\( \newcommand{\sech}{\operatorname{sech}} \) \( \newcommand{\inverse}[1]{#1^\leftarrow} \) \( \newcommand{\<}{\langle} \) \( \newcommand{\>}{\rangle} \) \( \newcommand{\vect}{\mathbf} \) \( \newcommand{\veci}{\mathbf{\hat ı}} \) \( \newcommand{\vecj}{\mathbf{\hat ȷ}} \) \( \newcommand{\veck}{\mathbf{\hat k}} \) \( \newcommand{\curl}{\operatorname{curl}\,} \) \( \newcommand{\dv}{\operatorname{div}\,} \) \( \newcommand{\detThree}[9]{ \operatorname{det}\left( \begin{array}{c c c} #1 & #2 & #3 \\ #4 & #5 & #6 \\ #7 & #8 & #9 \end{array} \right) } \) \( \newcommand{\detTwo}[4]{ \operatorname{det}\left( \begin{array}{c c} #1 & #2 \\ #3 & #4 \end{array} \right) } \)

2020 Fall Semester

MA 238

Posted by Professor Clontz on August 7, 2020

During 2020 Fall my course materials will be delivered via USAOnline/Canvas.

A copy of my syllabus is below:

👋 Welcome!

This is the USAOnline/Canvas site for Dr. Clontz's Differential Equations course for 2020 Fall.

Section Information

  • MA 238-101/103 Differential Equations
    • Visit the People page to check which section you're enrolled in.
  • Instructor
    • Dr. Steven Clontz
  • Daily Zoom Schedule (Tues/Thurs)
    •  9:30am-10:45am: Class for Section 101
    • 10:45am*-12:30pm: Office Hours
    • 12:30pm-1:45pm: Class for Section 103
    • 1:45pm*-3:30pm: Office Hours
      • * I'll do some office hour time immediately following each class, then take a ~15 minute break.

Course Overview

This course provides an introduction to ordinary differential equations. The official course description and list of learning outcomes may be found at https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/artsandsci/mathstat/syllabi/ma238.html. A textbook is available: Fundamentals of Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, 7th Edition (2018).

These Outcomes have been organized into five Groups, listed on the Outcomes page. The mapping between these Outcomes and the textbook may be found here.

Final Grades

As we progress in the course, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate Mastery of the Outcomes in each of the five Groups. Your letter grade will be assigned simply, based upon how many of the Groups you've demonstrated complete Mastery over.

  • A: All five Groups are completely Mastered.
  • B: Four Groups are completely Mastered.
  • C: Three Groups are completely Mastered.
  • D: Two Groups are completely Mastered.
  • F: Less than two Groups are completely Mastered.

A Group is considered completely Mastered when all of its Outcomes are marked as Mastered in the Learning Mastery tab of your Gradebook. Note that any scores in the Assignments tab of the Gradebook are ignored when assigning final letter grades.


We will learn, practice, and demonstrate understanding of each Outcome following the same general pattern, as can be seen on the Modules page.

  • Before each Outcome is worked on in class, students are expected to review Introduction materials (usually videos) on the topic, and submit a copy of their notes based on those.
  • During class, the instructor will hold a short clarifying Q&A, and then students will work in groups via Zoom to complete Team Work related to that Outcome.
  • After class, a Homework assignment becomes available. Partial answers for these problems are provided to help you check your work before submission.
  • Submitting Homework unlocks a short Quiz, marked by the instructor as follows:
    • ✔️ Meets Expectations (3/3pts): The Outcome is recorded as Mastered.
    • ⭐ Requires Revisions (2/3pts): You may submit a Quiz Revision to correct any errors, which will be re-marked for credit.
    • 💭 Shows Progress but Further Study Needed (1/3pts): You may a take Quiz Reattempt (if available), which will include submitting corrections for this Quiz.
    • ❌ Insufficient Evidence of Progress (0/3pts): Same as "💭".
    • Note that only results of ✔️ Meets Expectations can improve your final grade for the course; other results require you to revise or reattempt the Outcome.
    • See also: https://usaonline.southalabama.edu/courses/8084/discussion_topics/136431

The final Outcome for each of the first four Groups, available once all the other Outcomes are Mastered, is to complete a short Instructor Interview during office hours. A student who ✔️ Meets Expectations in this interview is done with the Group; otherwise, the instructor will request some additional work to be done before rescheduling the interview.

Applications Outcome Group

The fifth Group for the course based on the applications of differential equations will not use the same assignment workflow described in the previous section. Instead, students will complete several Projects during the semester. More details on these will become available later in the semester.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will take place synchronously via Zoom.

For each of the first four Outcome Groups, the exam will include questions that can be answered as a last attempt to demonstrate Mastery. Submitted solutions from this exam will be considered alongside each student's partial progress toward Mastery during the semester. (Students who have already Mastered a Group can skip that portion of the exam.)

All students will answer questions based on the applications of differential equations. These solutions will be considered alongside each student's Projects to determine if they have Mastered the Applications Outcome Group.

Making Up Quizzes

If a student is unable to take a Quiz or Quiz Reattempt during its scheduled availability for a university-approved reason (e.g. illness), they can contact the instructor to request that the assessment be reopened on Canvas. (The Quiz must not have been opened/attempted.)

Changes to Course Operations

The instructor retains the right to make reasonable adjustments to course operations as needed, including adjusting the requirements for earning final grades.

Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty is defined in USA's Student Academic Conduct Policy. Examples of cheating include having another person submit Quiz answers or uploading homework solutions without a good-faith attempt at correctly responding. Any student who is caught cheating will have to re-earn all Mastery credit for the semester, and adopt technological solutions (e.g. a lockdown browser) to provide proof of academic integrity in future assessments. In addition, the incident will be reported to the university.

Any student who is caught cheating twice will automatically receive an F letter grade for the course.

USA Course Policies

USA’s Course Policies apply to this course.

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