Principles of Math

Fall 2001

Other resources

How to get a UTEP email account
Students currently enrolled in the active semester are provided an E-mail account. Students must request an E-mail account at any of the open student labs. The open campus labs are Bell Hall (Bell Hall, room 130), CALC (Computer Applications Learning Center, Business Administration, rooms 306, 310, 320, and 324), LACIT (Liberal Arts Center for Instructional Technology, Liberal Arts Bldg., 4th floor), and LTC (Library Technology Center, Library, room 324). An id and password will be provided by the lab assistant. Students may request an id 24 hours after completing registration. Once a student has an account, a student may keep their account active by enrolling in both the Spring and Fall semesters. The Summer semester may be skipped without an interruption of service. If a student is not enrolled after census day of the Spring or Fall session, their account will be removed.


Instructor: Dr. Art Duval

Please feel free to come by my office any time during scheduled office hours. You are welcome to come at other times, but in that case you might want to make an appointment, just to make sure that I will be there then. You can make an appointment simply by talking to me before or after class, by calling me at my office or at home, or by sending e-mail.

You may also ask any questions directly via phone or e-mail. If I'm not in when you call, please leave a message on the voice-mail or answering machine with your name, number, and a good time for me to call you back. I will try to respond to your phone or e-mail message as soon as possible.


Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to construct straightforward proofs in a variety of settings. You will be able to make use of existing theorems, and employ basic mathematical techniques of proof (induction, proof by contradiction, contrapositives, etc.). Your proofs will be in clear and complete English sentences, accompanied by clarifying diagrams where necessary.

You will be prepared for further study of other specific topics in proof-based mathematics.


This is very different from calculus and differential equations, where you mostly performed computations to solve problems. Although there is still problem-solving in this course, we will emphasize proving your answers are correct, and not just finding answers. This is what almost all your future advanced math courses will be like.

Textbook: Chapter Zero, 2nd. ed., Carol Schumacher

We will go through Chapters 1-6, and maybe 7, at the rate of approximately 2-3 weeks per chapter. We may skip a very few of the sections in those chapters.

This textbook differs from other texts for proof-based courses, in that the proofs of most of the theorems are not included. The point of this is for you, the student, to fill in these details, in order to be more actively involved with the material. Read pages xiii-xiv of the preface ("A Note to the Student: What This Book Expects from You") carefully.

In order to further your active engagement, most class time will be devoted to student discussions of the material, while I serve primarily as a moderator.


Participation (30%):
You will regularly give presentations of proofs of results in the textbook and present solutions to problems in class. For full credit, these presentations should be clear and convincing to your classmates.

When you are in the audience, you are still expected to be actively engaged in the presentation. This means checking to see if every step of the presentation is clear and convincing to you, and speaking up when it is not. When there are gaps in the reasoning, the class will work together to fill the gaps.

At all times, the conversation will be guided by the principles of "mathematically accountable" talk.

Of the 30% for this part of your grade, 25% will be for the quality and quantity of your own presentations, and 5% will be for your participation in others' presentations.

Homework (10%):
Written homework will be assigned approximately biweekly, announced in class, and posted on the course website. Assignments will be due at the beginning of class. No late homeworks! (Incomplete homeworks will be accepted, though.) If an emergency prevents you from delivering your homework on time (or having someone else deliver it for you), please let me know as soon as possible.

You are encouraged to work together on your homework, but you must write up your solutions by yourself.

Tests (15% each):
There will be two in-class, closed-book tests. You will have to recall and explain definitions, reproduce proofs from class, and present short proofs to new problems. These tests will be on the following days:

Makeup tests can be given only in extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances, and with advance notice.

Final (30%)
The final exam will be comprehensive over all material we discuss in class. It will be similar to the in-class tests, but longer, and may ask you for some more involved proofs. The final will be on
Thu., 13 Dec., 10:00-12:45 p.m.

Attendance Policy:

For every two unexcused absences, you will receive a zero for an in-class presentation. I will usually excuse an absence if you tell me about it in advance, or, in cases of emergencies, as soon as possible afterwards.

Drop date:

The deadline for student-initiated drops with a W is Mon., 22 Oct. After this date, you can only drop with the Dean's approval, which is granted only under extenuating circumstances.

I hope everyone will complete the course successfully, but if you are having doubts about your progress, I will be happy to discuss your standing in the course to help you decide whether or not to drop. You are only allowed three enrollments in this course, so please exercise the drop option judiciously.