CRN 21522

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The simplicity of nature is not to be measured by that of our conceptions.
Infinitely varied in its effects, nature is simple only in its causes,
and its economy consists in producing a great number of phenomena,
often very complicated, by means of a small number of general laws.
Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827)

  • Office Hours. I will offer daily 30-minute office hour slots on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Check available times here, then send me an email message to reserve a spot one day in advance. For the laboratory assignments I prefer to talk to the whole team. Our Teaching Assistant cande7 will moderate the CyberBoard.
  • BDH.jpg
    Textbook. Paul Blanchard, Robert L. Devaney, Glen R. Hall. Differential Equations. Brooks/Cole, 4th edition. I will give you reading assignments every week.
  • Prerequisites. I will assume that you have a thorough knowledge of the material covered in your Precalculus and your first two Calculus courses. In particular, it is essential that you are comfortable with techniques of integration and the method of partial fractions.
  • Course Contents. The course will cover the following material:
    • Chapter 1.1-1.9 (4 weeks)
    • Chapter 2.1-2.6 (2.5 weeks)
    • Chapter 3.1-3.7 (4 weeks)
    • Chapter 5.1-5.2 (1.5 weeks)
    • Chapter 6.1-6.4 incl. selected topics from Chapter 4 (2.5 weeks)
  • Course Objectives. During the course you should expect (and I will expect) that you make considerable progress in the following areas:
  1. Apply standard techniques to analyze and solve ordinary differential equations: using analytical, numerical and qualitative methods; using the method of the Laplace transform.
  2. Be able to model with differential equations and interpret the results of their mathematical analysis.
  3. Understand the fundamental difference between linear and non-linear differential equations.
  • Homework. I will regularly assign homework. You will post homework solutions and discuss problems at the S.O.S. Math Cyberboard. Your contributions evaluated for both quality and quantity will contribute 10% of your grade. Please follow the homework link for detailed instructions.
  • Laboratory assignments. There will be a few laboratory team assignments. You will be able to collaborate with your team members on Blackboard. The written lab reports will be graded; each team member receives the same score. Lab report scores count a total of 30% of your grade.
  • Tests. Timed exams will be given on the following days from 1:30-2:50 p.m.: February 25, April 6, and May 6. Each exam counts 20% of your grade. Make-up tests will only be given under extraordinary circumstances, and only if you notify the instructor prior to the exam date. There will be no final exam.
  • Grades. Your grade will be based on the percentage of the total points that you earn during the semester. You need at least 90% of the points to earn an A, at least 80% for a B, at least 70% for a C, and at least 60 % for a D.
  • Time Requirement. I expect that you spend an absolute minimum of nine hours a week on this class: reading the textbook and working on the home work problems and the laboratory projects. Not surprisingly, it has been my experience that there is a strong correlation between class grade and study time.
  • Drop Policy. The class schedule lists Thursday, April 1, as the last day to drop with an automatic "W". After the deadline, I can only drop you from the course with a grade of "F". To be fair to your team members, please drop the course only after at a project due date and notify your team and me.
  • Academic Integrity. All students must abide by UTEP's academic integrity policies. For detailed information visit the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) website. Academic Integrity is a commitment to fundamental values. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals into action. Specifically, these values are defined as follows:
    • Honesty: advances the quest for truth and knowledge by requiring intellectual and personal honesty in learning, teaching, research, and service.
    • Trust: fosters a climate of mutual trust, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and enables all to reach their highest potential.
    • Fairness: establishes clear standards, practices, and procedures and expects fairness in the interaction of students, faculty, and administrators.
    • Respect: recognizes the participatory nature of the learning process and honors and respects a wide range of opinions and ideas.
    • Responsibility: upholds personal responsibility and depends upon action in the face of wrongdoing.
  • Military Service. If you are a military student with the potential of being called to military service and/or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact the instructor as soon as possible.
  • Counseling Center. You are encouraged to go to Counseling and Psychological Services (202 Union West) for personal assistance as you work through personal concerns. Confidential counseling services are offered in English or in Spanish.
  • Disabilities. If you have a disability and need special accommodation, please contact the Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS). The Center aspires to provide students accommodations and support services to help them pursue their academic, graduation, and career goals. Phone 747-5148. E-mail:


You will work in teams on four laboratory projects. You can find out about your team by clicking on the Teams tab on the Blackboard course page. There you will also find tools to facilitate your group work. Different teams will work on different projects (see below). I encourage you to utilize my daily office hours; I prefer to talk to the whole team. The objective is to write one joint report to address all questions asked on your laboratory page. There is no lower or upper page limit. MS Office and Google docs have tools to type math symbols. You do not need to type your report if the handwriting is legible. Where appropriate, do not just write formulas but explain what you are doing. You should collaborate within your team; it is not a good idea to "split the work". If one team member does not participate in a meaningful way, let me know ASAP. If you use outside material you have to add these references at the end of your paper. The paper must be submitted in one PDF file by the end of the day it is due - no exceptions.

Lab 1 (due on March 23)

  • 1A for Teams 1,5,9 | 1B for Teams 4,8,12 | 1C for Teams 2,6,10 | 1D for Teams 3,7,11

Lab 2 (due on April 13)

  • 2A for Teams 2,6,8 | 2B for Teams 3,7,10,11 | 2C for Teams 1,4,12 | 2D for Teams 5,9

Lab 3 (due on April 27)

  • 3A for Teams 1,2,3 | 3B for Teams 4,5,6 | 3C for Teams 7,8 | 3D for Teams 9,10

Lab 4 (due on May 14)

  • 4A for Teams 1,2,9 | 4B for Teams 4,5,6 | 4C for Teams 7,8,10


Slope field and phase plane plotter, by Darryl Nester.

Weekly Assignments

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