    • The rest of the course will be devoted to the mathematical theme: A Boolean Algebra is an elementary axiomatically based mathematical structure. Set theory and binary logic provide the two classical examples of Boolean algebras. We will study these two examples, and then move on to introduce and investigate the structure of Boolean algebras in general. Highlights of the course will include a classification result about finite Boolean Algebras discovered by the American mathematician Marshall Stone, and applications to the basic design of digital computers. This part of the course gives an introduction to mathematics as “the art of reasoning with definitions”.
    • As much as possible, practice material for the study skills portion of the course will be taken from material of the theme: math exercises, reading assignments, etc.
  • Peer Leader Meeting. You must schedule a meeting with the Peer Leader during the first three weeks of the semester. A sign-up sheet for appointments will be provided.
  • Instructor Meeting. You must schedule a meeting with the Instructor in the middle of the semester. A sign-up sheet for appointments will be provided.
  • Tests. Two tests will be given covering all material (math and non-math) covered in class and on homework assignments. The dates for the tests will be announced at least one week beforehand. Each test counts 10% of your grade. Make-up tests will only be given under extraordinary circumstances, and only if you notify one of the instructors prior to the exam date.
  • Final. The final on Wednesday, December 7, from 16:00-18:00, is mandatory and comprehensive. It counts 15% of your grade.
  • Homework Assignments. I will regularly assign homework. The homework will be collected at the beginning of class the day it is due and it will then be graded. Late homework submissions will not be accepted. Your homework will contribute 15% to your grade.
  • Various in-class assignments and quizzes will count 15% of your grade.
  • Student teams (three students) will give a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation in the middle of the semester. This presentation will account for another 10% of your grade. The presentations will require library research.
  • Each of you will read a general audience mathematics book and write a book review. The book review will be worth 10% of your grade. The instructor will provide you with a book list from which to pick.
  • You will attend at least three social, cultural or intellectual on-campus events, at least one from each category. Attendance at a UTEP Women’s Soccer game is mandatory (this counts as a social or cultural event). Proof of attendance of these events including a short report will contribute a total of 5% to your grade. The instructor and the peer leader will regularly announce upcoming events in class.
  • All students will participate in the online end-of-semester student feedback survey of the Entering Students Program.
  • Class policies.
  1. You should expect to pass this class if you spend at least six hours a week outside of class on solving homework problems, reviewing your class notes, preparing for the next class and working on the various projects. If you do not have sufficient time to study, you will probably fail this class.
  2. Each student is responsible for notice of and compliance with the provisions of the Student Conduct and Discipline section of the UT System Regents Rules and Regulations. All students are expected to behave as courteous, responsible adults. We will have frequent discussions and students are expected to tolerate and respect the opinions of others.
  3. Attendance will be recorded and will count 10% of your grade. Your attendance grade starts at 10 points. Once you have been absent 2 times unexcused, 1 point will be deducted for each further unexcused absence. An absence will only be considered excused if you have a valid reason and if you send an email to the peer leader prior to the class you will miss; starting at the 3rd excused absence you will have to provide documentation.
  4. To avoid unnecessary class disruptions you are expected to arrive on time and remain seated until the class is dismissed.
  5. Silence your cell phone; no text messaging during class. You may take notes using a laptop, but this privilege will be revoked if you are instead accessing email or the Internet without permission.
  6. Dropping the Class: Students may drop the class and receive a W prior to Friday, October 28. You will need to consult the instructor prior to dropping. It may not be in your best interest to drop the class, so we will need to discuss this option. After the drop deadline, a drop will result in a grade of 'F'.
  7. Academic Integrity. You are encouraged to work together on your class assignments. However, all written assignments must be entirely the work of the individual student.
  8. Plagiarism. We will discuss plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty in class. [From the Handbook of Operating Procedures:] "Plagiarism" means the appropriation, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another's work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of it in one's own academic work offered for credit, or using work in a paper or assignment for which the student had received credit in another course without direct permission of all involved instructors. Plagiarism is a serious violation of university policy and will not be tolerated. All cases of plagiarism will be reported to the Dean of Students for further review.
  9. Email. You must provide the teaching team with a UTEP email address and check your UTEP email daily. We may notify you by email about changes in the syllabus, due dates, or class cancellations.
  10. If you have or suspect you might have a disability and need an accommodation you should contact the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) at 747-5148 or at, or go to Room 106 Union East.
  • Grading Scale: A: 100-90 points, B: 89-80 points, C: 79-70 points, D: 69-60 points, F: less than 60 points. You must make at least a C to receive credit for this course.



  • 8/24: Read pp. vii-xxiv. There may be a quiz on Monday.
  • 8/29: Activity 1.2, p.15; 1-page essay: Was Algebra discovered or invented?
  • 9/7: Read Ch. 1, 2.1-2.3; find the critical path of your degree plan. There may be a quiz on Wednesday.
  • 9/19: Worksheet 2
  • 10/10: Read article about Cesar Chavez (UFW website)
  • 10/17: Museum review about the Cesar Chavez exhibition.
  • 10/26: Read pp. 66-76.
  • 10/31: Read pp. 77-90. There may be a quiz on Wednesday.


  • W 8/24: Three questions about UTEP; Tinto's Leaving College, History of the Freshmen Seminar movement in the United States
  • M 8/29: Quiz 1; Why go to College?; Propositional Logic: statements, free statements, quantifiers
  • W 8/31: "Was Mathematics invented or discovered?"; Degree plans; Propositional Logic: negation
  • M 9/5: Labor Day - no class
  • W 9/7: UTEP admin structure; critical path; time management
  • M 9/12: Guest speaker: Moises Buenfil (Career Services)
  • W 9/14: PowerPoint Presentation preparation: How to | Giving an Academic Talk, by Jonathan Shewchuk | Advice on Giving a Good PowerPoint Presentation, by Joseph A. Gallian | Sample 1 (.pptx) | Sample 2 (Beamer) | Grading Rubric | Group Selection
  • M 9/19: Propositional Logic: and, or, implication
  • W 9/21: Library Orientation (Robert Klapthor), LIBR 204A
  • M 9/26: Homework discussion, test preparation, GPA calculation
  • W 9/28: Test 1
  • M 10/3: Advising Q&A (Haydee Saucedo)
  • W 10/5: Discussion of test, learning styles, GPA calculation, W-drops
  • M 10/10: Book reviews: Rules | Books and Assignments | Academic Misconduct
  • W 10/12: Visit Centennial Museum
  • M 10/17: PowerPoint presentations: Leibniz, Frege; early registration for Spring 2012 starts; current research practices
  • W 10/19: PowerPoint presentations: Boole, Cantor, Russell
  • M 10/24: Undergraduate Research Experiences (Dr. Lourdes Echegoyen; about 35 minutes); planning of student-instructor meetings;set theory
  • M 10/26: Discover;set theory lecture
  • F 10/28: W-drop deadline
  • M 10/31: Note taking; Worksheet 3
  • W 11/2: World population at 7 billion; more on set theory.
  • M 11/7: Reading; test taking and test preparation; cardinality
  • W 11/9: Quiz; cardinality; power sets: Worksheet 4
  • M 11/14: Test 2
  • W 11/16: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • M 11/21: More on power sets.
  • W 11/23: Short and long term loans; Boolean Algebras.
  • M 11/28: Book reviews due/books returned; Marshall Stone's Theorem.
  • W 11/30: Pizza; closing.
  • W 12/7, 16:00-18:00: Final Examination

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