// Logistics

  • Professor: Dr. Laura Taalman, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Required Textbook: A Discrete Transition to Advanced Mathematics, any edition
  • Section 03 time and location: ThTh 11:00–12:15, Roop 105
  • Website:

// Course Description

MATH 245. Discrete Mathematics: 3 credits. Offered fall and spring.

Logic, set theory, relations and functions, mathematical induction and equivalent forms, recurrence relations, and counting techniques.

Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 236.

// Course Information

This course serves as an introduction to mathematical proof and communication, in the context of topics from discrete mathematics. Additional information and a daily calendar can be found at the class website. For official university syllabus information, see

// How will my grade be calculated?

  • 25% Effort Quizzes (from pre-class reading and homework)
  • 25% Written Homework (in groups, via LaTeX/Overleaf and printouts)
  • 25% Tests (there will be two exams, on Tuesday, Oct 2 and Tuesday, Nov 27)
  • 25% Final Exam (cumulative content from the entire semester)

I will use statistics and common sense to give you a letter grade for the course based on your numerical average. Please note that I do not use an arbitrary predetermined scale such as 90=A, 80=B, etc.

// What if I need to withdraw?

The last day you can drop a class without anything appearing on your transcript is the university Course Adjustment Drop/Add deadline of September 4. After that, you can drop a class and get a “W” on your transcript until the university Withdrawl deadline of October 25.

In extraordinary situations, grades of “WP” or “WF” can be given after the Withdrawl deadline, at the instructor’s discretion. In my classes “WP” grades can only be given if the student has the equivalent of a grade of  “C-” or better at the time of withdrawl. Please discuss your situation with your academic advisor before withdrawing from this or any class.

// Daily Attendance Policy

You do not need to notify me about missing regular class days. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to get notes and announcements from another classmate and by consulting the class website. If you miss class then you may miss participation opportunities, but it is normal and expected that most students will end up missing a couple of classes over the course of the semester, so missing only a couple of classes should not affect your grade if you stay on top of your work. If you will be absent for a prolonged period of time due to special circumstances, please let me know.

// Makeup Test Policy

In general, I do not give makeup tests, because it is difficult to ensure that test information remains confidential after the proctored test time. Arrangments can sometimes be made in extreme circumstances, especially if they are set up in advance. In most cases the arrangement will consist of having the other exams in the course count for more points. If you miss a test for any reason then you should contact me immediately; my sympathy with your plight will be directly related to how urgently and seriously you try to contact me.

// Technology Policy

Cell phones may not be used as calculators or clocks or in any capacity during quizzes and exams. Calculators, tablets, and/or computers are also not permitted during quizzes or exams.

In regular classes, during non-testing situations, limited use of cell phones for calculators, clocks, notifications, photos of the blackboard, etc is permitted. However, please do not use laptops or headphones in class as it can be highly distracting both for you and for those around you. If you must briefly use a phone, please do it in the open; don’t try to hide your phone in your lap because seriously everyone knows what you’re doing 🙂

// Inclement Weather Policy

Information concerning cancellation of classes due to inclement weather is available at, on the campus radio 1610 AM, or by calling (540) 433-5300.

// Statement of Compliance With Americans With Disabilities

JMU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandate reasonable accommodations be provided for students with documented disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodations, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate provision of accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Office of Disability Services, the designated office on campus to provide services for students with disabilities. The office is located in Wilson Hall, Room 107 and you may call 540-568-6705 for more information.

// Religious Accommodations

All members of the faculty are required to give reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students requesting them on grounds of religious observation. The faculty member determines what accommodations are appropriate for his/her course. Students should notify the faculty by no later than the end of the Drop-Add period the first week of the semester of potential scheduled absences and determine with the instructor if mutually acceptable alternative methods exist for completing the missed classroom time, lab or activity.

// The JMU Honor Code

I completely support and encourage working together in groups both during and outside of class. Having said that, I take the JMU Honor Code very seriously, and you should too. Any instances of suspected cheating or academic dishonesty will be referred to the JMU Honor Board for investigation. For more complete information, please consult the JMU Honor Code.

// Who am I?

Most students call me “Laura” but you can also call me “Dr. Taalman” or “Professor Taalman” or “Taalman” or even “hey, I have a question.” I prefer not to be addressed with gender-specific prefixes like “Mrs” or “Miss”.  You can see my academic website at

I’m married, have an 13-year-old son who just started high school here in Harrisonburg, and if I had more free time I would probably play Minecraft. When I’m not doing math I work in 3D printing and design. I started the JMU 3SPACE 3D printing classroom that is now in Carrier Library, and have worked or consulted for 3D printing companies like Ultimaker, Shapeways, and MakerBot. I’m known as “mathgrrl” on Thingiverse, where I have shared hundreds of my 3D-printable designs for free. If you want to know more about how to get started with 3D printing or design, feel free to ask me anytime!

// Who are you?

I have aphantasia, which among other things makes it difficult for me to recognize people, especially when they are out of context — for example, if you switch seats in class, come to my office hours, or run into me at the grocery store. In class, I might ask that everyone use nametags at their seats and/or write their names next to their work when they use the whiteboards, and I’ll probably ask you what your name is many times before I get it right.

Please do not be insulted if it takes me a long time to be able to recognize you or remember your name. When you see me outside of the classroom, just remind me of your name and what class you are in, or maybe what we were talking about the last time we met. Once I place you I will remember you and everything that we talked about, and the fact that I look confused at first does not mean that I don’t care about you!

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you this semester!  🙂