In order to help you learn, I expect you to:

- Attend class regularly and notify us in advance if you need to miss class
- Come to class prepared (read through the text ahead of time, start the homework early, etc.)
- Participate in class
- Work with other students in class and, when assigned, outside of class
- Contact me whenever you have any questions about the homework or the class material. No question is too minor (if it's blocking your understanding, then it's an important question!)
- Submit homework on time, written clearly and carefully, with full sentences where appropriate. I should be able to read and understand your work without having to refer back to the assignment.
- Take exams (missing an exam is a serious event and will dramatically affect your final grade).
- Write a term paper.

I understand that grades may be important to you, so I will do my best to keep you informed about where you stand as the semester proceeds. But I won't put numerical or letter grades on each piece of work you submit. Homework will be graded on a check-minus, check, and check-plus system - in general, you should work to get a check or a check-plus. At the end of the semester, your course grade will reflect your work on the following: homework assignments, two in-class exams, term paper, class participation and attendance, and the final exam.

When I began to teach mathematics in 1959 I believed I could use mathematics to calculate my students' final grades. I carefully assigned numerical scores to each homework and each exam question. At the end of the semester I computed a weighted average and assigned letter grades accordingly.

The more I did that the more uncomfortable I got, for two
reasons. First, I was never completely happy with what the numbers
told me - they often suggested a grade
*lower* than what I felt a student had earned. Second, I
found that focussing on the numbers made it seem to me and to the
students that the point of the class was to get a grade rather than to
learn the material.

In my ideal teaching world, each student is in the class in order to learn as much as he or she possibly can, and I am there to help. There are no grades at all. If a student decides not to learn anything, that's just his or her loss. I assign homeworks and give exams only to teach the material, not to test it.