Department of Mathematics and Statistics
McGill University

Last modified: Sesptember 11, 2007


Georg Schmidt

Office BURN 1220
Office hours MWF 10:00-11:00, or by appointment
Office phone 398-3844
Class times MWF 8:35-9:25
Class location ARTSW120


Sect.DayTimeRoomAssistant Office Office hours
141 002M12:35pm-14:25pm1B24 Ararat Haratyunyan BURN 1134 M 10:30-12:00, TR 11:45-13:15
141 003M14:35pm-16:25pm 1B24 Michael Wong BURN 1031W 11:30 - 13:00, F 13:00- 14:30
141 004W 12:35pm-14:25pm 1B24 Marc Masdeu-Sabate BURN 1033 MT 14:00- 15:30
141 006W 14:35pm-16:25pm BURN 1214 Alexander Botros BURN 1132 M 15:35-16:35, W 17:00-18:00, Friday 10:30-11:30


  1. I hope to post the course grades by Tuesday, December 18. Here is a copy of the final exam with solutions. I shall be out of town from Tuesday, December 18 until January 11, and will not be able to review final exams and grades during that period. After my return you can request to go over the exam with me. This will be done by appointment. I shall give preference initially to seeing students with D's and F's. Please go over the solutions for the exam beforehand.
  2. My exam period office hours will be as follows (with a slight change from what I said in class): 10 -12 each day from Tuesday Dec 4 to Monday Dec 10 except that on Wednesday and Friday I can only be present from 10-11.
  3. Michael Wong has scheduled a review session for Wednesday, December 5 at 13:30 in BURN 1B24.
  5. Please note that it may take a few days from the moment you register to Minerva to your being given access to WebWorks.


These will be no more than 7 assignments all to be done on the WebWork website. For further information on how to use the WebWork system please go to the last item on this webpage.


The department runs a Help Desk in BURN 911 and you are welcome to make use of this. Information is available at the Helpdesk website.


  1. The final quiz, based on Assignment 5, will be held during the week starting November 26.
  2. The due date for the WebWorks assignment number 5 has been moved to Wednesday, November 21, and that for the final assignment 6 has been moved to Tuesday, December 4.
  3. The due date for the webworks assignment number 4 has been moved to Wednesday, November 7. There will be a quiz based on that assignment during the following week.
  4. There will be no quiz based on Assignment 3.
  5. The quizzes are compulsory.
  6. The quizzes will take place in the week following the submission deadline of a WebWorks Assignment, unless otherwise noted.
  7. The quizzes will take place at the beginning of the tutorial sessions.
  8. Students are expected to take the quiz in the tutorial for which they are registered.
  9. Where students cannot attend the tutorial for which they are registered they can take the quiz with another tutorial. They must fill in their registered tutorial time on the quiz sheet. The grades will be recorded by section using the registration data from Minvera
  10. Students who cannot attend the first half hour of any tutorial can arrange with Schmidt (via e-mail communication in advance) to take the quiz on Friday mornings in the lecture room starting at 8am. A good reason is required!
  11. The first quiz will be given during the week starting September 24.
  12. Quizzes will be handed back in the tutorial for which you are registered.


  1. Midterm solutions are now available here: Version 1, Version 2, Version 3, Version 4, Alternative Version .
  2. UPDATED INFORMATION ON ALTERNATE MIDTERM: This will now take place on Tuesday, May 30 in BURN 1205 from 4:00 to 6:00pm, the same time that I had always announced. By mistake there was previously a booking in BURN 1B39 at a later time.
  3. This is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, October 24, 2007 for 7:00 to 9:00 pm. The two locations are given on Minerva.
  4. Students whose last name begins with a letter in the range A to R will write the examination in Adams Auditorium. Students whose last name begins with a letter in the range S to Z will write the examination in ARTS W215.
  5. The midterm will cover the material up to the end of Section 7.3 of the textbook. As stated on the course outline no calculators will be allowed.
  6. I cannot give any links to previous examinations set by myself. However final examinations set by many idifferent instructors are available on this website
  7. There will be an additional midterm on Tuesday, October 30, from 4:00 to 6:00pm with the same range of material which will take place in BURN 1205. You will need to get my permission to take this so please send me an e-mail as soon as you know that you need to write at the alternative time. Permission will be automatic for those students registered for PSYC 204 and COMP 206 which have midterms at overlapping times and which have been given higher priority in the scheduling. Students involved in other activities at the scheduled time will need to provide a supporting letter from the appropriate staff member (eg a coach in the case of sporting events). Students who are sick at the time of the scheduled midterm can write at the alternative time if they provide me with a doctor's note.
  8. Note that the Midterm mark will contribute to your final grade only if it is higher than your mark on the final examination. If you miss the midterm the final will automatically carry a greater weight.

COURSE MATERIALS The following documents are all given in PDF format:

  1. Course outline
  2. Practice problems from Stewart


We will be using the WeBWorK system developed by Prof. Arnie Pizer and Prof. Mike Gage at the University of Rochester. WeBWorK is an internet based method for delivering homework problems to students over the internet. It is possible that some of the assignments will be presented by more traditional means (paper assignments).

What do I need to use WeBWorK?

The ideal is to have your own computer. Typically it is desirable to have:

  • An internet connection.
  • An internet browser, Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc..
  • Adobe's Acrobat Reader.
  • A printer.
If you do not have a personal computer or you do not have all the components listed above, obtain an account at a computer lab on campus.

How do I use WeBWorK?

Here are the basic steps on how to get started.

NOTE: Most pages of WeBWorK also contain directions. Therefore, if you are ever unsure of what you should do, try reading the directions and descriptions on the page at which you are looking.

  1. Find a computer with access to Netscape, Microsoft Internet Explorer etc.
  2. Open the browser and go to the WeBWorK login page for MATH 141, Fall 2007.
  3. This will get you to the main page of your course. This page includes necessary information about logging in.

  4. To log in, click on the 'Login' button.
  5. This will take you to a login page. Enter your login name and password, and click on the 'Continue' button.

  6. Usually, your login name is your 9 digit McGill student ID number.
    Your initial password is also your 9 digit McGill student ID number.
  7. If your login is incorrect, you will be told so, and you can return to the login page and try again. If you are persistently unable to log in, send e-mail to Prof. Schmidt.
  8. If your login is correct you will see a page where you can do following:
    • Change your password. Please do this the first time that you log in. This is important since your initial password may be available to others. For your own protection you should change your password at least by the time that Set 1 opens. (Set1 is the first problem set that is for credit). Keep a record of your password. Once changed, your instructor does not have access to it.
    • Change your e-mail address if necessary. Please do this the first time that you log in. Your e-mail address is initially set to your McGill PO-Box account given to every student on registration. If you do not use this account on a regular basis, change the e-mail address to the account that you prefer.This will enable us to send you course related information electronically.
    • Log out.
    • Begin problem sets. Following this link, you reach a page where you can:
      • Look at and do the problems in a set via your browser.

      • To do Set 1, for example, click on the line in the box that starts with 'Set 1...'. Then click on the 'Do problem set' button.
        On each line in the box, where all the sets are listed, after the set number, you can see whether the set is open or closed. If the set is open, that means that when you solve a problem, the result will be recorded in the course database. If the set is closed, you can still solve problems, but your results will not be recorded.
        After the indication of whether the set is open or closed, there is additional information about the due date (if the set is open), or whether the answers are available (if the set is closed). When the answers are available, you have the option of looking at correct answers when viewing a problem.
      • Get a printout of the problem set.

      • To print out Set 1, for example, first choose the download type - PostScript or PDF. After choosing one of the download types, click on the line in the box that starts with 'Set 1...'. Then click on the 'Get hard copy' button. Probably best to use the PDF format because it is universal. Acrobat Reader is available (free of charge from Adobe) for virtually every computer platform and will print to virtually every type of printer. However, PostScript format may give better results. To read the PDF files you need Adobe's Acrobat Reader (version 3.0 or better), however version 5 or later is recommended. This version renders some mathematical symbols (notably square roots) correctly and if you use the PDF plug-in it allows you to save directly from the plug-in by clicking on the disk icon in the toolbar. If you are not using a plug-in, you will most probably get a dialog box to enable you to save the file. Note that you can use the preferences command of your web browser to configure your browser to automatically transfer PDF files and/or postscript files to the appropriate application for viewing and printing.
        To print a PostScript file, you will need a PostScript capable printer or a PostScript interpreter such as GSview for Windows or MacGhostView for the Macintosh. Most laser printers such as those found in computer labs are PostScript capable and most inkjet printers are not PostScript capable. If you don't have a printer, you might want to go to a university computer lab and print out the current homework set there. You only need to print out a problem set once. From then on, you can enter the answers over the web on your own computer. Note that you can also print individual problems directly from your browser in the usual way.
      • Look at a summary of your WeBWorK homework scores.

      • This is the second section of the page. If you click on the button 'Get Summary', you will see your current scores for all available problem sets.
  9. If you are printing out a problem set or looking at a summary of your homework scores, you are done. If you are viewing a problem set, you will see a page with the problems in the set you chose. To view and/or answer a problem, click on the number of the problem and click on the 'Get Problem' button. You will see the text of the problem with boxes for your answers. If you wish to submit a solution at this time, enter your answer(s) and click on the 'Submit Answer' button. Once you have submitted an answer, you will be told whether your answer is correct or not. If not, you may be able to try again. The instructor sets the maximum number of available tries for each problem. This may be a finite number of tries or it may be unlimited. After you have tried a problem, you can either go to the next problem, the previous problem, or see the list of the problems again. If you are working on a problem set that is already closed, you will have the option to see the correct answer. To see the correct answer, just check the box(es) and click on the 'Submit Answer' button (you do not have to enter an answer to see the correct answer).
  10. If you want to check the status of your problems (e.g. to double check that your answers have been recorded), use the "Prob. List" button at the top of the page to see the problem list page.
  11. When you are finished, log out using the "Logout" button at the bottom of the page. This may be very important if you are working close to the deadline for completing the assignment. If you close your browser without logging off, it will be at least half an hour before you will be able to log on again.

Things to know

  • If you have a problem logging in, contact your instructor.
  • If you have questions on specific homework problems or if you have comments about WeBWorK that you think can help us make WeBWorK better, click on the 'Feedback' button on any of the pages of WeBWorK.
  • If you are logged on to WeBWorK for longer that 30 minutes without any activity, you will be asked to log in again. This is a security measure. You can resume your work after you logged back in. All your results from the last log in will be saved.
  • Each WeBWorK problem set is individualized (each student has a different version of each problem, for example the numerical values in the formulas may be slightly different). In some problems, versions may differ in more substantial ways.
  • Working close to the submission deadline may be risky, the server will be heavily used at that time and probably rather slow. Much better to submit your solutions a day or two in advance of the deadline.
  • There is a problem set on the server designated SetGentle which is not for credit and exists to help you get a feel for the way that the WeBWorK system works. In addition to this there are two sets SetComplexReview and SetLAReview which are designed to help you review material that you are supposed to have a handle on before coming into this course (complex numbers and linear algebra respectively). Neither of these sets is for credit, but will allow you to get a certain amount of practice with the Webwork system if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • On the computer screen the problems, with spaces for the answers, are displayed in typeset format as a web fill-in form. Since WeBWorK uses standard HTML syntax it is possible to display graphs using the standard "png" format. Even typeset mathematics can be displayed on the screen using png's (portable network graphics).
  • The WeBWorK system is quite flexible. For example, if a problem has several parts the professor has the choice of informing students whether answers for the separate parts are correct or not. Typically, if a problem involves parts with numerical answers, the professor will have WeBWorK inform the student which parts he or she have done correctly but would not do this for a multiple choice question or a question with multiple True/False parts. Similarly, the professor has flexibility in how he or she grades an assignment.
  • Be aware of the number of available tries for each question you attempt. You can tell if there is a limit on the number of tries by scrolling down to the submit answer button. Alongside this button you will see the number of tries that remain. This message is not present if the number of tries is unlimited.
  • If the number of tries is limited, be sure to answer all parts of a multipart question before clicking the 'Submit Answer' button. Every time you click this button counts as an attempt at answering the question even if all the fields are not filled in. On the other hand, if the number of tries is unlimited and the question is set up to show partially correct answers, it may make sense to answer each part of the question separately and check your answers as you go.
  • Avoid hitting the <return> key until you are ready to submit your answer. In most browsers, hitting the <return> key is the same as clicking the "default button", in Webwork's case, this is the "Submit Answer" button. To navigate quickly between answer boxes without using the mouse, use the <tab> key.
  • If the number of tries is limited, be sure not to squander you first few tries. It is a mistake to guess. Think out your answer carefully before submitting it.
  • If you are unsure of how WeBWorK will interpret a complicated expression that you have entered in the answer box, you can click 'Preview Answer" which will show you how WeBWorK will parse your answer, and will typeset your answer. You are then free to either submit the answer as entered or to go back and make appropriate changes.
  • If the number of tries is limited and any of your answers contains brackets, it is highly recommended to preview your answer before submitting it. Unmatched parentheses will count as an error. Even professors make errors like this sometimes!
  • When printing assignments, it may be wise to check that all mathematical signs are correctly rendered. For example, we have seen the not equals sign rendered as the equals sign on a low resolution printer. If you are using Acrobat, you can view the document at very high resolution to check that you have everything as it should be.
What are the advantages of WeBWorK?
  • A key educational benefit of this system is that if a student gets a wrong answer, the student gets immediate feedback while the problem is still fresh in their mind. The student can then correct a careless mistake, review the relevant material before attacking the problem again, or seek help from friends, the TA or the instructor.
  • Our teaching assistants do not have to spend their time correcting assignments. Instead they will spend more of their time where it counts, in contact with students.
  • It is theoretically possible to submit your assignment from a beach in the Caribbean or indeed anywhere else in the world.