Math 497, Spring 2012

Senior Project


Course description: This course will revolve around a semester-long project on a topic of your choosing, in coordination with a faculty advisor. The main focuses of the course and time spent in class will be on how to read, write, and present mathematics.

The first two-thirds (approximately) of this course will be spent gathering and journalling a large quantity of information on your topic. The remainder of the semester will be spent distilling that information into a coherent final paper and final presentation. See here for a more detailed schedule.

Instructor: Barry Balof

Office: 236 Olin Hall

Location: 246 Olin Hall Time (tentative): Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:30-3:20 PM

Textbook: No required text for the course.

Time Expectations: Students will be expected to spend 6-8 hours per week reading and researching your specific topic. In addition, students will be expected to spend 3 hours writing and preparing for oral presentations, and approximately one hour per week meeting with their faculty advisor.

Progress Reports: You will be responsible for handing in a journal of your progress each week. These will be collected on Wednesdays and graded for content and progress, with an increasing emphasis on presentation as the semester goes on. You will also be matched with a partner for 'peer-editing' throughout the semester.

Oral Presentations: Students will be giving at least four oral reports on their projects during the semester, in lengths ranging from 10 to 40 minutes. In addition to their own presentations, students will be expected to comment on and be critical of each others presentations.

Computer Resources: Students are expected to use LaTEX for their work. This program is available in the Mathematics Lab, as well as in various free sites on the internet. In addition, students will be learning the Beamer LaTEX package for oral presentations. More details will be presented in class.

Grading: Grades will be assigned on a rougly 90-80-70 scale, with grades weighted as follows.
Weekly Journal Progress Reports 20 %
Oral Presentations 20 %
Class Participation  10 %
Faculty Resource Report 15 %
Final Paper and Presentation 35%

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.

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