Math 341: Differential Equations (Spring 2005)
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Welcome to Math 341: Differential Equations (Spring 2005)

Instructor: Ron Buckmire
Class: MWF 8:30-9:25am, Fowler North 4
Office: Fowler North Academic Office #14
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-11:30, TR 10:00-11:30
AIM: Buckmire2536, ProfBuckmire or MadProfessah

 The official version of the syllabus is on this page. A pdf version of the course syllabus is also available.

Make sure to check the course news/announcements page often.

Use the navigation bar at the top of each page to access the course materials on this site.

Textbook: A First Course in Differential Equations, Eighth Edition by Dennis G. Zill, Brooks-Cole, 2005.

Goals of the Class: By the end of the class you should be able to: Solve differential equations analytically; formulate mathematical models using differential equations; and analyze the solutions in terms of the original model. 
More specifically, in this course you will

  • solve separable differential equations via integration;
  • solve first order linear equations using different methods;
  • solve second order, constant-coefficient differential equations using characteristic functions, undetermined coefficients, and variation of parameters;
  • set up differential equation models for some population dynamics problems;
  • set up second order differential equation models for oscillating systems;
  • sketch solution curves using only the differential equation (no solution formula, no computer);
  • identify steady-state solutions and determine the stability of these solutions;
  • use basic numerical methods to approximate solutions of differential equations

(This list was adapted from S.L.Weeke's Ordinary Differential Equations course website at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.)

Nature of the Class: This is a first course in differential equations. I will expect familiarity and expertise with the concepts found in Differential and Integral Calculus. Differential Equations is a huge, varied and fascinating field of study. I will expect students to come to class prepared so that we can use class time as efficiently as possible to facilitate learning the course material. We will not be able to "cover" the entire topic, but we should be able to give you a significant introduction to some of the most important topics in the field. Since I am an applied mathematician and this is the first time I am teaching the course, the style of the course will be skewed towards practical application of the material, and not very theoretical in nature. However, this is a 300-level math class and I will expect a corresponding level of mathematical rigor and student responsibility.

Format of the Class: As usual, I will expect a lot of participation in class and will facilitate this through the use of daily class formats (worksheets), group work, in-class computer exercises, abbreviated lectures and online communication. Mathematics is best learned by doing mathematics, so be prepared to work!

Grades: The final course grade will be composed of the following:

  • Homework 25%
  • Two (2) Tests 20% (10 % each)
  • Quizzes 25%
  • Final Exam 20%
  • Participation 10%