Instructor: Howard Stone
Description of Course Goals and CurriculumOverview of differential equations including first and second, and higher order ODEs as well as PDEs including special forms of both.
Learning From Classroom InstructionThis course is well taught by Dr. Stone. His lectures give an overview of concepts and go into detailed examples of problems you are expected to know how to solve. There is great organization (as it follows his notes/book on differential equations) so it is easy to follow along in the course. It is easy to fall behind, however and have no idea what’s going on in lecture if you don’t keep up on readings or watching his lecture videos before class. Both are very helpful for getting an introduction to the material, even if you don’t fully grasp what’s going on because any questions/aspects of problems you don’t understand can be cleared up in class if you stay current on the material. Precepts are very helpful for going over material for the week and can be super helpful if you are falling behind in the class. There are a lot of great preceptors who usually TA this class.
Learning For and From AssignmentsThe psets in this course are very time-consuming and relatively difficult. You will need to devote a great deal of time to them but will end up with a good understanding of the material upon completion. Office hours are a must for psets. Most of the preceptors are great at explaining the concepts involved in the material and will give hints on the psets. Doing precept problems are also helpful in learning material in preparation for the psets and to study for the exams as some preceptors will include questions on their precept problems that show you how to do a tough problem that is similar to something on the upcoming pset. Some of the preceptors make comprehensive study guides for the exams which go over basic questions for all the types of problems taught in the course that can be expected to be seen on an exam. Overall, the precept materials are really helpful in preparing for the exams and for doing the psets and you should try your best to complete them and seek out precept resources from other preceptors. As for the exams, they will either be easy or super hard, so its best to prepare for the worst and not to get complacent. Two previous years exams are posted to give you an idea of what kind of questions are on the exam but beware that either exam or the final may be really easy or really hard and don’t make judgements based on your perceived difficulty of the two posted exams. In terms of preparing, there are plenty of resources from precept materials and homeworks to study that you should have a good handle on in order to do well. The course is quite difficult if you don’t put in the time to be able to solve the typical homework and precept problems on your own.
External ResourcesThe textbook for this course is written by Dr. Stone and goes over everything he does in class. It is quite a difficult read so it can be helpful be really time consuming. The best strategy is to skim it and go to lecture with an idea of what’s going on then learn through a combination of lecture material, precepts, and finally doing the psets. Office hours are a must for this course for completing psets and the precept problems and study material created by the preceptors for the exams should be utilized as much as possible for studying.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course SelectionThis is a difficult course but is fundamental to engineering. You should probably only be taking it if you’re an engineering major or like to take math courses. Although it is difficult, this course is well taught, and if you put in the effort, you stand to gain a lot in terms of mathematical problem-solving skills in differential equations, which has a wide range of applications in engineering.
Differential Equations I