Math 341, Applied Differential Equations I, Nathan Reading

Fundamental principles I will try to conduct this class according to the principles expressed in Ardila's Axioms particularly "Every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect [by their teacher and their classmates]." I welcome feedback about how well I am doing, and I encourage students to talk to me if their experience (in my class or elsewhere) is not consistent with these axioms.
Prerequisites MA 242 or (MA 132 and MA 231). In particular, you should be comfortable with differential and integral calculus, and with the basic idea of a vector.
Section 050 The 050 sections are reserved for math majors and honors students because we teach them in a more intense way. This class will go faster and will cover more than my usual 341 classes. I will teach the class with the assumption that you are willing to enjoy the math that we are doing (or work very hard while hating it) and that you have good basic quantitative skills, demonstrated by good performance in earlier math courses.

One specific thing that I am trying to do is push you into reading the text. Lectures will go by fast enough that you will need to read (preferably before the lecture) to master the material. A detailed reading schedule is provided, and some more detailed guidance on what to read is included with the homework assignments.

If you worry that this class is not the place for you, please talk to me. You might be better prepared for it than you think.
Learning Objectives After taking Math 341, a successful student will be able to:
  solve ordinary differential equations (ODEs) using a variety of analytical techniques;
  analyze ODEs using qualitative and numerical methods; and
  model a scientific problem as an ODE and apply the solution of the ODE to the original problem.
The first of these three objectives will receive by far the most emphasis. Qualitative methods will receive more emphasis than numerical methods.
InstructorNathan Reading
OfficeSAS 4118
Telephone919-515-3261. This is an office desk phone that does not accept text messages. Email is a much better way to reach me than phone.
Emailreading AT math DOT ncsu DOT edu
Course website and MoodleThis site is You will be responsible for material on this site. You will be notified by email or in class when new information is posted on the site (except for regularly occurring changes like posting of assignments and quiz/test solutions).

There is also a Moodle page for this course, which you can find in the usual way through Wolfware. We will use the Gradebook and a few other features.
Class email listThere is a class email list. You will be responsible for any information emailed to the list. You will be expected to check your ncsu email account at least every day.
Class Sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Broughton Hall 3216. Attendance at lectures is part of the course.

Classroom Guidelines

Here is the most up-to-date schedule for the class. This schedule (except for test dates) is subject to change as the course progresses.
If you (or I) are not well If you are not well, please stay home. Class will be automatically recorded and webcast. The webcast is available during class with a slight delay (< 1 minute). The recordings are available soon after class. Both webcast and recordings are at this link or on the Moodle page. It would also be a good idea to find a "buddy" in the class (or preferably more than one) who takes good notes and is willing to send you copies of their notes after class. Depending on how well the recordings come out, the notes may be more useful than the recordings. I have also created folders where you can post photos of the boards. But this is entirely crowdsourced: If you as a class want to make this happen, make it happen.

If I am not well, but am well enough to teach online, we may move class to Zoom. There is a Zoom link on the main Moodle page. I think/hope we will not use it, but it's there so we can use it at short notice if necessary. (This is another good reason to check your email regularly.)
Course AssistantSpencer Daugherty
Office hours Nathan Reading office hours: Tuesdays, 12:30-2:00 and Wednesdays 10:30-12:00 in SAS 4118.
Spencer Daugherty office hours: Mondays, 9:00-10:30 and Thursdays, 8:30-10:00 in SAS 4119. (Spencer will also have a Zoom meeting open during their office hours for those who want to attend virtually.)

Scheduled office hours are a "drop-in" service. No need to tell me whether you are coming. You are allowed to come to whatever part (or all) of the office hour that fits your schedule and your needs. It may be possible to make appointments at other times. To make an appointment, email me.

I discourage students from simply dropping by my office outside of scheduled office hours.

I also discourage students from hanging out in my office hours doing homework until they have a question.

Regularly scheduled office hours are not held during the first week of class or after the last day of class. Office hours may occasionally need to be changed to allow me and/or your TAs to fulfil all parts of our job responsibilities.
Other learning resources There is also drop-in tutoring at the Mathematics Multimedia center.

You may also want to check out the Academic Success Center for other tutoring options and other help.
Text Fundamentals of Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems, by Nagle, Saff, and Snider, 7th Edition, Addison-Wesley. This book is available in print and online. There is a link on the Moodle page to an online version of the book. (I'm told that this is the lowest priced option, but perhaps some of you know how to do better.)
Reading Assignments, Lecture Schedule and Tests  Students are expected to read the text in addition to attending lectures. Here is the most up-to-date schedule for the class. This schedule (except for test dates) is subject to change as the course progresses.

Homework Homework will be assigned every week. It is nominally "due" every Thursday. The choice of homework problems will be an indication of what I expect students to learn. It is expected that students will do every problem in every assignment and will seek help from the instructor, from classmates and/or from others when they have trouble with a problem. You are encouraged to work in groups on the homework. However, if you do not put in your own effort on each problem, you may find that you are less prepared for quizzes and exams than you would like to be.

Here are the homework assignments.

Quizzes Every Thursday except exam days there will be a quiz on the homework assignment due that day. The purpose of the quiz will be to test your understanding of the assigned homework problems. It will be my intention to write a quiz that students will do well on, if they have mastered every homework problem. If you find that your performance on quizzes is not what you would like it to be, then you probably should be putting more effort into homework. I will also occasionally give "pop" quizzes.
Midterm exams  There will be two midterm exams in class on the following dates:
  Thursday, September 28, 2023
  Thursday, November 2, 2023
I will not be dropping the lowest exam grade.
Final Exam  Thursday, December 7, 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
The final exam will be held in the usual room.
Calculator use I will be writing quizzes and tests that don't need a calculator, and calculators will not be allowed on tests or quizzes. Similarly phones should be in a backpack or pocket where they are not accessible during a quiz or test.

You can use any calculator you want for homework, but don't become dependent on certain functions (for example graphing) that you won't have on the test.
Comments, answers, review sheets, ets. Here are some Comments and answers on quizzes and tests and some review sheets.
Grading  The student's numerical score will be determined by weighting exams and quizzes as follows: 15% for quizzes, 25% each for the two exams and 35% for the final. Precise cutoffs for + and -- grades will be determined after the final. These gradelines may be adjusted slightly but only in a way that improves the letter grades assigned. Please don't have unrealistic expectations about the gradelines being adjusted. They will probably not be adjusted, or will be adjusted by only a very few points.
  90.0-100.0  A-, A, A+
  80.0-89.9  B-, B, B+
  70.0-79.9  C-, C, C+
  60.0-69.9  D-, D, D+
Grades on Moodle  We will be keeping track of your grades on Moodle, and you can always see them there.
N.C. State Polices, Regulations, and Rules Students are responsible for reviewing the NC State University Policies, Rules, and Regulations (PRRs) which pertain to their course rights and responsibilities, including those referenced both below and above in this syllabus:

Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement with additional references at

Code of Student Conduct.
Policy on Attendance and Make-ups  Attending every lecture and recitation (in its entirety) is considered part of the course requirement. No provisions will be made for students to make up missed quizzes or tests except as spelled out in the University's attendance regulation available at .

Excused absences: If you have an excused absense on a quiz or test day, email me (Nathan Reading) as soon as possible.

Policy on Incompletes  Incompletes are not offered except in cases where special circumstances (such as outlined in the attendance regulation mentioned above) make it impossible for a student to complete the course. Even in these special circumstances, incompletes will not be offered unless the student was in a position to pass the class before the special circumstance arose. In particular, incompletes cannot be used as a way to "bail out" when a student feels that they cannot pass the course or feels they cannot do all the work that they put off until the end of the semester.
Statement on privacy  Students may be required to disclose personally identifiable information to other students in the course, via digital tools, such as email or web-postings, where relevant to the course. Examples include online discussions of class topics, and posting of student coursework. All students are expected to respect the privacy of each other by not sharing or using such information outside the course.
Statement for students with disabilities  Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, students must register with the Disability Resource Office at Holmes Hall, Suite 304, 2751 Cates Avenue, Campus Box 7509, 919-515-7653. For more information on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Regulation (NCSU REG02.20.01).
Academic Integrity  Students are expected to conform to standards of academic integrity as described in the Code of Student Conduct, which can be found in the Code of Student Conduct. The student, by signing or writing their name on a homework assignment or test, affirms that they have neither given nor received unauthorized aid. (See "Homework Assignments" above for guidelines on acceptable collaboration on homework.) Violations of academic integrity will be handled in accordance with the Student Discipline Procedures (NCSU REG 11.35.02).
NCSU Counseling center The Counseling Center offers confidential counseling to NC State students experiencing personal, academic or vocational problems. Check out
Help for students in distress Although the counseling center is a great help, sometimes it's hard to recognize when we need help. So we need to look out for each other too. Occasionally, you may come across a fellow student whose behavior worries you. You can and should report worrisome behavior to the NC State Cares website: You can report anonymously, but if you share your contact information, they can follow-up with you personally.