Mathematical Structures
MATH 211 Sections 1 and 3

Fall 2017
Section 1: Oliver PH 1033, TR 11:0012:15
Section 3: Harris Hall 2128, TR  2:00  3:15

Virginia Commonwealth University

Instructor: Richard Hammack
Office hours:
Office: Harris Hall 4166
Tuesday, 9:30–10:30
Work: 828-6237
Wednesday, 2:00–3:00
Home: 355-3963
Thursday, 9:30–10:30
E-mail: rhammack @ vcu . edu
and by appointment
Webpage: Course webpage:

Prerequisite: Calculus-level placement on the VCU Mathematics Placement Test within the one-year period immediately preceding enrollment in the course or MATH 151, MATH 200, MATH 201 or MGMT 212.

Text: Elements of Discrete Mathematics, by Richard Hammack. This is a free on-line text in PDF format. Download it at the course web page: (You can also pick up an inexpensive comb-bound hard copy at Wythkin Printing, 911 W. Grace St., Richmond.)

This class is an introduction to methods of discrete mathematical structures and systems. Topics include sets, counting, logic, algorithms, methods of proof, induction, relations and functions.

You are expected to keep up with the reading. There are frequent written assignments, two tests, and a final exam. Your grade is determined by scores on assignments, exams and participation. Details follow.

Assignments: Written assignments are collected, graded and returned.
  • Papers are collected at the beginning of class on appointed days.
  • Papers submitted after the beginning of class may not be graded.
  • If you must miss class when an assignment is due, please give it to me early or have a classmate turn it in for you.
  • You may email an assignment to me, but it must arrive in my inbox no later than the beginning of class on the day it is due. I sometimes don't print emailed assignments, so you may not get any written feedback from me.
  • Exceptionally sloppy work is not graded.
  • I expect compete sentences (when appropriate) and good English usage. Points may be deducted for bad style.
  • I encourage you to work together, though the work you turn in must be your own.
  • Resist the temptation to hunt for solutions on line. I do not give credit to solutions that I recognize as copied.
  • In addition to the work you hand in, you should work lots of extra problems for practice.
  • Some assigned problems are intended to make you think about ideas not discussed in class.
Tests: There are two tests (dates to be determined). In writing the tests, I assume that you have been studying the material at least 6 hours per week outside of class.

Participation/Engagement: Participation means that you in some way demonstrate intellectual involvement in the course. It does not necessarily mean that you ask questions and volunteer answers. Active participation may include your working lots of exercises, taking advantage of office hours, and displaying preparedness, dedication and intellectual curiosity. Things that could cause you to lose participation points include sleeping in class, using your phone in class, texting in class, missing too much class, etc.

Final Exam: The final exam is comprehensive, covering all material discussed in class. It is closed-book and closed-notes. Section 3 takes the exam 1:00–3:50 pm on Tuesday December 12; Section 1 takes it 8:00–10:50 am on Thursday December 14. In writing the final exam, I will assume that you have been studying the material at least 6 hours per week outside of class, throughout the entire semester.

The 10-point grading scale is used:

A: 90100
B: 8089
C: 7079
D: 6069
F: 059

Your final average will be computed as follows:

Assignments: 26%
Highest Test Grade: 36%
Participation: 3%
Final Exam: 35%

Total: 100%


Attendance: I do not take attendance, but I do notice if you are not attending class. If your grades are high, I do not mind if you miss class occasionally; otherwise, excessive absences may result in a reduced participation score.

You are responsible for all material covered in class. As a matter of courtesy, you should arrive punctually and stay for the entire duration of each class you attend. Please inform me ahead of time if you must leave early.

Make-up Work:
If you miss a test for a documented illness or emergency, then I will consider scheduling a make-up for a later date, provided you notify me before the time of the missed test. Otherwise, one missed test will count as a dropped grade. I will drop several low homework grades. If you miss a homework assignment, then that counts as a dropped grade (up to the number of homeworks dropped). If you miss the final exam for a legitimate reason (i.e. a documented illness or emergency) then I can give you a grade of Incomplete (I) for the course, and you will need to make up the missed exam.

Information about this course is posted on my web page (not on Blackboard). Go to There you will find the syllabus, assignments, the course calendar, and other materials. Solutions for all graded work (assignments and tests) will be posted after the due dates.

Email: Any email correspondence concerning this course should be through your official VCU email address. University policy prevents me from discussing many aspects of the course through other email addresses. I may send email messages either to the whole class or individuals in the class. It is your responsibility to check your VCU email regularly.

Cell Phones: Please be sure that all cell phones and other electronic devices (including laptops) are muted and stowed away for the entire duration of each class. Using such devices in class may lower your participation score. Please do not take photos of the board.

Office: Please feel free to stop by my office whenever you have a question, or if you just want to chat. If my posted hours are inconvenient, I will be happy to schedule an appointment. Tell me if you are having trouble. Catching up can be very difficult once you get behind, so let me know as soon as you think there is a problem.

Exercises: For each section we cover, you should work as many of the exercises as possible for practice. Answers or hints are provided for odd-numbered exercises. Some of these problems will be used for the tests and final exam. Keep in mind that there can be many correct approaches for some proof-oriented questions, so the fact that your answer does not match mine does not necessarily mean it is wrong. Ask me if you are ever unsure about the validity of your solution.

Last day to withdraw
: Friday, November 3.

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