Math 19/CS 21 Course Information

Discrete Mathematics in Computer Science

Fall Term 2003


Meeting times.  This course meets Monday Wednesday and Friday at 11 AM with X-hour at 12:00-12:50 Tuesday.  Keep the X-hour open because it will be used; perhaps frequently.  Professor Bogart is teaching the course.


Homework.  Homework problems will be due each class at the beginning of class.  Homework is to be submitted before you come into class in the homework box labeled "Math 19 CS 21 Turn in homework here," right outside the door to Room 104 Bradley Hall. You are allowed to hand in 3 late homeworks throughout the term, for no penalty. Beyond these 3, late homeworks will receive half credit, but only if the grader has time to grade them.  There is no guarantee that three late homeworks handed in during the last week of the term will be graded, even if these are a student's only late homeworks.  Late homework will be accepted until one week after the due date.  Exceptions will only be made in exceptional circumstances.


There will be homework tutorials on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 7PM till 9PM.  The tutor will have done the problems, but is not supposed to do them for you; rather she will attempt to help you figure out how to do problems you are having trouble with.  Thus you should be prepared to tell the tutor what you have tried so far and what the results are that you have gotten.


Group work and classroom activity.  The teaching method for the course is based on student group discussion of problems in class for about half of each class period.  These group discussions are followed by whole-class discussions which explain the ideas behind the problems and amplify on them.  There is a good bit of research that shows students retain more information when they "construct" their own understanding of it in some way; the teaching method is designed to foster such constructions while covering the material in discrete mathematics that computer science students need to know.  Interviews of students from earlier offerings of this course found that students believed at the end of the term that trying to solve problems that introduced ideas before the ideas were presented in class was helpful.  Most students felt that working on these problems in small groups contributed to their understanding.  Not all students have felt this way.  While different students learn in different ways, it is Professor Bogart's opinion that students who did not find small group work helpful either did not try hard enough to make the groups work for them or were matched with people who did not try hard enough.  It will be possible for the composition of the groups to change from day to day, and the formation of the groups on any given day will be based in large part on student choice.  Therefore the student who wants to try to get the benefits of group work should be able to do so.  Obviously it is difficult to participate in a group if you don't come to class, so regular class attendance is strongly encouraged!  It has been difficult for students who come to class late to catch up with whatever group they join, and it disrupts the flow of ideas in this group.  Thus for reasons of self interest and common courtesy, it is especially important to come to class on time. 


Although the reasons for group work are based on research in learning, it is worth mentioning that people responsible for hiring in business usually put very high priority on a recruit's ability to function as part of a team.  Thus outstanding teamwork will be recognized in grading the course as described below to allow a potential employer to learn about it.


Exams.  There will be two "mid-term" exams and a final.  The first mid-term will be scheduled at or just after the end of the third week of class, and the second will be scheduled at or just after the end of the sixth week of class.  The exact timing of the exams will depend on when we have covered a relatively complete body of material.  The exams will be designed to take one hour, but they will be scheduled in the evening so that students can take up to two hours.  This gives students time to make and correct mistakes, and to think through how to do a problem when they are taking a different (and perhaps more difficult) approach than the instructor intends!  The final exam has been scheduled by the registrar for Monday, Dec. 8 at 1:30.  Each exam may have a take-home component.


Grading.  Homework 20%, mid term exams 20% each, final exam 40%.  In computing your average we will drop the lowest of half your final exam score, one of your other exam scores, and your homework score, whichever is lowest.  As much as possible, grades will be based on demonstrated knowledge. However relative performance may be used as a criterion for increasing grades, and grade borderlines will be chosen to place a relatively small number of students on borderlines.  Borderline grades may be adjusted up or down on the basis of classroom participation; outstanding contributions to group work will be a basis for a citation.


Office Hours.  Professor Bogart's office hours are 10:15-11:00 MWF.  He usually reads e-mail regularly, and, if available, will read e-mail at least once each evening before homework is due.  It is appropriate to send him e-mail asking about meeting at times other than office hours.


Web page and Text.  The web page for the course can be found at  That web page will contain homework assignments, homework solutions posted after homework is due, and class notes.   The primary text for the course is the class notes posted on the web page.  Other sources are the books Discrete Mathematics, by Bogart and Discrete Mathematics and its Applications, by Kenneth Rosen.  Both these books are available on reserve at Baker Library.  Another good reference is Introduction to Algorithms, by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest, and Stein. The Algorithms book is used for CS 15 and 25, so most students should have a copy of it already; if not it is available from the bookstore.  Bogart's and Rosen's books are available from local bookstores or by special order.  The course notes will be posted on the web as soon as they are available.  Students who prefer to read ahead and prepare for class by working on the class exercises in advance are invited to do so.  However, in the long run, such students would be well advised to find a group of like-minded students to work with in class.  An exercise which is referred to as n.i-j is "in class" exercise j from the body of Section i of Chapter n.


Working together and the honor principle.  Students are encouraged to work together to do homework problems.  Groups who work well together in class should consider working together to do homework.  What is important is a student's eventual understanding of homework problems, and not how that is achieved.  The honor principle applies to homework in the following way.  What a student turns is as a homework solution is to be his or her own understanding of how to do the problem.  In preparing the draft of the homework to be turned in, a student may not consult the notes or homework solutions of another student or any solutions to homework problems in past offerings of the course posted on the web.  Students may consult any source (including those just forbidden for the final draft), except for another student's final draft, in learning how to do homework problems.  Students must state what sources they have consulted, with whom they have  collaborated, and from whom they have received help.  However students are discouraged from using solutions to problems posted on the web for previous offerings of the course, and as just stated, must reference them if they use them.  The honor principle applies to exams as follows.  Students may not give or receive assistance of any kind on an exam from any person except for the professor or someone explicitly designated by the professor to answer questions about the exam.  Students may not use library or internet sources on take-home exam problems, but they may use their textbook and personal notes.


Students with disabilities. Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to speak with the professor by June 30.  All discussions will remain confidential, although the Academic Skills Center may be consulted to verify the documentation of the disability and advise on an appropriate response to the need.