Instructor: Dr. Julie M. Clark          email
Course Tutor:   Rose Franzen     email:

Office: Dana 107 Office Phone:   -6524

Office Hours: Posted here and on my office door. Additional hours available by appointment and by chance.

Course Schedule: MWF, 11:30-12:30 AM

Location: DANA 102

Course Web Site:

Please check the course web page frequently for updates in the schedule, handouts, and other comments or important information.

Pre-requisite: Appropriate score on the QR assessment, or permission.

Required materials:

Text: Elementary Mathematical Models: Order Aplenty and a Glimpse of Chaos by Dan Kalman 2nd edition. This text is in pre-print. We will be class testing it, so a pdf copy will be provided for you.

A scientific calculator is necessary. You’ll need to bring the calculator to class EVERY DAY! A cell phone is not a calculator, so don’t plan on using it as one.

You will also need a loose-leaf notebook for daily handouts.

Course Objectives:

This is a course about studying real problems through the use of mathematical models. The emphasis of the course is conceptual understanding through applications of concepts to real-life situations in a variety of disciplines.

My primary goals for this course are for you to:

  • see connections between mathematics & other disciplines
  • analyze real-world phenomena using a variety of mathematical models, and
  • develop strategies and techniques for applying mathematics to solve problems.

The idea is for you to be able to think and talk coherently about an idea, not merely describe it by giving an example. I hope to motivate what you are doing by look at relevant applications, having you keep in mind what you are doing as you do it. Too often, “knowing mathematics” is equated with memorizing a bunch of procedures – this is an erroneous idea. It is essential that you understand why you do what you do when you solve a particular problem in order for you to be able to solve other problems.

My secondary goals for your work in this course are:

  • to lead you to improve your ability to read a mathematics book independently
  • to improve your ability to analyze real-world phenomena using a variety of mathematical models
  • to increase your skills in communicating mathematics, and
  • to enhance your ability to work collaboratively with your peers.

I hope to make you each an active learner, and to capture your interest and imagination. To this end, I believe that understanding results from investigation and discovery – not merely from passively listening to me lecture. I hope that you will spend a significant part of our class time engaged with the material.

During the semester there will be daily homework assignments, computer lab assignments, possibly group projects, 2 in-class tests, and a final comprehensive exam. No make-up tests/exams will be given for any reason. If you are unable to take a test at the scheduled time for any reason, you must discuss that with me IN ADVANCE. If you miss a test without consulting me in advance, you will receive a zero grade for that test. If you must miss a test for a legitimate reason, and we discuss it in advance, you may replace the missed grade with your grade on the final exam.

The two in-class tests are tentatively scheduled for the following dates:

  1. Friday, October 6th
  2. Monday, November 13th

You will need a calculator for these tests, and again, a cell phone is not allowed.

Homework will be assigned and collected on a daily basis. Homework is due on the assigned day, regardless of whether or not you are present for class.  Late papers will be accepted only at the beginning of the class immediately following the day on which it was due, but late homework will suffer at least a 10% penalty. Homework more than one day late will not be graded.  You are permitted, and in fact, encouraged, to work together on all homework, labs, and projects, but working together implies a roughly equal contribution from all those involved. All assignments should be written up neatly and legibly (or typed); otherwise they will not be graded.

Attendance/Course Participation:

Regular class attendance is an indication of your interest in, and commitment to this course. You are expected to attend class every day, to participate in class discussions and activities, and to ask relevant questions. Part of your final course average will be based on your attendance and participation. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of class each day, and a late arrival will count as an absence. If you do miss a class for any reason, you are expected to make-up the missed work before the next class. Your homework is still due at the end of the next class. Any student that misses more than 1/3 of the total classes will automatically fail the course.

Each of these assessments will contribute to your final grade in the following manner:

  • Attendance/participation:                      10%
  • Homeworks/Labs & Project(s):            40%
  • Two  In-class tests:                                  35% (25% for your highest score, 10% for the lower score)
  • Final cumulative Exam:                          15%
  • You must take the Final Exam in order to pass the course.

Academic Conduct:

Hollins sets high standard for academic integrity, and takes academic dishonesty very seriously. The following misconduct is considered an honor offense and is subject to disciplinary action: cheating, plagiarism, knowingly furnishing false information to the college or instructors, and the forgery, alteration or use of college documents or instruments of identification with the intent to defraud. Any student found to be cheating will receive a grade of zero on the assignment or test being taken and may fail the course. She will also immediately be reported to the Honor Court. In this course, collaboration on homework and projects is not seen as cheating and is encouraged. However, all work on tests should be strictly your own.

Need help?

You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of office hours and of the CLE if you need assistance. Please feel free to come by my office anytime, or to send an email, or call me if you feel you need help. Success in this course requires a team effort. At a minimum that team consists of you, me, Amber, and your classmates. If you need help – ASK! If my office hours are not convenient for you, I’m in my office many other times, and am quite willing to set up another time that works for both of us. Please don’t wait until you are lost -understanding the material as we go along is crucial to success in this course!

Student tutors (Rose and others) are available in the Center for Learning Excellence, located in the library. Hours are posted here, on the door of Dana 105, and at the Center. You may either make an appointment or drop in during operating hours. The tutors will assist you with your assignments and labs, but will not provide you with the answers. Always bring your notes and other course materials with you to the CLE.

Here is a link for Tips for Success when Working with the Tutors


I offer the following suggestions for how to do well in this course:

  1. ASK QUESTIONS (of me, of tutors, and of your classmates)!!
  2. Continually review the material throughout the semester.
  3. Don’t get behind.
  4. Don’t get overconfident.
  5. Come to class and come on time.
  6. Use my office hours – don’t be reluctant to ask for help.
  7. Work together.
  8. Turn in all assignments.
  9. Read carefully – before and after each class.
  10. THINK!