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Math 165: Calculus I, Spring 2015

Instructor: William DeMeo
Office: Carver, Room 466.
Office hours: MW 12:30pm-2pm, and by appointment.

Lecture time and location: MWF 10-10:50am in Carver 101.

Teaching Assistants:

  • Mohit Kumbhat (Secs. 9, 11, 13)
    Office: Carver 451.
    Office Hours: T 11am-12pm, Th 10am-12pm.

  • Alex Nowak (Secs. 10, 12, 14)
    Office: Carver 489.
    Office Hours: M 1:30-2:30pm, W 1:30-3pm
    Help Room: F 1-2pm (Carver 385)

Credits: 4

Course Webpage:

(For login instructions, see the Online Homework section below.)

Math 165 Q&A Forum:

Remarks about office hours: The regularly scheduled office hours listed above are subject to change. Changes will be announced during lecture. Office hours are the hours during which I make a point of being available in my office to answer questions. However, students are encouraged to stop by my office at anytime to see if I'm available. It is helpful (but not required) to send me an email in advance to let me know when you plan to visit.


You are now reading the main course web page (which is simply a file in a GitHub repository called Math165-Spring2015). If you don't know what the stuff in parentheses means, don't worry. It will be explained at our first class meeting.

The paragraphs below serve as the syllabus for Sections 9--14 of Math 165.

This page, as well as the content directory above, and its subdirectories, will be updated throughout the semester, and students are expected to visit this page periodically.

Please bookmark this page or, better yet, email the url of this page to yourself!

The ISU Blackboard system will be used only for recording test scores and grades. Please Note, the Blackboard system often reports cumulative grade totals that bear little relation to the course grades as they will be computed at the end of the semester. If you want to find out where you stand in the class, please keep track of your grades and refer to the Grading Policy section below.

Class Meeting Times

Lecture: MWF 10--11:50am Carver Room 101
Recitations: Tuesdays at 9am or 10am or 12pm (depending on your section)

Overview, Prerequisites, Outcomes, Accessibility

We will cover Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 of the textbook, which includes the following topics:

  • 2. Limits and Continuity (~9 days)
  • 3. Differentiation (~15 days)
  • 4. Applications of Derivatives (~10 days)
  • 5. Integration (~11 days)
  • 7. Integrals and Transcendental Functions (~6 days)

More general information about Math 165 is found on the following pages:

The information at the link above applies not only to our section, but also to the other sections of Math 165.

Students enrolled in Math 165 are expected to have taken a pre-calculus course, or some course in which you learned about:

  • functions and their graphs
  • trigonometry (sines, cosines, etc)
  • exponential functions (2x, ex, etc)
  • logarithms (ln(x) or log(x))

You will have a chance during the first few weeks of this semester to test yourself to make sure you have the necessary background to succeed in the class.

Learning Outcomes
Generally speaking, students will master concepts and solve problems based on functions, limits, derivatives, introductory integrals, the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, and applications of derivatives and integrals. For a more detailed list of the course objectives, see

If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or otherwise, and need any assistance please notify me immediately.


Weir, Hass, Thomas' Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 12th Edition.

The publisher's web page for our textbook is at the following url:

Important Note: It is highly recommended that you buy a hard copy of the textbook and that you purchase a version that comes bundled with an access code for the MyLabsPlus online homework system. This will make it convenient to study from the book and complete the online homework assignments.

Having said that, it is possible to buy an access code for MyLabsPlus, either directly through the MyLabsPlus website or from the university bookstore, without buying the textbook. In fact, access to MyLabsPlus comes with a (somewhat restricted) electronic version of the textbook, so it is not absolutely necessary to have a hard copy.

However, it is helpful to have a hard copy, or at least an electronic version that you can view on a tablet when studying in the library. If you limit yourself to the electronic access provided through MyLabsPlus, you may find it very inconvenient and, as a result, end up studying from the textbook less often than if you had purchased a hard copy.


There will be two tests, one midterm exam, and one final exam. Each test is worth 15%, the midterm is worth 20%, and the final exam is worth 25% of the course grade.

  • TEST 1 on Chapter 2
    TIME: Tuesday, February 3 at your usual recitation meeting time.
    LOCATION: in your usual recitation classroom.

  • MIDTERM EXAM on Chapter 2 and most of Chapter 3 (up to and including 3.8)
    TIME: Wednesday, February 25, 8:15--9:45pm LOCATION: Hoover 2055

  • TEST 2 on Sections 3.8 through 4.6 (except 4.2)
    TIME: Tuesday, March 31 at your usual recitation meeting time.
    LOCATION: in your usual recitation classroom.

  • FINAL EXAM (cumulative)
    TIME: Thursday, May 7, 7--9pm
    LOCATION: Hoover 2055

The final exam will be a common and cumulative exam; that is, all Math 165 students take the same exam and it will cover everything we have learned during the semester.

In accordance with university policy, the final exam is mandatory and must be taken by all students at the scheduled time. Do not make travel plans before knowing the date of the final exam.

Math 165 exams from previous semesters are available, and it is strongly recommend that you make use of them when preparing to take the exams in this class. The best way to prepare for a math test is to practice solving many problems of the kind that might appear on the test.

(For your convenience, the old exams for Math 165 are also collected in the tests/old_exams directory of this GitHub repository.)


There will be roughly 6 quizzes administered in the recitations sections. Your best 5 quiz scores will account for 5% of the final course grade.

Online Homework

Solving lots of problems is the best way to prepare yourself to do well on the tests and quizzes in this class.

The online homework will account for 20% of the course grade and will be assigned about once or twice per week.

All homework for this course will be done online with the MyLabsPlus (MLP) system. (More info on MLP below.) The problems assigned and the due dates will be clearly indicated on the MyLabslast website, so students must login frequently and check for newly assigned homework. (The last assignment will be due during the last week of the semester, also known as "dead week.")

Late homework will not be accepted or graded.

There will be between 15 and 20 online homework assignments during the semester. The two lowest homework scores will not count toward your grade.

Registered students should be automatically enrolled in MyLabsPlus (MLP) and can get started by navigating to the MyLabsPlus website and following the MyLabsPlus Login Instructions provided in the document posted at

More information about MyLabsPlus is found in the homework directory.

Handwritten Homework

To get the most out of the homework, and to prepare yourself well for the in-class (hand-written) tests and exams, it is a very good idea to print out hard copies of each MLP assignment, to take these hard copies to a quiet place like the library, and to work on them using a pencil. Thereafter, you should go through the assignment from the beginning while logged into MLP and submit your answers, using your handwritten notes and solutions as a guide.

Hand-written work will not be submitted for grading. However, for the purpose of asking questions about homework in lecture, recitation section, or office hours, as well as for studying for exams, it can be very helpful to have printed out hard copies of all the homework assignments.

Make-up Policy

There will be no make-up homework or exams. If you must miss an exam for a legitimate reason, contact the professor at least three days prior to the exam date and you might be allowed to take the exam before the scheduled exam time.

If you miss a test due to some unforeseen circumstance, you must contact the professor within one class meeting after the missed test and provide an explanation. If your excuse is accepted, the missed test score may be replaced with 80% of your final exam score. For example, if your excuse is accepted and you score a 90% on the final, then you will receive a 72% for the missed test (0.80*0.90 = 0.72).

Grading Policy

The breakdown of the final course grade is as follows:

  • Final exam: 25 points
  • Mid-term exam: 20 points
  • Tests: 30 points total
  • Homework: 20 points total
  • Quizzes: 5 points

At the end of the semester, letter grades will be assigned roughly according to the following table. However, the scale may be shifted, depending on overall student performance.

  • A: 91--100
  • B+: 87--90
  • B: 84--86
  • B-: 81--83
  • C+: 77--80
  • C: 74--76
  • C-: 71--73
  • D+: 67--70
  • D: 64--66
  • D-: 60--63
  • F: 0--59


Students are expected to attend all classes. A grade penalty will be exacted if you have an excessive number of absences (whether excused or unexcused). Specifically, you are permitted (but strongly discouraged from taking) seven absences in total. Each absence in addition to that may result in the deduction of points from your final grade.

If you plan to leave before class is over, the correct procedure is to mention this to the professor before the start of class. It is impolite and disruptive to your classmates to leave, or even pack up your belongings, before the lecture is over.

Asking Questions

When you don't understand something even after giving it some thought, please ask a question! The best time/place to do this is during lecture or recitation or office hours.

The second best time/place to ask a question is on our google groups Q&A forum.

There are two ways to post on our google groups forum:

  1. visit the page and select "Post a Question", OR

  2. send your post via email using the address math165-spring2015 at

Another way to ask a question is by using the "Ask my instructor" link on MyLabsPlus. This method is most convenient for the instructor because details about the problem you're having trouble with are automatically embedded in your email. Please note: if you use the "Ask my instructor" button, your question may appear on our google group forum (which is public). If you're uncomfortable with this, please say so in your message.

Finally, you may email the instructors directly, though the response time might be slower than if you use one of the preferred methods above.

Use of Electronics During Lecture

Silence and refrain from using all electronic devices (phones, ipods, tablets, microwave ovens, etc.) during class and exam periods. The only exception to this policy is the use of computers or tablets for the purpose of referring to an electronic copy of the textbook, or the online (MyLabsPlus) homework problems. Using a computer during lecture to check Facebook, for example, is totally unacceptable. Besides how this affects your own ability to focus on what is being taught in the lecture, computers can be very distracting to other students. Use of electronic devices in lecture for purposes unrelated to calculus will not be tolerated.

Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an internationally recognized academic support program offering free, regularly scheduled study sessions for traditionally difficult courses. Attend once or attend every session...the choice is up to you, but the data suggests that the more you attend, the higher your final grade will be in the course. Students are encouraged to attend SI at least once per week. More information is at

Academic Honesty

Cheating will not be tolerated. Violations of this policy will be referred to and dealt with by the ISU Office of Judicial Affairs, in a manner consistent with university regulations, which range from a warning to expulsion from the university.

Disabilities Statement

If you believe that you have a disability that qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires accommodations, you should contact the Student Disability Resources Office for information on appropriate policies and procedures. The Disability Resources Office is located in the Student Services Building, Room 1076; phone number: 515-294-7220. The next step is to see me. I am happy to assist with accommodations, but I will not provide them retroactively (so file the appropriate requests and paperwork before the first exam!).

Classroom Policy

In this course, we follow the general university classroom policy:

Additional Resources


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