Intro to Higher Math
Math 311 E+G - Fall 2018

Instructor: Adam S. Sikora 115 Math Bldg.
Class meets: MWF, 250 Math • E: 12:00-12:50pm, • G: 2:00-2:50pm
Recitations in Math 250 (Starting 2nd week of classes):
E: Mon 8-8:50am, by Mark Sullivan, marksull @ buffalo edu, 136 Math Bldg, phone 645-8821, office hours: every weekday 11-noon.
G: Fri 8-8:50am, by Jonathan Lottes, jllottes @ buffalo edu, 129 Math Bldg, phone 645-8817, office hours: Tu 9-11. Math Help Center: Mon 1-2, Tu 2-3.
Math Help Center, Math Bldg 108, 9am-4pm M-F
My office hours: Mon,Fri 10-11am or by appointment.
Email from me to you: Class announcements will be sent to you via email. Please check your UB email daily.
Email from you to me: Any questions related to the course content or procedures of a non-personal nature should be asked on the Piazza discussion forum. Posting complete HW solutions before they are due is not allowed.
For personal issues, use Email: asikora at

Prerequisite: Math 141.
Text: Lecture Notes (These notes maybe updated during the course of the semester.)
Supplemental texts: As the notes above may be too compact at times for many of you and have limited examples only, please purchase (either 4th edition, or much cheaper 3rd ed.)

Additional, inexpensive book I recommend: How to do well in this course: The beginning of the course seems easy, but it becomes much harder soon. The course covers the most abstract mathematics you have ever encountered. It is designed to teach you precision in thinking and writing proofs. As there is no universal recipe for proof writing, that skill will be difficult to acquire for some of you. Come to class. Study the pdf notes beforehand. Make sure you have a precise understanding of the definitions and theorems. "Sort-of" understanding is _not_ enough in this course. You may consider using flash cards for learing definitions and theorems/propositions. Ask questions on the material you do not understand. For each question you try to solve it by yourself first, by looking at examples, by trial and error, by making sure you understand the definitions involved. Only when you make a genuine effort and are still lost, you should consider asking your TA, others for help. That's the only way to learn math. Math takes grit. It is not a spectator sport. Meet with your study group. You should plan on spending a minimum of 10 hours a week in preparation/homework. Try not to fall behind. Help is available from the TA and me (before or after class; or e-mail for an appointment).

Preliminary Test Schedule: 1st week of Oct, 1st week of Nov, Dec 7.
You are required to know the material in the lectures, the notes (even if not covered in lecture, except as indicated) and in the homework. Only non-graphing, non-programmable calculators are permitted on exams/quizzes. You are expected to attend each test as scheduled, unless you have a documented medical or other valid excuse. IDs will be checked. Contact me before taking an exam if you are seriously ill.
Quizzes: There will be a short quiz in each recitation on the recent material. No makeups will be given, but the 2 lowest marks will be dropped without penalty.
Additionally, there may be some simple quizzes during lectures.
Homework: due in class. No late homework will be accepted. Each homework assignment will consist of a number of problems, of which only some problems (not specified beforehand) will be graded. You may work jointly on homework with your study group or other members of the class, but you must write up the problems on your own.
Homework guidelines:

Final grade will be based on HW (and in-class quizzes if they are given), 100pts, and the best of

Therefore, the total number of points is 400.
360pts (total) including at least 80% on last test guarantees A.
352pts (total) including at least 70% on last test guarantees A-.
The final grades maybe curved. The average Math 311 final grade distribution in the recent years was as follows:
A 25%, A- 4%, B+ 8%, B 18%, B- 9%, C+ 4%, C 14%, C- 5%, D+ 5%, D 6%, F 16%.
Most likely the grade distribution in this class will be similar.

Incomplete: Incompletes will only be given for reasons beyond your control, serious illness. You must be passing the course to get an incomplete. University policy is that if you receive an 'I' grade (incomplete), then you are also assigned a default grade, which is the grade you have already earned averaged with a 0 on the remaining work. It is easy to see that even a good student will normally receive an 'F' as the default grade. This appears on your transcript, as 'I/F', until you make up the incomplete or 15 months elapse, when you would receive the default grade (you would receive the F in this example).
Students who received an incomplete in a previous 311 class should not register for this class, but must file a petition form with the Math Department.

Tentative Class and HW schedule

HW assignments are based on the notes for the course (linked above).
HW Class Date Class contents and HW Due
1 Aug 27,29,31 Sec. 1: 1-3, Sec. 2: 1,4,5 Sec. 3 1,2 Sep 7
2 Sep 5,7 Sec. 2: 6 Sec: 3: 3,4,6,7,8,12,13 Sep 14.
3 Sep 10,12,14 Sec. 4: 1,2,3,4 Sec. 5: 1,3,4,8,11,12. Sep 21