There are two types of homework in MATH 101: WeBWorK assignments and suggested problems. The purpose of both types is to help you practice for the quizzes and to solidify your mastery of the course learning goals.
The homework component of your grade in this course is determined by online WeBWorK assignments. The WeBWorK system has many advantages, including slightly randomizing homework problems and (perhaps best of all) providing you with instant feedback. Remember that the homework is intended to help you learn the course material, and therefore it should be done as you are studying; students who leave their homework to the night before it is due do poorly in this course. (Do not be tempted into finding ways to complete your WeBWorK assignments without working through the problems yourself; in addition to the consequences of violating UBC's academic misconduct policies, you will be depriving yourself of the practice necessary to do well on the quizzes.)
The online assignments are supplemented by weekly suggested problems; these problems are not handed in or graded, but they are a valuable component of your preparation for the quizzes. Suggested problems tend to come in two categories:
- additional problems like the ones on the WeBWorK assignments, to provide you with extra practice on the mechanics you are learning;
- multi-step or long-answer problems that are difficult to program into WeBWorK (for example, full curve-sketching problems from your differential calculus course would fall into this second category).
In short: students who don't do their homework tend to fail their quizzes and final exam—it's that simple. Students who not only solve the problems, but also think critically about what they have and haven't mastered, will be well prepared for the quizzes and final exam.
More information about the WeBWorK assignments
Each week you will be assigned roughly twenty WeBWorK problems. You will be able to access your WeBWorK assignments using your CWL (Campus-Wide Login). All assignments will be open starting at 8:00 AM on Tuesday mornings a week before they are due, and due at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights; answers will be available a few minutes after the assignment deadline. For example, the first WeBWorK assignment must be completed by 9:00 PM on Wednesday, January 13. No extensions will be granted for WeBWorK assignments.
Your WeBWorK assignments count for 10% of your overall grade in this course. All twelve WeBWorK assignments will be counted equally (regardless of which assignments have more or fewer problems), except that the lowest score will automatically be dropped. If you have an illness or other circumstance that prevents you from completing one of the WeBWorK assignments, don't worry—your grade will not suffer, since that assignment will just be dropped. (You should still complete the problems later, though, since the purpose of the WeBWorK assignments is to give you practice on the types of problems that will appear on the quizzes.) For circumstances that force you to miss multiple WeBWorK assignments, see the web page on missed assessment.
More information about the suggested problems
Here you can download a list of suggested problems taken from the various recommended online textbooks. This list of suggested problems will continually grow throughout the semester (like the CLP notes), so come back each week or so to download the most recent version. All of the suggested problems have answers in the back of their books, except for those from Active Calculus. (Of course, you should always solve problems without looking at the answer first—only check the answer once you're done solving the problem)
If you have access to the 7th edition of Stewart's textbook, you are welcome to also use last year's list of suggested problems from Stewart; the answers are in the back of the book, and a student solution manual is available from the publisher.
Registration for MATH 101
To enroll in MATH 101, a student must have passed (or claimed credit for) one of the following prerequisite courses: MATH 100, MATH 102, MATH 104, MATH 110, MATH 111, MATH 120, MATH 180, or MATH 184. Most commonly, students who took MATH 100/180 follow up with MATH 101, while students who took MATH 102/182 or MATH 104/184 follow up with MATH 103 or MATH 105, respectively; however, this is not mandatory.
Important registration note: Individual instructors do not have the authority to sign forms to change your registration (please don't ask them). Instead, the Mathematics Department handles all requests for registration changes centrally.
For students in MWF sections, the first day of class is Wednesday, January 3 and the last day of class is Friday, April 6. For students in TTh sections, the first day of class is Thursday, January 4 and the last day of class is Thursday, April 5. Midterm break is February 19–23; there will be no classes that week. In addition, for students in the MWF sections, there will be no class on Monday, February 12 (Family Day), no class on Friday, March 30 (Good Friday) or on Monday, April 2nd (Easter Monday).
General advice for successAll of these tips and strategies are discussed in more detail on the UBC math study skills wiki page.
- Effort pays off! It is simply untrue that people have a fixed amount of math ability that determines how well they do. Just like any other skill, doing mathematics becomes easier with hard work, practice, and willingness to challenge yourself.
- Stay caught up! Mathematics is a very cumulative subject: what we learn one week depends crucially on understanding what we learned the week before. Students who fall behind early struggle to catch up for the rest of the course.
- Put in the hours! Remember the 2-to-1 rule for university courses: expect to spend an average of 2 hours outside of class for every 1 hour spent in class. In our course, that means 6 hours per week, in addition to coming to lectures, is quite reasonable (and some students will spend more than that). Jump right in and start spending that time; don't wait until later in the course.
- Work on the homework problems! The WeBWorK problems and the Suggested Problems are the most direct way to practice for the exams; in particular, the Suggested Problems are very much like the quizzes and the final exam problems. It's tempting to try to find some short cut to obtaining the answers, such as taking dictation from a fellow student or searching the internet. Besides the fact that cheating in this way violates UBC's academic misconduct policies, it's important to realize that working on the homework is the primary way for you to learn the course material. Learning to do mathematics is like learning to do anything else: you can't learn how just by watching someone else do it. Take it from someone with years of experience teaching university courses: people who work through the homework problems (including the Suggested Problems) do better on the exams. It's that simple.
- Don't give up! In earlier math courses, everything we needed to be able to do might have been conveniently written in boxed formulas that we can instantly apply. In more advanced mathematics courses, however, we don't always immediately know the correct way to proceed; sometimes trial and error is necessary, and there's nothing at all wrong with this. Trying, struggling, going back to another idea, making mistakes, fixing them—these are all part of the learning process.
- Use our helpful resources! If you are stuck in the middle of a homework problem or a concept from the course, you are on the cusp of a great learning moment. The instructors, the TAs who staff the Math Learning Centre, and your fellow students on Piazza are very happy to help you see the way past that obstacle. That list of resources also includes ways to address larger issues such as study difficulties, health issues, disabilities, and extreme stress.
- Consciously address what you find hard! Why do some people get better quickly when they work hard, while others don't seem to progress as fast? One answer is that deliberate practice is much more effective than going through the work just for the sake of finishing it. From a Freakonomics blog post (boldface is my emphasis): “For example, in school and college, to develop mathematics and science expertise, we must somehow think deeply about the problems and reflect on what did and did not work. One method comes from the physicist John Wheeler (the PhD advisor of Richard Feynman). Wheeler recommended that, after we solve any problem, we think of one sentence that we could tell our earlier self that would have ‘cracked’ the problem. This kind of thinking turns each problem and its solution into an opportunity for reflection and for developing transferable reasoning tools.” Stephen Chew lists several ways to develop and improve your study skills, summarized by “unplug and think hard about the meaning of the concepts you're studying”.