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Courses Sugesstions on a course?

  1. Feb 21, 2008 #1
    Sugesstions on a course??!!

    Hi all,

    I have been attending some classes on Elementary Differential Equations for a month or sth, since the spring semester started. I am a freshman by the way, math major, and this is my first semester! I haven't been officially registred in that class, but my academic advisor, who actually lectures this course, suggested that i just go there, attend classes do homework and take tests, like all other students. THis is what i have done during this time. I did not find the material that difficult at all so far, since we do not actually do proofs almost at all, just applications.WE also had a test this week, and i did not find it difficult at all.
    Today i met with my advisor, also the prof. who lectures this course, and she suggested that i officialy register for this course. In other words she wants to officially register me in this course. But i do not think this is a good idea, since currently i am taking Calculus I, and havent officially taken any other courses in math, concerning Calculus II, III, or Linear Algebra. HOwever i know quite some stuff from Calc II, and not that much from Linear ALgebra. In calc II i am quite familiar with sequences, integration, numerical series, but not that familiar with taylor series fourier series and other stuff. SO, my question is whether it is a good idea to be officially registered in this course or not, considering what i just said????

    Any suggestions, and advices would be highly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2008 #2


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    If you're going to do well in the course, and your school is permitting you to take it, then sure, register for it.

    I find it hard to believe you've already taken a test without having had to make this decision already. Typically, you have to decide your grading option very early in the class.

    - Warren
  4. Feb 21, 2008 #3
    Yeah, it sounds weird, i agree! However i am currently taking two other courses with the same proffesor, Elementary FUnctions, and Calculus I, and i find the material neither challenging nor interesting. In other words i almost know all what these subjects include. SO after the first week of classes this prof. suggested i only tried going to diff.eq classes, and see how i find the material there. SO afterwards she would register me in that class by the middle of the semester if i wanted to. SO basically this is the deal.

    And my concern is that what do you guys think would it be harder when we go to the next topics that require quite some knowledge from linear algebra and calc II. Like some knowledge on taylor series, and other linear transfromation stuff in lin algebra, whic i do not actually know what is it about???

    So far we have gone through up to Population MOdels, and velocity taking into account the air resistance. In other words we have gone through only the first chapter. This is the book we are working with

    Elementary Differential Equations, Edwards
    Binding Hardback
    Copyright 08
    Edition 6
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2008
  5. Feb 21, 2008 #4


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    I think you should do whatever your teacher believes you are ready to do. If you want a second opinion, talk to another professor, or the department chair. On the other hand, I think you (and her) should be very careful about having you skip any classes.

    Most schools won't allow you to totally skip classes anyway; they will generally require you to at least sit for the final exams to demonstrate your knowledge. This is often called "credit by exam."

    - Warren
  6. Feb 21, 2008 #5
    Well, no i am not gonna skip any classes at all. Next semester i am going to take Linear Algebra, Calculus II, Discrete Math, and Statistics II, or sth else. I actually was planning to take diff. eq. after i would be done with these courses, which means on the third semester. However, the prof. sugested that i could do independent study on diff. eq. on my third semester, where i would be required to do the rigor diff. eq. , meaning i would have to learn how to prove all the stuff we are currently learning, and things like that. My only concern is that i would have to get familiar with othe stuff from Calc II and lin algebra at the sime time. ALthough the prof said that she is going to explain the necesary tools in lin algebra that we are going to need for dif eq. since apperantly there are other, junior or senior, students who have not taken lin. algebra yet.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2008
  7. Feb 21, 2008 #6
    I still need some further advice, if anyone could give to me!
  8. Feb 21, 2008 #7
    What are you covering in Diff EQ that doesn't need calc 2?
    Well I can see basic separation of variables doesn't require much prior knowledge.. but there will be some integration in Diff EQ that will be in no means trivial...
    If you have already been through half a semester, I don't see why you shouldn't stick with it though.
    A freshmen in Diff EQ is not unheard of, but if you have never taken calc 1,2, or 3, that's a different situation. Linear Algebra is not really a requirement for Diff EQ, it will help in the end of the class, when you look at eigenvalue problems, but generally it is not a requirement for the class, you should go over the knowledge and skills needed in class.
  9. Feb 21, 2008 #8
    Well i do not have problems with integration, i know quite some stuff in there! We have covered separation of variables, exact equations, homogenious equation and substitution methods, bernoulli equation, linear first order equations, population models, velocity taking into consideration air resistance, and also have started on second order linear diff. equations.
    Well, as i said i have not taken calc 1,2,3 officially, but i have tried to teach to myself quite some stuff covered by calc 1 and 2. But i have almost no knowledge at all concerning polynomial series and taylor series, however i am familiar with numerical series.
  10. Feb 21, 2008 #9
    I can't really speak for your Diffy Q class. It seems to be the general catch all Diffy q class (meaning made for every major.) If that is the case, it shouldn't be difficult. You can probably pick up how to make a taylor series easily enough. It isn't exactly the most difficult task.

    It's hard for me to comment since i'm starting to realize my first differential equations class seems to be rather different than most people's first introduction. If you took my class, I would have to say, it would be rather bad if you decided to skip linear algebra before Differential equations, but I hear some schools kind of reteach the linear algebra needed for Differential equations during the course.
  11. Feb 21, 2008 #10
    Yeah exactly, it is a course made for all majors, since there are quite some Physics, engeneering and biology majors, usually juniors or seniors, who are currently taking this class. Also my prof suggested that i could later on my third semester, after i had taken linear algebra and calc II, do some independent study, where i would do rigor diff.eq, meaning proofs and all stuff like that.

    But i am not sure, what chapters does a regular one semester diff eq class cover? That is does it go all the way through Laplace transformations and further or it ends like after solving diff eq using taylor series?
  12. Feb 22, 2008 #11
    my course, one semester, covered Laplace transforms, linear algebra methods, systems and phase plane analysis, theory of higher ordered equations, series solutions, special equations ( the one's named after people for a certain application generally) like Bessel functions, Airy's equation, Legendre Polynomials...
    We basically did everything except the last chapter in our book which was an intro to partial diff eq's

    we used Fundamentals of Differential Equations by Nagle
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