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MATH520 Ordinary Differential Equations Fall 2020

Course Information

Instructor Dr. Changhui Tan
Lectures T Th 1:15pm - 2:30pm, via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Office LeConte 402
Office Hours MW 11:00am--12:00pm, or by appointment, via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Textbooks Boyce, DiPrima and Meade, Elementary Differential Equations (11th Edition). (ISBN: 978-1-119-32063-0)
Syllabus Click Here
Schedule Click Here (tentative schedule, subject to change)


Course Description

  • The official course description for the MATH 723/724 sequence:
  • Differential equations of the first order, linear systems of ordinary differential equations, elementary qualitative properties of nonlinear systems.
  • Prerequisites: C or better in MATH 344 or 544.
  • Subject Materials: We shall cover most of the material presented in Chapters 1-4, 6 and 7 of the textbook. Chapter 9 will be covered if time permits.
  • Learning Outcomes: Students who successfully complete Math 520 will be able to accomplish the following:
  • Students are also expected to master mathematical concepts and apply these concepts to solve problems of first order and higher order linear/nonlinear ODEs based upon the methods they learn from this class.


Online Lectures

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, online lectures will be offered via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. You can access the virtual classroom from the course page at Blackboard (Click "Online Lectures") at normal lecture time. A microphone is recommended for in-class communication. Lectures will be recorded for future access.
  • Office hours will also be offered via internet. A session has been created in the Blackboard system. Other than the regular office hours, appointment can be made via email.
  •  Download Notes for Online Lectures.

Homework and Quiz

  • Homework will be assigned after each lecture, see HERE for the assignments. We do not plan to collect homework. But you are supposed to do them all. Remember: the more problems you do, the better you understand the material. The homework is not pledged. You are encouraged to discuss the problems. However, each student is responsible for the final preparation of his/her own homework papers.
  • There will be approximately one quiz per week on Tuesday, in the beginning 15 minutes of the lecture. The quiz problems will be either the same as, or very similar to those from the homework. Thus, if a student has made a good attempt at the homework, he/she should do well on the quiz. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped from the final grade calculation.
  • We will use the blackboard system for the quiz. In the case when the online quiz system does not work well, the instructor can change the policy and collect homework instead.


  • There will be two 75 minutes take-home midterm exam. The dates will be announced later (at least 10 days before the exam is released). There will be a 150 minutes take-home cumulative final exam.
  • All exams are "closed book", with the exception of an one-page formula sheet that is handwritten and prepared by yourself.


  • Your grade are distributed as below:
  • Attendance » 5%
    Quiz » 25% (drop lowest)
    Midterm Exams » 20% each
    Final » 30%
  • You can monitor your grades via Blackboard.
  • The letter grade will be mapped by: 90+ A; 86+ B+; 80+ B; 76+ C+; 70+ C; 66+ D+; 60+ D; 60- F.

Contact Information

  • Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.


Course Syllabus

  • This is the tentative schedule which is subject to change.
     Th 08/20 1.1, 1.3 (1.1) 1,7,11,15 (1.3) 1,3,5,7,10,17
     T 08/25 1.1-1.2, 2.1 (1.2) 7 (2.1) 1,3,4,9,11
     Th 08/27 2.1-2.2 (2.1) 13,19(a),22,23 (2.2) 1,7
     T 09/01 2.2, 2.4 (2.2) 5,10,13,18,25(optional) (2.4) 1,9
     Th 09/03 2.3-2.4 (2.3) 10,11 (2.4) 3,7,11,17,19
     T 09/08 2.3, 2.5 (2.3) 5,7,20 (2.5) 7,9,16,17,23-25(optional)
     Th 09/10 2.6 (2.6) 1,3,5,7,9,11,14
     T 09/15 2.6-2.8 (2.6) 16,17(optional),19,21(optional) (2.Review) 1,5,9,13,17 
     Th 09/17 3.1-3.2 (3.2) 1,4,7,11,16,20,22 (Try more practice problems in 2.Review) 
     T 09/22 3.1, 3.3-3.4  
     Th 09/24 3.5  
     T 09/29 3.5-3.6  
     Th 10/01 Review  
     T 10/06 3.7-3.8  
     Th 10/08 4.1-4.2  
     T 10/13 4.3-4.4  
     Th 10/15 6.1  
     T 10/20 6.2  
     Th 10/22 6.3-6.4  
     T 10/27 6.5-6.6  
     Th 10/29 7.1-7.3  
     T 11/03 Election Day  
     Th 11/05 Review  
     T 11/10 7.4-7.5  
     Th 11/12 7.6-7.7  
     T 11/17 7.8-7.9  
     Th 11/19 9.1  
     T 11/24 9.2-9.3  
     Th 11/26 Thanksgiving  
     T 12/01 Review