Scholars Online Calculus 2020-2021
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
11:00 AM Eastern Time, 8:00 AM Pacific Time
Calculus 2020-2021 Course Schedule
This course has been greatly revamped since it was last taught.
The changes include:
1. Changing to free, open-source textbooks. Calculus hasn’t changed much over the last few decades – the basics are still the basics!
2. Changing to a two-step calendrical format – a fast and easy quick overview based on Thompson’s Calculus Made Easy, followed by a more rigorous and in-depth study based on the APEX Calculus text. (Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman had good things to say about Calculus Made Easy)
3. Increased use of the (free and open-source) Computer Algebra System Maxima and plotting software GnuPlot.
4. Increased cross-platform software compatibility
Some things have not been changed:
1. The need to spend an average of at least 2 hours for every hour spent in class. In other words, please schedule 6 hours for homework outside of class time. Calculus is a "contact sport", with new and different ways of thinking about the world. The number of possible problems you may encounter explodes - you can't possibly learn "a solution for each". Math becomes a game of strategy, as well as tactics. It takes practice to become fluent in strategic ways of thinking.
2. The general use of one class period a week for working and explaining problems (this is usually the Friday session).
3. Use of the math formula creation software Formulator MathML Editor (link is for Windows users; users of other platforms please see below)
Some technological aspects are still in flux, and might change before the start of class:
1. We may use the “Zoom” video conferencing system for classes, to allow the use of video both by the instructor and the students, instead of the Scholars Online chat system
2. If the STACK system can be successfully integrated into the Scholars Online Moodle, we will use it for homework. It’s partially there now.
The preliminary Class Schedule (days of classes, readings, and topics) is here, and will be updated as conditions and context change.
The textbooks in PDF format can be downloaded either from the original web hosts.
(At the time of creation of this web page,
Thompson "Calculus Made Easy" PDF at Project Gutenberg and
APEX Calculus website)
or the Scholars Online website (here for Calculus Made Easy and here for APEX Calculus).
You do not have to be enrolled to download these texts.
For those who prefer physical copies of the textbooks, both books may be ordered via the Scholars Online Bookstore. Note that while hard copy is not free, it is less expensive than printing the APEX Calculus textbook on an inkjet printer!
The main page for the Computer Algebra System (CAS) “Maxima” is at Maxima . (This is the command-line version.) A cross-platform Grapical User Interface (GUI) version is at wxMaxima. Both pages contain download links for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Downloads are free, and this is open-source.
Cross-platform open-source software for plotting mathematical functionsis available at GnuPlot.
The Windows installer for Formulator is available at Formulator MathML Editor; other platforms (Mac and Linux) are available at MMLSoft Formulator Downloads. (Scroll about half the way down the page or search for “Cross-Platform Edition”). Note that while Formulator is not open-source software, it is free for non-commercial use, which includes Scholars Online classes.