General Information (Fall, 2007) (08/22/2007)

Prepared by:

Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics and Computer Studies
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451-0001

Phone: 718-262-2551 (if busy or no answer, leave a voice mail message).


web page:

Grading Practices:

I usually give three 1-hour examinations (one exam in Math 479) and a cumulative 2-hour final examination, which will count as if it were two 1-hour examinations. I DO NOT give make-up examinations. If you miss one 1-hour examination, this should not be a problem. However, if you miss two 1-hour examinations, please contact me before the final examination. It may be tempting not to take one of the 1-hour examinations because you are not as well prepared as you would like to be, but students who take all three 1-hour examinations tend to get a better grade at the end of the course. Part of the reason is that students tend to do less well on the final than the 1-hour examinations because the final is cumulative. I do not grade on the curve. If everyone in the class earns an A, I will give everyone in the class an A grade. I usually do not use "minus" grades in grading; only "plus" grades.


Students are expected to attend class regularly. Students who attend class very regularly tend to get the best grades in my classes.

Writing Project:

I assign writing projects in all of my classes. The due date for project will be announced far in advance of when it is due. In my mathematics classes, as long as you hand in your paper, the paper can only help your grade. However, if you fail to hand in a paper, it may hurt your grade. I sometimes substitute a writing project or a take home examination for one of the 1-hour examinations. Handing in a writing project which is not your own work is known a plagiarism. You only sell yourself short when you choose this option rather using these projects as a learning experience.

Textbooks and Homework:

In courses where I assign a textbook, I expect you to purchase the book. Texts are, unfortunately, often expensive. However, students will be hard pressed to get as much out of the course as they can if they do not purchase the book. You are likely to get a lower grade in the course than you might otherwise if you do not purchase the book.

I allow the use of calculators on my examinations. You can get a very good calculator, if you do not already own one, for about $15.

I will assign homework every day. Typically I go over homework at the start of the next class. I ask for volunteers to put these problems on the blackboard. (There is no penalty for getting problems put on the board wrong. In fact, students who put problems on the board regularly tend to get better grades than those who do not.)

Asking questions:

I strongly encourage you to ask questions in class. There is no such thing as a "stupid" question. You also will be doing your classmates a favor, since very often they will profit from hearing the answer to the question you ask.


Examinations will be announced at least a week in advance, and usually I hand out a set of review problems for the examination a week before the examination. The examination may well cover problems not treated on the review sheet, but students who are able to do problems like the ones on the review sheet should be able to do well on the examination. Students can keep the hour examinations that I give and should save them to review for the final. In order for me to give partial credit students should show the work that they used to get answers on the examination. Since I do not have psychic powers, if a student does not show the work he/she used to get a wrong answer, it is hard for me to give them any partial credit. Each problem will show how many points the problem is worth, and students should adjust the amount of time they spend on a problem to reflect the number of points the question is worth.

For courses that I teach that fulfill the General Education Requirement, these are now taught as Writing Enhanced courses.

I hope you enjoy my course!