course info

Math 307 I

this page is subject to change at any point.

Instructor: Luke Wolcott


office: Art #336

Class Location:  Loew #101
Class Time: MWF 2:30 - 3:20pm


We're using the UW version of the book: Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, by Boyce and DiPrima.  It is Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 6 in the regular 9th edition of this book.  So you can use either.  The 8th edition is also acceptable - there are minor changes, which you can read about here.  If you get the 8th edition, it's your responsibility to do the right HW problems!

This course will introduce you to the complexities and applications of differential equations. Differential equations (and their solutions) are perhaps the most ’useful’ thing mathematicians have come up with since counting. Even though what we will be studying is 200-300 years old, the applications to physics, engineering, and biology are current.

Office hours (in my office)

Monday 11:30-12:30
Wednesday 12:30-1:30


We'll have two midterms and one final exam.

Midterm I: Wednesday, April 18th (in class)

Midterm II: Wednesday, May 16th (in class)

Final Exam: Tuesday, June 5th, from 2:30 - 4:30, in our classroom (Loew 101)

You're allowed to use one side of one sheet of hand-written notes, for the first and second exams.  For the final you get two sides!  Scientific calculators, but no graphing calculators.

When we get closer to the exams, I'll post some review material.

Makeups: In case of observance of religious holidays or participation in university sponsored activities, arrangements must be made at least one week in advance for exams. You will be required to provide documentation for your absence. Make-up exams will not be given. If you miss an exam due to unavoidable and well-documented circumstances, your final exam will be weighted more heavily.


This class places a strong emphasis on homework. Homework will be assigned weekly and due in lecture each Wednesday, or can be delivered to my mailbox in the math lounge of Padelford by 4:30pm. Your job is not just to answer the questions, but write up your solutions in a way that explains the answer. As in all math classes, you must show your work and write out clear and concise solutions to all assigned problems. No credit will be given to unjustified answers, and you will lose points if your homework is messy, out of order, or not stapled. I encourage you to work together on the homework, but everyone is responsible to write up his or her own solutions. If you’re struggling to find a partner to work with, email me and I’ll try to help out.

If I suspect that you’ve copied someone else’s solutions, I’ll flag your paper and ask you to explain to me your work. If you can’t, you’ll lose half your grade for that homework. If I have two flagged homeworks that haven’t been collected, I’ll send you an email and ask to meet with you.

The homework will be graded as follows: three problems will be graded carefully, out of three points each, for a total of 9 points. Then six points will be given holistically for completion, for a total of 15 possible points. The lowest homework score will be dropped.  Late homework assignments will not be accepted for any reason.

Every week you will be responsible for filling out a very short online weekly survey, accessible from the course website. This is your chance to give feedback about how the course is progressing. While they are not anonymous, you are encouraged to be candid and honest. (If you wish to send me anonymous feedback, there is a link to the left.) The survey must be completed by 11pm on Wednesday - I suggest you think of it as part of your homework. If you complete this survey at least 8 out of 10 weeks, this will count as 15/15 on a homework. Otherwise, you will get 0/15.


The distribution of grades is as follows:

Homework 30%
Midterm I 20%
Midterm II 20%
Final Exam 30%

Beginning after the first midterm, you'll be able to view your grades online through a Gradebook.

Tips for succeeding in this class

1. Do the homework.The only way to understand mathematical ideas deeply is to work out solutions to problems. Learning is an active process, and in this course cannot succeed without doing the homework and class activities. My role as instructor is to explicate and clarify the concepts, but I can't make you learn if you don't put in the effort.

2. Ask for help. No matter how much math you understand, there will always be people who understand more, and people who understand less. Asking questions is how we personalize this somewhat impersonal material, and make it mean something. So no question is a bad question. If there's something that isn't clear to you, I guarantee that you're not the only one. Ask your questions, and everyone will be grateful. I'm in my office often and don't mind meeting one on one; just email or approach me.

3. Study for exams. Exams count for a large portion of your grade; the reason for this is that I want to force you to study. When you study for an exam you are relearning and reorganizing the material in a more useful form. It forces you to step back and try to see the larger picture. Without this integration of knowledge you will be lost in the forest, and will miss the underlying simplicity and beauty of these concepts.

Additional resources

1. The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment, aka CLUE is a free UW program, based in Mary Gates Hall, oering drop-in tutoring and other services to help answer your questions. More information is at:

2. If you'd like a private tutor, ask me or go to the Math Advising Office in the basement of Padelford.

3.The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal op- portunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206-543-6450/V, 206-543-6452/TTY, 206-685-7264 (FAX) or

4. The Student Counseling Center provides academic skills workshops on a variety of topics including stress management, test anxiety, and time management, to help you succeed at the UW. More information is at:
Send questions about this workspace to Luke Wolcott.