The Math Department has required writeups of multistep, nonstandard
problems (here referred to as "workshop problems") as part of the
general calculus curriculum since 1995. This requirement is a
consequence of our recognition that:
Written and oral communication of scientific work is
important and can be difficult.
What is a writeup?
A writeup is a small essay. It should progress logically and be easy
to read. It will be graded both on mathematical content and on
One very good reference on writing is The Elements of
Style by Strunk and White. It is quite brief. The fourth edition
is a thin, reasonably priced paperback ($8). An early edition is
- Explanations should be given in complete sentences.
- Include any information (such as pictures and computations)
that you think is useful.
- Label any pictures.
- You should not include straightforward computational details. For
example, you may just state that if
f(-2)=-87. The details of substitution and evaluation should
not be shown.
- Neatness counts.
Exposition is a skill which can be learned. Comments on your work are
intended to help this process.
While I encourage you to discuss the problem with other students and
with me, the written work you hand in must be your own. Please
acknowledge any quotes and reference any sources. I will ask that
small groups be formed to work on some of the problems and create a
joint writeup, but the default assumption should be that each student
will individually write a solution.
is an "official" example of a writeup of a calc 1 workshop problem.
The writeup is somewhat elaborate and lengthy to me, but the
principles displayed there are good. Generally I hope that
writeups will be at most a page or two long.
Writeups should be correct and
easy to read.
Students can earn extra credit with oral presentations of workshop
problems. This will be discussed in class, but I strongly recommend
that every student make at least one presentation.