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MATH 20C WI21 D (Swanson)


INSTRUCTOR:   Prof. Josh Swanson

TITLE:   Calculus and Analytic Geometry for Science and Engineering


Vector geometry, vector functions and their derivatives. Partial differentiation. Maxima and minima. Double integration.


Lectures will be delivered asynchronously in the Media Gallery tab on Canvas. They will also be available from a Google Drive folder available from the Canvas course home page. Lecture notes will also be posted in the Google Drive folder. Since this course typically includes two midterms taken during lecture, two lectures will be skipped; see the calendar.

To make sure you keep up with the course, each lecture has a corresponding Canvas Quiz where you will submit a brief ~50 word summary of that lecture. The summaries will be graded on completion and will be due one week after the lecture was given. You may summarize the key points in the lecture, you may mention a specific point that caused you confusion, etc., so long as you clearly engage with the ideas presented.


Discussion sections will be held remotely over Zoom according to the Schedule of Classes. See the Zoom LTI Pro tab on Canvas for access links.


Office hours will be held remotely over Zoom. See the Zoom LTI Pro tab on Canvas for the schedule and access links.


We will have two different kinds of homework assignments: online homework which will be graded and written homework which will not be collected or graded.


We will have 5 quizzes during the quarter. Quizzes 1-4 will each be 40 minutes long and are intended to allow 35 minutes to work and 5 minutes to upload. Quiz 5 will take the place of the typical course final and will be twice as long as the other quizzes. For the purposes of grading, Quiz 5 will effectively be considered two quizzes. Your lowest quiz component will be dropped, even if it is 0; if your lowest quiz is Quiz 5, it will be counted as half credit. Each of your top 5 quiz components will thus contribute 12% of your final grade.

Quizzes will be held online through Gradescope (accessible through Canvas) according to the following schedule:

Quizzes are open book, open notes, and you may use a basic scientific calculator. No other resources are allowed, including but not limited to: symbolic calculators, your fellow students, tutors, or web sites. Quizzes will cover lecture material up to and including the lecture immediately before the quiz.

Gradescope records the time of your last submission. If you submit late work after the scheduled end of a quiz, you will lose 1 point for every 1 minute it is late. Note that quizzes are typically worth 15 points. You will be given opportunities to practice using the quiz interface before the first quiz. You are responsible for ensuring your setup is reliable and efficient, or, if this is not possible, you must discuss your situation with me in advance. No exceptions to this late work policy will be granted under any circumstances. To provide a buffer against issues outside of your control, your lowest quiz score will be dropped as outlined above. If you experience a genuine emergency during a quiz, let me know as soon as possible.

Ungraded practice quizzes will be posted on Gradescope as study aids before Quiz 1-5. Additionally, there will be two administrative quizzes on course procedures and on integrity expectations, which will be due just before Quiz 1.


The components of the course will be weighted as follows:

The course will be curved. The target mean will be 2.8 +/- 0.15. This is slightly above the historical median GPA for Math 20C of 2.75, in consideration of continued disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The target grade distribution will be roughly 30% A's/30% B's/30% C's/10% D's/F's. These are not quotas! They are merely guidelines for what to expect based on the historical performance of many students in this class. I put a lot of thought into assigning final grades, and exact cutoffs will be determined at the end of the quarter on a student-by-student basis.

I typically use difficult exams and heavy curves to assign fair grades. This is unusual in UCSD's math department, but I firmly believe it is in students' best interest. Focus on putting your best effort into the course and have faith that grades will work themselves out.

To estimate your current grade during the course, you may do the following. I will post summary statistics after each quiz on the Canvas Discussion Board. Use these statistics to estimate your percentile rank on each quiz so far, average those ranks, and compare the result with the rough grade distribution guidelines above. For example, if you find your average quiz score is in the top 40% of students, your quiz grades likely put you in the B/B+ range. Median homework scores are typically 100%, and for most of the class they do not ultimately change final rankings. Similarly, median lecture summary scores are likely to be very high. You may of course also ask me to estimate your grade, for instance during office hours.


You are paying quite a lot for my time and the TA's time, so take advantage of it! That includes watching lectures, attending discussion section, and attending office hours.


We will use Canvas Discussion Boards for class announcements and discussions.

Post on the class discussion board whenever you're confused about homework, the lecture, the textbook, course logistics, or anything relevant to the course. Do not let yourself be silenced by the fear of how you might look to others. Your classmates, the TA's, and I will answer.

You are very strongly encouraged to post messages which may be of interest to other classmates on the class discussion board instead of emailing me or the TA's directly.


Reading the sections of the textbook corresponding to the lectures and assigned homework exercises is considered to be part of each homework assignment.


We will use Gradescope to handle quizzes as outlined above. Regrade requests will be handled through Gradescope. Such requests are for when the rubric has been marked incorrectly. They are not for arguing with the rubric.


Help is available from me and the TA's during office hours. I also recommend the following resources:


It is important to me personally and the University generally to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. Students with special needs or disabilities must provide the instructor with an Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) in the first week of class, or as soon as possible if the situation arises later. Arrangements for UCSD Athletics teams, documented medical emergencies, etc., must be requested with appropriate documentation as soon as possible.


An administrative quiz on Gradescope early in the quarter will emphasize integrity expectations for this course. See also the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.