Mathematics Department Calculator Policy

Students in Walla Walla University Mathematics classes are expected to have access to a calculator when completing homework exercises, and may also be allowed to use calculators on quizzes and examinations. The department maintains a supply of scientific calculators which are available to student use on quizzes and examinations only. Pease pay attention to the following recommendations when choosing a calculator to use in mathematics courses at Walla Walla University.


Courses Before Calculus I (MATH 181)

Courses below the level of calculus focus on both concepts and basic mathematical skills. A simple scientific calculator is all that is needed for these courses. Because the emphasis is on basic skills the use of a graphics or programmable calculator may be considered inappropriate. As you make plans to use a calculator in one of these courses, please note the following:

  • Simple scientific calculators may be used in daily work unless otherwise noted by your instructor.
  • Your instructor may choose to prohibit calculators on quizzes or exams, or may choose to distribute calculators owned by the mathematics department (Casio FX-260 or similar). Graphing and programmable calculators will most likely not be allowed.
  • Calculators that facilitate communication between students or between students and any remote site will never be permitted during quizzes or exams. In particular, calculators that connect to the Internet can not be used during any quiz or examination.


Calculus Courses (MATH 181,281,282, and 283)

Our calculus course is a course about concepts --- a course in which students explore the important traditional ideas of calculus such as the limit, derivative, and integral. Students learn to discuss the concepts of calculus and to solve problems illustrating those concepts. In addition to solving problems correctly, we encourage students to give clear and logical presentations showing the details of their work.

Calculators and computers are important tools for calculus students. In addition to shortening the solution process for certain calculus problems, they can also be used to illustrate concepts. Your calculus teacher will give in-class demonstrations of the use of computers and calculators in calculus, and exercises requiring computers and calculators will be included in homework assignments.

Computers are readily available in a number of locations on campus, but if you wish to use a graphing calculator, you will need to supply your own. The Department of Mathematics recommends the Texas Instruments TI-89 calculator or an equivalent calculator.

As you make plans to use a calculator in a calculus course, please note the following:

  • Classroom demonstrations will illustrate the use of the TI-89, and students should expect less support from the teacher for other calculators.
  • Calculators may be used in daily work. On quizzes and examinations, your instructor may allow you to use the TI-89 or equivalent, may choose to have you use the departmental scientific calculators (Casio FX-260), or may choose to disallow all calculators.
  • Calculators that facilitate communication between students or between students and any remote site will never be permitted during any quiz, test, or examination. In particular, calculators that connect to the Internet can not be used on any quiz, test, or examination.


Courses after Calculus IV (MATH 283)

Many of our more advanced courses focus primarily on theory, and calculators are not ordinarily useful in these courses. Courses in this category include abstract algebra, advanced calculus, complex analysis, and geometry.

The TI-89 or any roughly equivalent calculator is suitable for use in our linear algebra course and in applied courses such as differential equations, statistics, and numerical analysis. In addition to calculators, Maple computer software is also used in these courses.

As you make plans to use a calculator in class, please note the following:

  • If classroom demonstrations are given, they will illustrate the use of the TI-89 calculator or Maple software. Students should expect less support from the teacher for other calculators or software packages.
  • Calculators may be used in daily work. On quizzes and examinations, your instructor may allow you to use the TI-89 or equivalent, may choose to have you use the departmental scientific calculators (Casio FX-260), or may choose to disallow all calculators.
  • Calculators that facilitate communication between students or between students and any remote site will not be permitted on any quiz, test, or examination. In particular, calculators that connect to the Internet can not be used on any quiz, test, or examination.