Class Information for MS 541 - 001

Abstract Algebra I

Fall Semester 2016

Call Number:  


Class Time:  

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Class Days:  


Class Room:  

Ayers Hall 216

Final Exam:  

December 4 Monday 4:00 pm- 6:00 pm

Required Text Book:   A First Course in Abstract Algebra 7th Ed. by John B. Fraleigh
Published by Pearson
Copyright 2002
ISBN-10: 0201763907
ISBN-13: 9780201763904

Minimum prerequisites.

Prerequisites: MS 227 and 300 and 415.

Why you should not miss class?

Remember you are expected to attend all classes. Lectures or even parts of lectures cannot be repeated. You are responsible for all material covered in the class whether you are there or not. So it best to never miss a class. If you do miss it is your responsibility to make up the material.


It is departmental policy that you must attend 80% of all classes to receive credit for this class. To be counted present you must be here when the class starts and stay until the class is dismissed. If I am late to class, you must remain until I arrive. If you leave before I arrive, regardless of how late I am, you will be counted absent. If you must leave class early, you must get this approved by me at least one day in advance to be counted one-half present. If you know in advance that you are going to miss class, you must fill out an absence form and give it to me in advance, and I will let you know if it will be excused. You must fill out a form for each absence period. If you miss class for reasons not known in advance such as sudden illness, you must fill out a form and give it to me within one week of coming back to class, and I will let you know if the absence is excused.


There will be at one or two main tests which will count 50% of your grade. There will be an inclass grade of 5%. There will be a comprehensive final exam which will count 45% of your grade. You must take the final exam to pass this course. A makeup final can only be given if circumstances beyond your control cause you to miss the exam, and you must provide proof of your reason. Also if you miss the final you must let me know immediately, before grades are entered into the system. If circumstances beyond your control cause you to miss an hour test, the final exam will replace that test grade. Your final grade will be computed as follows: A 90-100; B 80-89.99; C 70-79.99; D 60-69.99; F 0-59.99


No electronic devices will be allowed on any inclass test.

On what is my grade based?

The grade you make on the tests is based on the knowledge you have of the material at the time of the tests. Therefore the grade you make in this course is based solely on the knowledge you have of the material. The grade is not based on how much homework you do, or how hard you have worked in the course. Clearly if someone already knew all the material in this course, they might make an A with no studying whatsoever. On the other hand, someone who took this course without the proper background might work extremely hard, and yet never be able to master enough of the material to even pass. Clearly, few if any will know all the material this course covers at the beginning. So each person has to work enough problems and study hard enough to actually master the material in order to do well in this course.

Taking Tests

It is each students responsibility during tests, to make sure they have brought all necessary items to the test. Students must bring paper and pencils, and may be required to bring other items such as calculators. Students who fail to bring the proper items, are still required to take the tests. However, failure to bring required items may mean the student will not be able to work certain problems on the test. As many classrooms have cramped seating arrangements, students are expected to do their best to keep their papers from being easily seen by others. This means covering their paper whenever possible. Talking to other students during tests is considered a form of cheating and disciplinary action may be taken. Students who leave the room during tests, without getting prior permission, may not be permitted to continue with their tests. During tests only the test (calculators and/or scratch paper if allowed) will be permitted on the desk. Failure to do so could result in a grade of zero being assigned. This means, in particular, that no books and no cell phones are ever allowed on the desk during tests.


Students taking this course must have the necessary prerequisites in mathematics in order to be successful in this course. Of course even the proper prerequisites are no guarantee of success unless the student does all of the assignments on a regular basis, getting help when needed. It is imperative that you keep up with all the homework assignments in this course. It is not possible to study only immediately before the test and do well. You are expected to learn all the material well which includes actually understanding the various procedures and ideas required to work the problems. Many believe that they can memorize how to work the problems without a complete understanding of the process involved in working the problems. While this might work if only a few types of problems had to be learned it will not work in this course as many types of problems have to be worked. It is impossible by merely memorizing certain problems to keep straight all the various problems one will encounter in this course. It is far easier in the long run to learn the reasons behind the steps involved in the solution of the problem. Learning the reasons allows one to work a variety of problems without having to memorize so much. Thus merely trying to memorize how to work the problems will not result in success in this course. When first encountering unfamiliar material and problems: First, learn to work the problem, if necessary, by memorizing the procedure and formulas required to work the problem. Second, try to understand why the procedure works. It is also necessary to work the problems more than once, especially if the problem was missed on the first attempt. A few days after an assignment, pick a few of the problems and rework them. If the problems are still not completely understood, repeat this procedure until they are fully understood. Learning mathematics is an up and down process. When you try to learn new material, at first it just might not make sense. You may have to look at example problems and try to work the new problems in a similar way. Even after you can work some or most of the problems the material may still seem somewhat confusing to you. It may (and probably will) happen that more new material will be assigned before you feel comfortable with the old material. You must try to work the new material even if some aspects of the previous work is unclear. Occasionally you must go back and rework some of the problems that were confusing to you. It should happen that as new material is attempted, some of the previous material that was confusing becomes clearer to you. It can and usually does happen that material that you thought you understood very well, may become somewhat confusing to you as new material is learned. This happens to everyone at some time or another. New material may seem to contradict things you thought you already knew well. Do not panic. Go back to the older material, and rework a few problems. Examine how the new material relates to the older material. Once you see how the new material and the older material are related, your understanding of the older material will be even greater than before. So what you thought you knew (up), may become confusing (down), but eventually becomes clearer (up). This is the up and down process in learning mathematics of which I was speaking. Remember this is not high school, you cannot be taught everything you need to know in the classroom. It is your responsibility to take the initiative to learn the material. Most of the material will have to be learned by you outside of the classroom, as classroom time is by necessity limited. Do not hesitate to ask questions in class, for this is how you can make the ideas and procedures make sense to you. In this way you can actually understand the material, and perform satisfactorily on tests. For each hour in class it will take most students with the proper background about two hours to do the homework. So it will take someone with a weak background even longer for each assignment.


It is entirely the students responsibility to keep up with all assignments. Being absent is no excuse for not turning in assignments, not being prepared for tests, etc. An assignment sheet giving the homework in advance for each day of the semester will not be given, as it can be very difficult to follow any such prearranged plan since every class is different. On some sections or chapters, I may do part of the material, and then later come back and do the remaining material. This allows the student to master the first part of the material, so that the remainder of the material will be more understandable. It is a known fact that it takes time for new or difficult material to be assimilated. Homework assignments are given daily in each class, so it is each students responsibility to keep up with the assignments. By having a somewhat flexible schedule, the opportunity is there to spend more time on assignments that are particularly difficult for the class. If you know in advance that you are going to miss class, check with me for the assignments. Students often ask why do homework when the homework is not turned in to the instructor. The reasons are quite simple. One works problems to learn the material. One learns the material to pass the tests. One passes the tests to pass the course. One passes the courses to graduate from college. One graduates from college to improve their career possibilities.

Missed Tests

The grade for all work missed for non-approved reasons will be a zero. Approved reasons such as school sponsored events must be approved in advance. Simply giving me your athletic schedule is not sufficient. If you must miss a test because of reasons known to you in advance you must fill out the Request for Missed Test Form and give it to me in advance. If you miss a test due to reasons not known in advance such as sudden illness you must fill out the Request for Missed Test Form and return it to me no later than one week after returning to class. After I receive your request for a missed test I will notify you as to my decision whether your reason is accepted. No more than one missed hour test will be allowed. Failure to return the Request for Missed Test Form to me on time will at the very least result in a lowering of your grade on that test. If the request for a missed test is approved, the final exam grade will be substituted for the test. Note that daily grades cannot be made up. If a makeup test is scheduled, and you miss that test, you must again have valid reasons for missing the makeup otherwise the makeup test score will be a zero.

Doing Poorly on Tests

If you do not do as well as you wished on a test you are urged to see me as soon as possible. Any student receiving a failing grade on any assignment or exam is strongly urged to discuss this matter with me as soon as possible.

Academic Policy

In a University community, true knowledge can be gained only through honest means. All academic dishonesty is expressly prohibited. This policy is applicable for campus and distance learning activities. Violations include BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, the following: A. The use of unauthorized materials or the receipt of unauthorized assistance during an examination or in the completion of any other assignment, exercise, experiment, or project for academic credit. Unauthorized materials may include, but are not limited to, notes, textbooks, previous examinations, exhibits, experiments, papers, or other supplementary items. B. Copying or utilizing information from a paper of another student during an examination. C. Rendering unauthorized assistance to another student by knowingly permitting him or her to copy an examination, project, paper, assignment, exhibit, exercise, or other material to be submitted for academic credit. D. Illegally obtaining or attempting to obtain unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination or test materials. E. Selling or giving to another student unauthorized copies of tests or examinations or research assignments. F. The use of a commercially prepared term paper or research project or the submission of a paper, project, or experiment completed by someone other than the student submitting any of the above for academic credit. G. Falsifying class attendance. H. Falsifying reasons why a student did not attend a required class or take a scheduled examination. I. Taking an examination in the place of another student. J. Making unauthorized change in any reported grade or on an official academic report form. K. Unauthorized collaboration between two students on an examination, paper, or project. L. Plagiarism, which is the deliberate act of copying, writing, or presenting as one's own the information, ideas, or phrasing of another person without proper acknowledgment of their true source. M. Making use of computing facilities in an academically dishonest manner. See Jacksonville State University Student Handbook.

Personal Electronic Communication Devices

All forms of personal electronic communication devices must be out of sight and in the power-off mode for class and testing periods. During a testing period in class, any use of a personal electronic communication device, without the prior consent of the instructor, constitutes prima-facie evidence of academic dishonesty with no right of grade appeal. If the instructor observes the device, the presumption is that cheating has occurred and a grade of "F" will be assigned for that exam, quiz, etc.

Conduct and Civility

All students will comply with the code of conduct and compliance with official requests as outlined in the Jacksonville State University Student Handbook. Disruptive behavior to the class or the instructor will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and can result in severe academic and criminal penalties. All cell phones must be turned off. If you must come into late class or leave class early you must do this as quietly as possible, or course coming late or leaving early may cause you to be counted absent.

Special Needs Students

Any individual who qualifies as determined by Disability Support Services (DSS) at JSU for reasonable accommodations under The Americans With Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 should contact me immediately. However it is entirely your responsibility that you arrange for such approved accommodations before each and every test. Failure to do so will not be considered a valid excuse to take a makeup test.

Getting Help

Remember you are expected to be in class. Lectures (even part of a lecture) cannot be repeated. If you have specific questions about problems, I will be glad to help. It is always best to make an appointment to see me as I am often busy.

Contacting Me

As it is more difficult and takes longer to respond to a phone message versus email, please do not call but email me. In your email, give the date, your name, the course I am teaching in which you are enrolled. Write the email without using incorrrect grammar, slang, abbreviations, etc. or I may not fully undstand what you are asking. It is your responsibility to make your request or question completely understandably to me.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of MS 451 - Functions of a Complex Variable, a student will be able to represent complex numbers algebraically and geometrically, Define and analyze limits and continuity for complex functions. Know how to apply the Cauchy-Riemann equations to determine whether a complex valued functions is analytic. Understand some the basic connections between being differentiable and having a Taylor series expansions. Be able to evaluate complex contour integrals. Know the Cauchy integral theorem and some of its basic consequences.

Web Page

You can get to my webpage by going directly to

Office Hours

I am usually in my office much of the week, check my door for precise office hours.