Math 266
Math 266: Elementary Differential Equations
Section 4, Fall 2016
3 credits

Most recent update: Friday, December 9


Dr. James Wilson Office, Phone, Email, Office Hours

Class Meetings

Lecture/Activity/Discussion/Tests: August 22 - December 9, Monday - Friday 8:00 - 8:50 in Carver 202.

Final Exam: Thursday in Exam Week, December 15, 7:30 - 9:30 AM in the same room. Don't leave town early.

Exceptions: Holiday Monday September 5, Break Monday-Friday November 21-25.

Dead Week: Homework as usual, no quiz or test.

Text and Approximate Syllabus

Zill & Wright, Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems, Cengage/ISU Custom Edition, packaged with WebAssign access code, ISBN 9781305025172.

1.1-3; 2.1-5; 3.1-2: First order differential equations. August 22 - September 16

4.1-4,6,7,9; 5.1: Higher order linear differential equations. September 16 - October 28

8.1-2 (8.3*); 10.1 (10.2-3*): Systems of differential equations. October 28 - December 2

Review December 5 - December 9

(*if time allows)

See the Math 266/267 web site: for a good list of course objectives.

Blackboard and WebAssign

A link to this course information is available on Blackboard. When Blackboard is down, this web page will probably be accessible.

WebAssign software is availble and required for homework. Access to it is through our Blackboard course menu. Homework scores appear in the Blackboard gradebook after due dates (updated nightly). WebAssign includes an electronic textbook. For technical difficulties, try WebAssign Student Support or 1-800-955-8275, option 1.

Homework, Quizzes, Tests

The homework problems are appropriately called "exercises." Always approach them with the intention of exercising for performance in class and in future applications. Pay careful attention to the language, both terms and symbols. Practice the concepts and the language in the exercises. Just getting through them is not sufficient. You are done when you are ready to perform. Watch the WebAssign due dates. I limit your time to keep you up to date with the lectures.

Quizzes will be short 10-point quizzes Wednesday of week 2 and Friday of weeks 5, 8, 11, and 13, about halfway between tests. Quiz topics will be posted here. Solutions will be made available on Blackboard afterward.

The four 50-minute tests take part of class Mondays of weeks 4, 7, 10, and 13. Topics to be tested will be posted here. Solutions will be made available on Blackboard afterward.

The final exam is Thursday in Finals Week, 7:30 - 9:30 AM. It covers the entire course, with emphasis on the topics following the previous test.

Quiz 1: Wed, Aug 31 on sections 1.1 - 1.3 Solutions
Test One, Monday, September 12, on sections 1.1 - 2.5 Solutions
Quiz 2: Fri, Sep 23 on sections 3.1-2, 4.1 Solutions
Test Two, Monday, October 3, on sections 3.1-2, 4.1-3 Solutions
Quiz 3: Fri, Oct 14 on sections 4.4, 4.6 Solutions
Test Three, Monday, October 24, on sections 4.4,6,7,9 Solutions
Quiz 4: Fri, Nov 4 on section 5.1 Solutions
Test Four, Monday, November 14, on sections 5.1, 8.1-2 Solutions
Quiz 5: Fri, Dec 2 on sections 10.1 - 10.2 Solutions
Final Exam, Thursday, December 15, 7:30 - 9:30 AM in our classroom, comprehensive.

Course Grading

Your course grade will be based upon your total score out of 500 points possible:
300 points from your three best of Tests One - Four.
100 points from the Final Exam.
60 points from WebAssign homework. That is, 60 times your percent score.
40 points from your four best of Quiz One - Five.

Grading Scale: 0-50% F, 50-60% D, 60-70% C, 70-80% B, 80-100% A. These ranges include plus and minus grades, so that every 3 1/3 % changes your course grade. If this turns out too demanding, I may adjust grades upward.

Help sources

My office hours (above)

Diff Eq Instructors' shared office hours

Academic Success Center: "Creating relationships and providing services to enhance students' learning and academic success", for help with many issues: ASC Home

Academic Success Center Supplemental Instruction for Math 267 may be helpful, but 267 is on a different schedule.

Academic Success Center Tutoring Services.


Calculators do not play a major role in this course. You are expected to have them and to be able to give accurate decimal approximations. But most test problems require exact answers, and you must be able to use symbolic manipulation techniques without calculator/computer assistance.


If you have a disability and require accommodations, please arrange early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. Show documentation of your disability at the Disability Resources office, 1076 Student Services Building. (Contact 515-294-7220 or

Department Policies

Various Mathematics Department policies are found at policy page.