Center for University Studies and Programs 124:
Calculus I
Winter 2007

Develops modern calculus by investigating the questions, problems, and ideas that motivated its discovery and practice. Studies the real number system and functions defined on it, focusing on limits, area and tangent calculations, properties and applications of the derivative, and the notion of continuity. Emphasizes problem-solving and mathematical thinking.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00-12:25, room UW2-131.
Fridays 11:00-12:25, room UW1-120.
Michael Stiber, room UW1-341, phone 352-5280, office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:30 or by appointment.
Course Web
We will be making heavy use of a course blog at to provide an alternative means of communication and a record for the quarter. Read the blog regularly, subscribe to its RSS feed, or check the latest entries syndicated onto the course web page. Feel free to comment on postings; I will monitor these and respond when appropriate.
Required Textbook
James Stewart, Single Variable Essential Calculus: Early Transcendentals, Thomson, 2007.
Additional readings and materials
C.H. Edwards, The Historical Development of the Calculus, Springer-Verlag, 1979.

I will place additional materials on library reserve, e-reserve or link to them via the web site.

Course organization
Our class meets three times a week: twice in an ordinary classroom and once (Fridays) in a computer lab. We will make use of the lab on Fridays to do hands-on activities, both as individuals and as groups. Generally speaking, our Tuesday meetings will include a brief quiz that reviews the previous week’s work. Please note that this course is still under development, and expect to see schedule revisions, pointers to additional materials, and other announcements via the course web site and blog.
Class meetings and you
In my mind, you are adults and I will treat you as such. I therefore do not take attendance and leave it up to you to come to class or not and to assume responsibility for the consequences of your decision. However, I strongly encourage you to come to class and, in fact, a portion of your grade will depend on your participation in in-class quizzes and labs. You will be held responsible for all material covered in class, regardless of its presence (or lack thereof) in the textbook. In fact, I guarantee that there will be material covered in class that is neither in the text nor the additional readings.

While in class, I ask that you not engage in behavior that may be disruptive or distracting to your colleagues. In particular, if you plan to use a computer during class, please sit at the rear of the class. In my opinion, computers are not the best way to take notes. Here is my suggested three-step method for note-taking:

  1. Read the materials for the class (the textbook section(s) and any additional readings) beforehand. Take notes while you read. Don’t just summarize; write down any questions you have — you will want to ask these during class. Work some of the examples/exercises yourself to check your initial understanding. You might want to leave extra space for additional notes (answers, corrections, clarifications) that you take during class. Some people like to use a different colored pen or pencil for notes, questions, attempted exercises, in-class versus out-of-class, etc.
  2. Take notes during class. Make sure you get all of your questions answered and understand why you had trouble with any exercises you tried.
  3. Later that evening, review your notes. If you like, you might rewrite them, integrating together the in-class and before-class components. Whatever method you choose, make sure that there aren’t any “holes” in your understanding. Homework assignments will help you do this, too.
Your grade will be composed of your performance on tests and homeworks, plus your classroom contributions as measured by lab reports and quizzes.

Both the midterm and the final are equally weighted. The homeworks are not; each homework’s contribution to your homework average will depend on the number of points in that homework. Laboratory reports (either individual or group) will be graded pass/fail. You will receive credit for all quizzes that you complete (in other words, I won’t give credit for blank sheets of paper).

Your course average will be computed as: 25% homework + 25% midterm + 25% final + 15% labs + 10% quizzes.

I don’t grade on a curve. I compute everyone’s quarter average based on the formula above. I then use my judgment to determine what averages correspond to an ‘A’, ‘B’, etc. for the quarter. Some quarters’ assignments, etc. turn out harder, and so the averages are lower. Other quarters, averages are higher. I use my judgment to adjust for that at the end. Decimal grades are then computed using the equivalences in the UW Catalog, linearly interpolating between letter-grade boundaries. Furthermore, I am well aware of the significance of assigning a grade below 2.0, in terms of impact on your career here at UWB. I can assure you that I examine in detail the performance in this course of each student before assigning a grade below 2.0.

What is the difference between this and grading on a curve? With the latter, the goal is to have X% ‘A’s, Y % ‘B’s, etc. My way, I would be happy to give out all ‘A’s (if they were earned). A shorthand summary of the qualitative meaning of letter grades is:

Complete or near-complete mastery of all course subject matter. Participation in all or almost all labs and quizzes.
Substantial mastery of most course material. Participation in all or almost all labs and quizzes.
C (above 2.0)
To receive a decimal grade of 2.0 or above, you must have demonstrated sufficient mastery of the course material to, in my judgment, be capable of taking a course that has this one as a prerequisite or be qualified to receive a degree that has this course as one of its requirements. It may be that your test and homework performance indicates better than ‘C’-level work, but that you have chosen not to participate in in-class activities. Such work habits are also suggestive of future success.
Assignments will be due at specific dates and times. I will not accept any lateness in this class — if your assignment is submitted late, it will not be graded, and you will receive a zero for that assignment. Except for special circumstances, such as medical and other emergencies, no exceptions will be made to this policy. You are more than welcome to submit work before the due date.

To ease homework grading and speed return of your work, please follow these homework preparation guidelines:

We will be experimenting with a podcast this quarter. I will divide you into groups and assign each group a topic and discussion framework. Each week, one group will need to research their topic so they can carry on an intelligent conversation that addresses the issues outlined in the framework. You will deliver an MP3 file to me by email for posting to our podcast at See the course web for additional information about podcast production (hardware, software, instructions, grading rubric). A podcast episode will count as one 100-point homework.
Special needs
If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at (425) 352-5307 or at In most cases, you will need to provide documentation of your disability as part of the review process.
You are expected to do your work on your own. If you get stuck, you may discuss the problem with other students, provided that you don’t copy from them. Assignments must be written up independently. You may always discuss any problem with the me or with tutors at the Quantitative Skills Center or the Writing Center. You are expected to subscribe to the highest standards of honesty. Failure to do this constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism includes copying assignments in part or in total, verbal dissemination of results, or using solutions from other students, solution sets, other textbooks, etc. without crediting these sources by name. Any student guilty of plagiarism will be subject to disciplinary action.
If you have problems with anything in the course, please come and see me during office hours, or send email. I want you to succeed in this course. If you have trouble with the assignments, see me before they are due.

Tentative Course Schedule






Welcome; the real number system; functions

Stewart, § 1.1


Lab 1: Working with functions

Stewart, § 1.2



Stewart, § 1.3

HW 1 due


Calculating limits

Stewart, § 1.4


Lab 2: Take me to the limit

Podcast 1 due


Discontinuities and singularities

Stewart, § 1.5

HW 2 due



Stewart, § 1.6


Lab 3: To infinity and beyond

Podcast 2 due


Early notions of the tangent

Edwards, pp. 122-127

HW 3 due


Calculating tangents

Stewart § 2.1, pp. 73-76


Lab 4: Going off on a tangent

Podcast 3 due


The derivative: the difference quotient

Stewart, § 2.1

HW 4 due


Change and the derivative

Stewart, § 2.2


Lab 5: Approximation by finite differences

Podcast 4 due


Midterm review

HW 5 due




Lab 6: Archimedes and the birth of calculus?


Properties of the derivative

Stewart, § 2.3, 2.4


The chain rule

Stewart, § 2.5


Lab 7: Working on the chain gang

Podcast 5 due


Applications I: related rates and linear approximation

Stewart, § 2.7, 2.8

HW 6 due


Derivatives of special functions: exponentials and logarithms

Stewart, § 3.1, 3.2


Lab 8: Real world project I

Podcast 6 due


Exponentials and logarithms, cont’d

Stewart, § 3.2, 3.3

HW 7 due


Applications II: Exponential growth & decay; minima and maxima; optimization

Stewart, § 3.4, 4.1, 4.5


Lab 9: Real world project II

Podcast 7 due


Applications III: Derivatives and graphs

Stewart, § 4.3, 4.4

HW 8 due


Applications, cont’d


Lab 10: Putting it all together

Podcast 8 due


Final Exam

Last modified: December 27, 2006