College has more ambitious educational objectives than high school. To help you survive the change and this course... please take note of the following:

  1. This is not high school! The great majority of you, if you have not done so already, will have to discard high school notions of teaching and learning and replace them by university-level notions. This may be difficult for some of you, but it must happen sooner or later, so sooner is better! College is much more than just getting you to reproduce what was told to you during lecture. Some of these goals do include providing a means for you to gain a broad education and to develop analytic and critical thinking skills - all of which will be important once you leave here.
  2. Expect to have material covered somewhat faster than the pace at high school. In addition, we aim for greater command of the material, especially the ability to apply what you have learned to new situations. In this course the applications are mostly conceptual, rather than computational.
  3. Attend class. If you've thought about this and still don't understand the importance, then you'd best come ask me. Or if that doesn't appeal to you, skip the rest and hit the 'back' key on your web browser.
  4. You cannot be taught everything during lecture. It is your responsibility to learn the material. Most of this learning must take place outside of lecture. You should be willing to put in something like two hours outside the classroom for each hour of class. But remember - you're not being graded on effort! You will earn a grade based on your level understanding.
  5. My job is primarily to provide you with a framework - and with some of the particulars - to guide you in your learning of the concepts that comprise the material of the course. It is not to program you with isolated facts, nor simply to prepare you for exams.
  6. Make liberal use of office hours. Most students who do improve their understanding significantly.  Most professors, and you can count me as one, love to help students who want to learn. Immediately after class is also a good time.
  7. Carefully reread the back side (2nd page) of the course syllabus to get a sense of what I expect from the students in this course.
  8. Carefully read the supplementary course material I post on-line.
  9. Think about and do the sample exam problems I post on-line.
  10. Consider making liberal use of the textbook's on-line tutorial.
  11. You should read the textbook for understanding. It gives a detailed account of the material of the course with great illustrations and cosmic images. The textbook is not a novel; careful and critical reading is a must.  
  12. As for when and how to use the textbook, you have the following dichotomy: