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Math 311, Spring 2018

Math 311 syllabus and assignments

Math 311 syllabus

Course information

Meeting times: T,Th from 12:00–1:15pm
Meeting place: MB 124
Textbook: Venema, Foundations of geometry, 2nd edition
Web site:
My email:
My office: MB 237-A
Office hours: Monday 2–3pm, Thursday 2–3pm, and by appointment

Course topics

In this course we will begin by studying axiomatic systems and proofs. We will then proceed to introduce and explore several standard axioms for geometry known as neutral geometry. We will develop many familiar theorems of geometry from these axioms alone. We will then explore an additional axiom called the parallel postulate. We will first assume the parallel postulate is true and explore Euclidean geometry. We will finally assume the parallel postulate is false and explore hyperbolic geometry. If there is extra time at the end of the semester, we will cover additional topics according to student vote.

Rough plan


Tentative exam dates

Daily prep, group work, quizzes

Reading and group work problems will be assigned prior to each class. You are expected to arrive prepared to ask questions and discuss the material, as well as with ideas about how to approach the group work problems. During our class you will collaborate with your group to solve and write up these problems. These problems may be collected and evaluated periodically. A substantial discretionary portion of your grade will be based on your preparation, attendance, collaboration, and solutions to these problems.

On some class days I will give an individual quiz instead of group work. These will be announced in advance. The quizzes are not worth more than the group work, and are good practice for exams.


Homework problems will be assigned for each class day, and will be turned in the following Tuesday. All work well be evaluated for completeness, and certain items will be evaluated for correcteness and mathematical style. You are encouraged to collaborate with your peers inside and outside of class, and you are free to use online resources when you are stuck. But please keep in mind that you must always fully understand your solutions and most importantly write them in your own words.