Course Syllabus

Analysis for Biologists I

Introduction to differential calculus, emphasizing development of basic skills. Examples promote understanding of mathematics and applications to modeling and solving biological problems. Topics include optimization and curve analysis. Prerequisite: either MATH 120, Q SCI 190, a minimum score of 2 on advanced placement test, or a score of 153-163 on MPT-AS placement test. Not available for credit to students who have completed MATH 124 with a 2.0 or higher. Offered: AWS.

Class description

Teaches students how to use mathematical techniques to better understand the behavior of the natural world. The logical development of many differential calculus techniques is explored in an applied setting using examples that offer an intuitive approach. The emphasis is on the development of basic skills with applications to environmental, biological, and natural resource problems.

Student learning goals

To master the concepts of elementary differential calculus techniques as applied to practical problems in biology, natural resources, environmental science and ecology.

To understand how to use differential calculus techniques to better understand and gain insight into the functioning of biological, natural resources and environmental systems.

To demonstrate the proper uses of mathematical thinking and the role mathematics plays in the scientific and the common press.

To allow students to better understand how mathematics can be properly used in their disciplinary studies in biology, natural resource sciences, environmental sciences, and other physical and social sciences.

General method of instruction

The course is delivered using a hybrid approach, but there are no formal lectures.

The web is used to deliver all course content. Students are responsible for accessing this information and for learning the course material. This requires self-discipline and vigilance to ensure that enough study time is devoted to this course on a daily basis. The instructors use email to communicate with the class and a discussion board is available for students to submit questions or comments. In addition, our course TA holds office hours to provide individual attention when needed. To keep students on pace, a self-graded homework assignment is assigned weekly and consists of 18-30 problems from the text. Homework assignment due dates are shown on the class web site as well as on the homework web page. For full details about this course -- including the text, grading, online course materials available through MyLab & Mastering, and other information -- visit the web site shown at the bottom of this page.

Recommended preparation

Please review the course and/or test prerequisites shown above. In addition, an ability to think in abstract terms using a logical thought process is a requirement for any mathematics course. Students are expected to spend 3 hours outside of class for each credit earned. This time is to be spent working problems, reading the text, utilizing the videos available on the web, and thinking about the concepts being used.

Class assignments and grading

Most of the self-graded homework problems involve short word problems that must be formulated and answered in numerical terms. Answers to the homework assignments and a variety of quizzes and practice exams are available online through MyLab & Mastering. A Multimedia Library is also available through MyLab & Mastering - it contains powerpoint slides from each chapter, videos, quiz and test problems, and an online text.

Homeworks are not graded. Five hourly (55 minutes) examinations, with one allowed drop, plus a comprehensive final examination (110 minutes). All examinations are closed book, but a hand held scientific or graphing calculator, the calculus review card available on MyLab & Mastering, and notes you write on your calculus review card. Seventy-two percent of the course grade is based on the four highest hourly examinations, with the final examination constituting the remaining 28%. No curve is used. Instead a fixed grading scheme is employed and is based on the total number of points possible on the items listed and weighted as above. The actual GPA closely follows the following distribution where total weighted points are followed in () by the GPA: 100 (4.0); 95 (3.9); 90 (3.7); 85 (3.4); 80 (3.1); 75 (2.8); 70 (2.4); 65 (1.9); 60 (1.4); 55 (0.8); 50 (0.2); 45 (0.0). For more details see the description of grading procedures on the web site shown below. Exams may be taken at a remote site with instructor approval and if arrangements are made in advance.

Class web site 


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