Lehman College Calculus Instruction
This page contains recommendations for faculty teaching
calculus and precalculus at Lehman College.
All faculty teaching these courses at Lehman College must
distribute the official syllabi at the beginning of the
semester. Copies will be made by the department and
available in your mailbox the first week of class.
Lehman College Calculus Webpage
for these syllabi and other online resouces. During the
second and third week of classes their will be review sessions
advertised around the department.
The following suggestions are basically a compilation of methods
used by faculty in our department. Obviously some approaches
don't mesh with others. Please review the ideas and feel free
to suggestion your own by emailing the calculus webmaster
(sormanic @ member.ams.org).
Some suggestions to instructors:
- Insure that all students have the correct prerequisite courses
as our computers do not verify this.
- Offer a quiz or assessment test within week so students can assess
whether they are prepared for the course.
Exams should cover material from the current course incorporated
with material from prior courses: factoring, trigonometry and
exponentials should be reinforced in each course.
- Let students know if they should drop the course next to their
first exam grade and recommend a course of action. Students might
be recommended to repeat the previous course, either officially or
unofficially, or continue to sit in on your own course, or just to
work their way through the previous course's syllabus doing all
homework. Warn students not to just drop the math altogether.
You may also send the student to discuss the situation
with the math advisor and recommend they show the advisor the
exam and any assessment tests they've taken.
Strongly encourage students to work together, go to the Math Lab
in groups and to come to office hours.
One approach to teaching is to start each lesson with a review
of the crucial prerequisite material needed in the lesson. Then
introduce the new theory (possibly including proofs) and then
do examples. Then have the students do similar examples and walk
around the room helping them out. Since our students are at many levels
it helps to put up 5 problems to work on and give the students
enough time so that most students have done at least one problem.
The fifth problem should be hard enough to challenge the best.
It can lead into the next topic. Extra Credit might be offered
as an incentive to motivate students.
Many students are foreign, so write as much information as possible
on the board about everything from the Math Lab to the reasoning behind
each step in an example.
Many faculty like to offer regular quizes to give students feedback
and to push the students to do more work.
As at all universities, we need to avoid cheating on exams:
be cautious of blue booklets students may
sneak into the exam, make sure all bags are closed, give multiple versions
of exams when the room is crowded, check students have only simple calculators
or disallow use of calculators, do not allow cell phones or any electronic
devises, do not tell the students a short list of exam problems as students
will be inspired to sneak solutions into the room in one of the many ways
Many faculty give exams with one problem per page printed
on the top of the page. This makes grading easier.
Students who are in danger of failing should be warned to
register for the course again in the next semester so
they don't have difficulty registering for a full section last
who are likely to pass should be reminded to take their next math course
immediately in the subsequent semester. Summer courses should
not be recommended to students unless they are retaking a course
they've failed or seen before. It is very difficult for students
to learn Precalculus or Calculus in 6 weeks.
The final should be thorough, covering all skills needed in
subsequent courses, including skills from prior courses.
Passing a student who is really not ready to pass is not doing the
student a favor. If you are concerned about the exceptional
circumstances of a few students who have worked really hard on
a course, speak to the math department chairman about
the students and what might be done for them.
Remember a grade of F is not averaged into the overall GPA
if the course is retaken and a new grade is earned. It does
remain on the transcript. Officially students who pass a
course cannot retake the course for a better grade even though
this might be the best course of action for such a student.
You may wish to talk to the Department Chair about such a student
or refer the student to a math department advisor.
Lehman College Calculus Webpage
Please send webpage comments to
sormanic @ member.ams.org