Differential Equations

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2012
Bolin Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

MWF 10:00-10:50

Dr. Mark Farris (view Profile)


Differential Equations 4th Edition
Blanchard, Devaney, Hall

Course Objectives

(This is the description Paul Blanchard used in a recent syllabus for his version of this course.)  In this course, we study the solutions of ordinary differential equations using three general approaches. Solutions are obtained using analytic, geometric, and/or numerical techniques. All three approaches have their advantages, and we will learn when to use the appropriate technique. We begin by deriving a few classical examples with an emphasis on the phenomena that they model. We then discuss first-order equations using all of the techniques mentioned above. Next we study first-order systems. Using a little linear algebra (not a prerequisite), we derive a systematic approach to the solution of linear systems. Unfortunately, nonlinear systems are more difficult to investigate, but we learn how to apply what we know from the linear case to the nonlinear case. The course concludes with a discussion of Laplace transforms.

Course Expectations

Math 1734-Calculus II

Grading Standards

Your grade will be based on weekly homework assignments, three exams, three computer assignments, and a comprehensive final exam.  These items will be weighted like this:

                        Best 10 homeworks @ 20 points each                                    200

                        Best 2 of 3 exams @ 100 points each                                     200

                        Best 2 of 3 computer assignments @ 100 points each           200

                        Final exam                                                                               200


You need 700 points for an A, 600 for a B, 500 for a C, and 400 for a D.

Final Exam

05/09/2012 10:30-12:30

Submission Format Policy

Homework and Lab writeups are due at the beginning of class on the date indicated.  The best way to learn mathematics is to work problems.  I’m sure that each of you will work many more problems that just the ones assigned.

Exams will be on forms distributed in class.  You may be required to bring a long scantron.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

If you miss an assessment activity for an unexplained or frivolous reason, there will be no opportunity to make up the missed work.   If your car won’t start on the morning of an exam, you have a reason for missing class and a make-up opportunity is potentially, but not necessarily, available.  But, if you don’t inform me of this in a timely fashion then your excuse will be considered frivolous.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

By registering for this course, you have made 44 doctor’s appointments with Dr. Farris.  I expect you to attend every class meeting; I expect you to arrive on time; I expect you to remain in class for the entire scheduled time.  If you need to miss a class, arrive late to class, or leave class early please send me an e-mail in a timely fashion indicating why you will not be present.  If you are absent for unexplained or frivolous reasons for a 7th time you are subject to being dropped from the course.  This will not happen as long as you maintain a passing average.

                If you miss an assessment activity for an unexplained or frivolous reason, there will be no opportunity to make up the missed work.   If your car won’t start on the morning of an exam, you have a reason for missing class and a make-up opportunity is potentially, but not necessarily, available.  But, if you don’t inform me of this in a timely fashion then your excuse will be considered frivolous.

Other Policies

Calculators-I assume that you have a graphing calculator and that you know how to use it.  If you are uncomfortable with your personal graphing calculator skills I am willing to assist you, but this should take place outside of scheduled class time.   Be forewarned that whereas graphing calculator technology can be quite useful for completing tedious exercises related to our subject matter, student assessment will be designed so that students with more powerful calculators will not have an advantage.  

DETools-We will also be using the software that comes with the textbook.  This is already loaded on the classroom computers.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at