Math 260, Spring 2012
Introduction to Higher Mathematics
Syllabus
Course description: The course will serve as the basis for all upper level mathematics you will take at Whitman and beyond. We will be looking at many different proof techniques through exploring many different branches of mathematics. Much of our discussion will involve techniques from number theory and combinatorics. We will also foreshadow some of the topics you will be covering in Abstract Algebra and Real Analysis. Click here for a more detailed schedule.
Goals: The primary goal of this course is to enable the student to find his or her mathematical voice, both in writing and in speaking. The topics covered are secondary to the aim of the course. They provide the venues through which you'll come to understand what makes for a clear, correct, and coherent mathematical argument. This course will seem radically different than those you've encountered in the past, as there is often not a direct algorithm or technique for coming to a solution to a problem. As such, you can expect a measure of frustration throughout the semester. It is my role as professor to help you cope with and work through that frustration.
You don't learn to play football by reading a rule book, you learn by getting muddy in your backyard. The same statement applies to mathematics. In that light, my hope is for a very muddy semester.
Instructor: Barry Balof
Office: 236 Olin Hall
Location: 221 Olin Hall Time: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 1010:50
Textbooks: An Introduction to Higher Mathematics by Patrick Keef and David Guichard (linked here).
Homework: Homework will be posted here . We will collect a few shorter problems daily, with a longer assignment due each week. There will be at least one problem each week that will be an "Honor Problem". These problems are to be done individually, without the help of colleagues or outside resources.
Tests: This class will have three exams, as well as a final. The final will have both written and oral components. Exams will be announced at least one week in advance, and will follow the following approximate schedule:
First exam: Week of Feb. 6^{th}
Second exam: Week of Mar. 5^{th}
Third exam: Week of Apr. 16^{th}
Final exam: Saturday, May 12, 911 AM.
DO NOT PLAN TO LEAVE CAMPUS BEFORE THE FINAL. YOU WILL BE PENALIZED EITHER BY MYSELF OR THE AIRLINES.
Grading: Grades will be assigned on a rougly 908070 scale, with grades weighted as follows.
Midterm Examinations 
50% total 
Written Homework and Class Participation 
25 % 
Final Exam 
25 % 
As you can see, class participation is crucial to your success and to the success of the course. You will be responsible for communicating the material covered in the homework assignments both orally and in writing. It is critical that you arrive to class prepared to actively participate.
Academic Honesty: Homework for this class may be completed collaboratively except when indicated. No outside resources (ie, internet or other textbooks) may be used for any assignments. Such use will result on a failing grade for the assignment.
Special Needs: Any student with a disability for whom special accommodations would be helpful is encouraged to discuss this with the professor as soon as possible.
