|Office:||334 Illini Hall|
|Contact:||The way to get in touch with me is by email, kkirkpat(at)illinois.edu, with subject line "Math 461 ...", and with salutation "Dear Professor Kirkpatrick".|
|TA:||Sishen Zhou, firstname.lastname@example.org, in the lab with us approximately two days per week. His office hours are Mondays from 2-3pm at B1 Coble Hall.|
|MWF 3:00-3:50 pm (usually M&F in 24 Illini Hall lab, W in 245 Altgeld Hall classroom; locations subject to change). The first week we will meet IH 24. The second week we will meet in 245 AH on Wednesday and 24 IH on Friday.|
|Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00-4:50 pm, or by appointment. I would be happy to answer your questions in my office anytime as long as I'm not otherwise engaged, and before and after class are good times to catch me either in my office or in the classroom.|
|Syllabus and Text:||Course topics: Introduction to mathematical probability: includes the calculus of probability, combinatorial analysis, random variables, expectation, variance, distribution functions, moment-generating functions, and the central limit theorem. Online syllabus at http://cm.math.uiuc.edu/461syl.php The textbook is Prob/Stat & Mathematica by Davis and Uhl at http://go.illinois.edu/NetMath461Courseware. There are ten chapters, with Basics, Tutorials, Give it a Try, and Literacy components. I will also be leading discussions to supplement the material. If you want to install Mathematica on your personal computer, go to http://webstore.illinois.edu, follow the link for "Personal Purchase," and search for Mathematica. If you have not signed up for it before, you have the option of adding MA290, which is an extra credit hour recognizing the fact that you are taking a Mathematica-based class. There will not be any extra work assigned for this credit, and the grade for it will be the same as your grade in the class. If you go to the Undergraduate Math Office in 313 Altgeld Hall, you can request to add 290.|
|Homework policy:||There are two types of homework that will be assigned and collected regularly. The Mathematica homework is taken from the Give it a Try components of the lessons, and written problem sets will parallel the topics touched on in the lessons. You are encouraged to work together on the homework, and Mathematica homeworks may be submitted jointly, but written problem sets should be written up and turned in individually. Late homework will be corrected but not be graded, and if for some reason you've done a homework but can't turn it in in class, you should turn it in to my mailbox in 250 Altgeld Hall (importantly, not under my office door) before class, or ask a classmate to turn it in for you. Because of this strict policy on late homework, I will drop your two lowest homeworks of each type.|
|Homework philosophy:||Mathematics is not a spectator sport, so this course based on Mathematica lends itself well to learning by doing. Doing homework problems and explaining them to each other is the best way to really learn the material, so I encourage you to work together on the homework. If, after thinking and talking about homework problems, you have questions or get stuck, I will be happy to help you. I also have the philosophy that you will learn the material best if you come to class and read the textbook before and/or after class, even if you can learn the material from the textbook alone. You can maximize your chances of doing well in this class by combining all of these resources: classes, textbook, homework, office hours, and discussions with classmates.|
There will be two in-class midterm exams, scheduled at roughly 1/3 and
2/3 of the way through the semester. Each exam will be
technically comprehensive, but emphasizing recent material. You will not be tested on
Mathematica code, only probability content.
Tentative Midterm 1 date: Sept 28. Tentative Midterm 2 date: Nov 9. Midterms will cover material done in class up to the exam date, and homework content up through the most recent returned homeworks.
The final exam is: 7:00-10:00 pm, Thursday, Dec. 20th, location to be announced. It will cover the most important topics of the whole course, emphasizing recent material somewhat.
|Exam policy:||Make-up exams will be given only for medical or other serious reasons. If you discover that you cannot make it to an exam, please let me know as soon as possible, so that we can make other arrangements.|
Mathematica homework: 10% of the course grade |
Written problem sets: 10%
2 Midterms: 20% each
Final Exam: 40%
There will probably be a curve for the final letter grades, but at worst, 90% would be the highest cutoff for an A-, 80% for a B-, and so on.
|Cheating:||You may work together on doing your homework, but you must work completely on your own during midterm and final exams (and any quizzes, of which there may be a few). I've caught students cheating before, and they had to suffer the consequences, so just don't do it. On a more positive note, I make my exams fair and similar to homework, so as long as you make use of the resources provided, you should do fine. If you have difficulties of any kind or fall behind in the class, please come talk to me as soon as possible.|