I will be collecting selected homework problems every Monday, and will let you know in advance which problems these are. I may also assign other problems during the week that I won't collect. This does not mean that they are optional. All the work I assign is important to your understanding of the material, and I expect you will have attempted the homework assignments before the beginning of the next class. We may use information in class that you will have discovered by doing the homework, so if you haven't done it, you will be at a disadvantage. Some homework will consist of reading, and it is especially important that you do this prior to the next class. Since there is a class-participation component to your grade, you should be sure to come prepared.
The homework will be challenging, so don't expect to be able to do it in an hour the night before it is due. You will need to start working on it as soon as it is assigned, and it may take several days of thinking about it and coming back to it before it makes sense. This is a natural part of working on hard problems; don't give up! Many students give up if they don't know how to do a problem immediately. Don't do this! One of the things we are practicing is how to work through hard problems. And don't forget, the fourth dimension is not easy for anyone!
Since the handed-in homework is due on Monday, you will not be able to see me in my office for the two days beforehand; but you can reach me by email (
email@example.com), and I usually check it at least once a day on the weekend. I will try to check my mail about 9:30 or so on Sunday evening, so that you have time to get your questions in, but still have time to take advantage of my answers.
You should use the following guidelines when writing up your homework:
Please staple your pages together, and trim the left edge if they are torn out of a spiral notebook. Unstapled or ragged pages will not be graded.
Your solutions are due at the beginning of class on Monday. Late papers will count as a zero.
Please print on only one side of the paper, clearly and legibly.
Please leave some space in the margins or between problems for my comments.
Do not use graph paper except for graphs. Use lined paper for written work.
You should write in complete, English sentences when you write up your solutions (both in class and on homework); since mathematical notation is shorthand for English words, you can incorporate these into your sentences, but you must explain what you are doing as you do it. Many students feel at first that this is extraneous, but it is precisely this that should be central to your learning process. See the course philosophy and the last paragraph of the course responsibilities statement for more details on why this is important.
Copies of the best solutions will be made available in a notebook outside my office, as will any solution that I write up myself.
While you may work with other students on homework problems, you must cite the students involved and briefly explain the role each played in doing the homework, and you must each write up your final results independently. See the collaboration policy for more details.
See the discussion of the grading policy for the percentage of your grade that will come from your homework, and for policy on missing assignments.
See the study suggestions for some helpful hints on homework.