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 and technical 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: your workshop report must be written legibly on
standard size paper. Observe margins on all four sides. Please write
on one side only. You must put your name, your section number, the
workshop number, and the page number on each sheet. You must staple
the pages together in the proper order.
Exposition is a skill which can be learned. The comments on your work are
intended to help this process.
While you are encouraged to discuss the problem with other students
and with the recitation instructor, the peer mentors, and me, the
written work you hand in must be your own. Please acknowledge any
quotes and reference any sources.
See pages 4
through 9 here for an example of a workshop problem and a
writeup, and further comments.
Each week the course lecturer will grade workshop reports from one
section of the course. The recitation instructor will grade those
reports that the lecturer does not grade. Generally I hope that
writeups will be at most a page or two long.
Each workshop report will be graded on a scale of 0-10. Half the
points are for "mathematical content" and half for "exposition". If
the mathematics is illegible then you cannot get either the content
points or the exposition points. "Exposition" includes the format
described above, the layout of your computations, and the explanatory
sentences. More words are not necessarily better! "Content" includes
the mathematical appropriateness of the work you do, and the
correctness of the computations (numerical and symbolic) and any
diagrams and graphs you use to motivate, carry out, and report your
work and your results.
Late workshops will generally not be accepted!
Roughly speaking scores are given as follows: 0 means nothing legible
is there. 2 means there is some relevant work in proper format, but it
makes almost no progress. 4 means the format is okay and there is some
mathematical progress. 6 means format and exposition is okay and
there is reasonable mathematical progress. 8 means format and
exposition is okay and the mathematics is almost complete. 10 means
there are no important errors in math or exposition. Intermediate
score are intermediate: e.g. 7 is between 6 and 8.
Here's the last paragraph of the local
matter in the text:
Writeups with more than one page should be stapled. Writeups should be
legible. Spelling should be checked. Students should proofread their
work. Neatness counts!
Writeups should be correct and
easy to read.