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Introductory Calculus

Registering for Calculus classes

One of the structural changes instituted in Fall 2020 was the replacement of high-stakes midterm exams with more frequent, lower-stakes “Friday quizzes” together with opportunities for “makeup” or “re-do” quizzes to improve your grade. Our experience with this indicated that learning outcomes improved with this system of assessment, so we have adjusted the course registration for Calculus so that you select your quiz times during registration.

If you are in Math 1300, 1400, or 1410:

You need to register for two components: lecture and recitation. You may match any lecture with any recitation (if space permits).

If you are in Math 2400:

You will need to register for three components rather than two: A lecture time, a recitation time, and a lab time for quizzes. Your lecture and recitation sections must be linked (and this is indicated in Path@Penn). All labs meet on Friday, and it doesn’t matter which one you choose. The lab appears in Path@Penn as a separate course: Math 0240. This means that an example of a complete MATH 1410 registration is

            MATH 2400-001 together with MATH 2400-201 and MATH 0240-103

If you are in Math 1070 or Math 1080:

You will need to register for two components: lecture and recitation. Lectures and recitations must be linked. If you select a lecture in Path@Penn, you can see which recitations it matches with by scrolling to the "Linked Sections" part of the informational page.


What are some elements common to many of our courses?

In brief, they are:

1.     Coordinated sections. All sections of a course have the same pace, structure, and lectures, independent of who is the instructor. This gives students a more uniform experience, less dependent on getting a particular prof.

2.     Asynchronous video lectures. All lectures are delivered via short videos. This should help you manage your time by allowing you to watch lectures whenever you wish.

3.     Active learning. The normal lecture time will feature active problem-solving or other activities, dependent on the instructor. This should give you a chance to interact with your peers and your instructor more.

4.     No midterms. Midterms are replaced with quizzes at the rate of three per month. There will still be a final exam, but it will count for less that it has in the past. This lowers midterms-week anxiety. 

5.     No required textbook. We have developed our own video-based “texts” and generated additional materials to help serve as resources. This savea you an unpleasant expense.   

6.     Rescheduled recitations. Since you are spending time watching lectures online, class will not meet as often. In particular, recitations with your TA will take place within the lecture period. This means no more 8:00am recitations.


What are the advantages of this structure?

·       Less stress; more fairness. With more low-stakes quizzes and periodic re-takes, your entire grade doesn’t depend on a single high-stakes exam.

·       Better time management. With no 8am recitations and lectures viewed when you want, you’ll have more flexibility in how your week goes. The weekly structure of the course will motivate you to stay current on the material. 

·       Less variance between sections. Since everyone views the same set of lectures, you don’t have to worry as much about which section you get into. If your friend is in a different section, you can still study together.  

·       Less expense. There is no expensive required textbook. 

·       Modern curriculum. Since we’re not bound to a given text (typically produced for mass-appeal), we can tailor our instruction to what is best for Penn students. We’ve been working hard to modernize the curriculum to show you examples and applications of relevance to you and your fields of study.

How can I prepare? If you’ve been away from math for a while (i.e., you didn’t take a precalculus or calculus course during your senior year of high school) it would be a good idea to review material from the last course you took – brush up on those derivative formulas and trig identities! But the most important thing is to be prepared to hit the ground running in one of these rigorous, fast-paced courses. It will be important for you to keep up with the flow, and to devote some time to learning mathematical concepts and/or practicing techniques nearly every day.

I'm an incoming student. Which course should I take? The Mathematics Diagnostic test that you are taking online this summer will give reasonable guidance as to which course you should take (among 1300, 1400 and 1410) this Fall. But generally, if you had AB Calculus in high school you should begin with Math 1400, if you took BC calculus and got a 5 on the exam (if you took it) and very confident in your ability then take 114. Work with your advisor to select the appropriate course, and if there’s real doubt, contact the Math Department.

How will this work with my disability? In many ways, the new format should provide enhanced opportunities for students with disabilities to take in the lectures at their own pace and repeat sections if necessary. As usual, instructors in the courses will follow the recommendations of the Student Disabilities Office regarding appropriate accommodations for the weekly quizzes and the final exam.