Description:  A differential equation is an equation that relates a function to one or more of its derivatives.

  • The above rather boring description does little to convey just how fundamental, widespread, and amazingly effective differential equations are in describing the world around us.

  • Examples: Anything in motion.  Also, many things that are not in motion.  Also, many additional things to which the word “motion” does not really apply.

  • Further examples:  spaceships in orbit, populations growing and shrinking, a cup of coffee slowly cooling, springs bouncing, financial markets rising and falling, electrical current flowing through a circuit, ocean waves, sound waves, light waves, vibrations in musical instruments and airplane wings and suspension bridges,

  • More examples: Pretty much everything.

Topics include methods of solving ordinary differential equations and applications to various problems.

Course and Section:  Math 2680 Differential Equations, Section D672
Class Meets: T/Th 10:00am — 11:15am, N618
Book:  Elementary Differential Equations, William F. Trench, Edition 1.01.
This book is available for free download at:
Office:   Namm N707
Office Hours:  T/Th 11:15am — 12:15am
Email:   jreitz (at)

OpenLab:  The class website will be on the OpenLab ( The site contains important information about the course, and will be used in various ways throughout the semester.  The address for the class website is:

WeBWorK:  Some of the homework for this class will be completed on the WeBWorK website.  You will be provided with more information in the first week of class.  The address is:

Grading (percent / letter grade correspondence):

A = 93.0 — 100
A- = 90.0 — 92.9
B+ = 87.0 — 89.9
B = 83.0 — 86.9
B- = 80.0 — 82.9
C+ = 77.0 — 79.9
C = 70.0 — 76.9
D = 60.0 — 69.9
F = 0 — 59.9
W = withdrawal up to 4/19/17 (NOTE: Withdrawal after 4/19/17 will result in a WF grade, equivalent to an F)

Grading (how your grade is calculated):

Homework (25%): Each week you will be assigned problems to complete on the WeBWorK (online homework) system.  Problems for the week will usually be due the following Tuesday at midnight.  Over the course of the semester, you will only need to complete 80% of the assigned problems to earn the required points. Any additional points earned will count as bonus credit (50% value of required points).

OpenLab participation (15%): You will be participating in the OpenLab (website) by posting and making comments in response to assigned readings, homework problems, and so on. Your first assignment is to register for the OpenLab and join this class (go to the course website for instructions). Further assignments will be posted on the OpenLab, approximately every 2 weeks.

In-Class Exams (35%): There will be 3 exams during the semester (not including the final).  No makeup exams will be given.  If you miss an exam for a valid reason, your final exam score will take the place of the missing exam.

Final Exam (25%): A final exam is given on the last day of class covering all topics. The final exam must be taken to pass the course.


Attendance:  Absence is permitted only with a valid reason. Anything in excess of 10% of the total number of class meetings is considered excessive absence (more than 3 absences).

Lateness:  Two latenesses count as one absence.

Records: Records should be kept by every student of all grades received, exam papers, other work completed and any absences.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Classify differential equations.

  2. Solve first and second order ordinary differential equations using various techniques.

  3. Use numerical methods to approximate solutions, when appropriate.

  4. Apply methods of solving differential equations to answer questions about various systems (such as mechanical and electrical).


Gen Ed Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Gather, interpret, evaluate, and apply information discerningly from a variety of sources.

  2. Understand and employ both quantitative and qualitative analysis to solve problems.

  3. Employ scientific reasoning and logical thinking.

  4. Communicate effectively.

Academic Integrity: The New York City College of Technology Policy on Academic Integrity: Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found on p. 64 of the catalog.