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Calculator Policy:

You high-school math courses probably encouraged you to use calculators, and indeed may have included instruction for the use of calculators. Since high-school math is primarily concerned with computational techniques, this is an appropriate and valuable practice.

Our course will be concerned more with conceptual issues than were your high-school math courses (see the statement of course philosophy), and so we are less concerned about the computational aspects of the topic and more concerned about the theoretical ones. Calculators will not play a role in this class, and indeed will not be permitted during quizzes and exams (you can certainly use them on your homework and problem sets, however).

There are several reasons for this policy. First, since we do not enforce a calculator standard on campus, there are a variety of models in use, and this puts some students at a disadvantage (principally driven by economics). Second, as calculators become more advanced, it is more and more difficult to provide questions that are appropriate for use both with a calculator and without one; limiting the use of calculators seems the most practical solution, as this at least puts everyone on an even footing. Third, preparation to use a particular piece of technology is not a goal of this course; indeed any such preparation would probably be obsolete by the time you graduated. Finally, many calculators have sophisticated calculus techniques built in, and using such features tends to obscure rather than illuminate the underlying methods and concepts, which are the main focus of this course.

For these reasons, you will not be allowed to use calculators on the quizzes, the midterm exam, or the final exam.

[HOME] Math 140 (Winter 2001) web pages
Created: 31 Dec 2000
Last modified: 31 Dec 2000 23:59:59
Comments to: dpvc@union.edu
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