Course policies and information/Course policies/Assignments

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Breakdown of the types of work to be submitted

There are three different types of assignments in this course and occasional quizzes.

  1. Pre-lecture WeBWorK assignments There will be two pre-lecture assignments each week, posted on Fridays and due at 7 am on Monday and Wednesday mornings of the next week. (The dates are slightly different for Week 2, to compensate for the late start of the Tuesday/Thursday sections.) They will be based on background material for the upcoming lecture and are intended to get you thinking about the upcoming lectures in advance. Many of these problems can be answered with your high school mathematics knowledge. Pre-lecture videos are available online (see menu) to help you work through these assignments. You will find the assignments and submit them on the WeBWorK system.
  2. Post-lecture WeBWorK assignments These assignments will be posted on Monday of the week during which the assignment material is discussed in lecture and due the following week on Thursday morning at 7 am. You will find the assignments and submit them on the WeBWorK system.
  3. Old-School Homework (OSH) - Every two weeks (roughly - see course calendar for due dates), there will be an assignment posted on the course website consisting of 1-3 problems. These are to be written up and submitted on the last lecture of the week they are due (Thursday or Friday depending on your section). If your OSH answers take up more than a single page, all pages must be bound together WITH A STAPLE!
  4. In-class quizzes There will be three quizzes given during class. See course calendar for details.

For information on the marks allocated to the assignments, see the course marking scheme.


Much of the work you do for this course will be done through an online system called WeBWorK. Because WeBWorK automates the marking process, it is important that you learn to use proper syntax when entering your answers. This may be frustrating for you at first. Sometimes when WeBWorK marks your answer as incorrect, it is actually a case of imperfect syntax. Keep in mind that imperfect syntax in WeBWorK is not just imperfect WeBWorK syntax, it is imperfect mathematical syntax and, technically, such answers really are incorrect. Most human markers are lenient when it is clear what the intended answer was but computers are not so generous. Nonetheless, learning to get the syntax right is not just a matter of making the computer happy, it is an important step in mastering the language of mathematics and plays an important role in building your communication skills, both mathematical and otherwise. Fortunately, for answers requiring complicated expressions where the risk of imperfect syntax is greater, you will be given multiple opportunities to get the answers correct.

Within the post-lecture WeBWork assignments, you will find two types of problems. Most of the post-lecture WeBWorK problems will be doable using a pencil and paper. The second type of problem is those that require the use of a graphing calculator (physical or online) or a spreadsheet. There will be resources posted online as well as TAs in the Math Learning Centre (MLC) who can help you with these problems.

The "Email instructor" button

If you are having technical trouble with WeBWorK, there is a button marked "Email instructor" right in the WeBWorK interface that allows you to send a message directly to the course WeBWorK TA (these messages will NOT be seen by your instructor despite the name of the button). Messages sent from the "Email instructor" button will be responded to during prescheduled TA hours - do not expect rapid responses just before assignment due dates.

The WeBWorK TA will not answer questions about course material, just technical questions. Please consult the WeBWorK FAQ before using this button. If your question is about course content, you can post your question on Piazza and get a quick response from your peers, TAs and instructor. Better yet, you may find an answer already posted there.

Old-School Homework - communicating mathematics

An important goal in this course that may not be familiar from your high school math experience is learning how to communicate mathematics. Much of the work you do in this course will be submitted electronically through the WeBWorK interface. This automated system gives students the opportunity to get instant feedback on their work which can accelerate the learning process. Unfortunately, it does not help students build their communication skills, mathematical or otherwise. To address this issue, part of your mark on the OSH will involve clear communication. This means using words and sentences in grammatically correct ways to help the reader make sense of your mathematical symbols and equations. Examples that illustrate our expectations will be posted on the page with "examples demonstrating how to write up your answers". These examples should serve as guides to help you build a clear picture of what we mean by mathematical communication. There are two errors that students make with regard to this expectation of clear communication: saying too little and saying too much. Look over the examples carefully to gauge whether you are making one of these errors.

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Lab hours

If you do not have access to a computer or don't bring a laptop with you to campus but would like to work on the computer-based homework problems while on campus, as a student in the course, you automatically get an account in the computer lab in LSK 121.

The lab is open for use by all those with an account whenever it is not otherwise scheduled for a course. See the LSK 121 schedule for details and the LSK 121 info page for location and hours.

To find out your user name and password on these machines, send an email using the "Email instructor" button in WeBWorK with the first line saying "Computer lab user info" and your full name and student number below that.