About writeups and workshops for Math 291, fall 2002

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 presentation.

  • 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(x)=3x7+25x4-19x2+5, then f(-2)=-87. The details of substitution and evaluation should not be shown.
  • Neatness counts.
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 available online.

Exposition is a skill which can be learned. Comments on your work are intended to help this process.

The rules
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.

An example
Here 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.

Oral presentations
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.

Maintained by greenfie@math.rutgers.edu and last modified 1/14/2003.