Instructor Contact and General Information

Instructor: Luís Finotti
Office: Ayres Hall 251
Phone: 974-1321 (don't leave messages! --e-mail me if I don't answer!)
Office Hours: MW 11am to 12pm or by appointment (via Zoom).
Textbook: None. Notes will suffice.
Prerequisite: None.
Class Meeting Time: M 1:00-1:50 via Zoom. (Section 023.)
Exams: None.
Grade: Pass/Fail based on HWs (at least 60% average) and class participation.
Attendance required!

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Course Description and Information

Course Content

The main goal of this course is to provide the necessary mathematical tools for you to understand finances, more precisely, investments and loans. As such, we will begin with exponential and logarithms, which play the central roles in this context. We will start those from the beginning, even though most students should be familiar with them. But we will try to do it in the most natural way, and hopefully offer a new perspective on them.

When we have mastered exponentials and logs, we will start with finances. The central topic is, of course, compound interest. We will deal with many very concrete examples of loans and investments. In particular, you will learn how to make a savings plan, and predict future values, giving you the ability to understand and take control of your financial situation/future.

If time allows, we will also deviate into (mathematically) related topics, such as radioactive decay and carbon dating.

Since this course will happen only once a week, it is very important that you take a quick look over the notes before class, so that you don't forget all that was done in the previous week.


Homework Policy

We will have three Homework assignments. Homework I is about exponents, Homework II is about logarithms and Homework III is about finances. The first two are quick and simple!

The HW will be done in Canvas. You will see them as "Assignments", and you will enter your answers directly there.

You can start working on the HW as soon as you want by looking at the PDF versions, but the assignment might only appear in Canvas when I finish the topics necessary to do the whole assignment. At that point you will have about one week to finish the assignment. (You might have more time for the last assignment.)

An average of 60% is necessary to pass the course.

I will likely go over the solutions on the beginning of the class, so I can't accept late HWs, unless we've discussed it beforehand or you have a documented excuse.

Note that attendance is required! Every students can miss up to two classes without justification. For more than two you will need a properly documented reason.


Communications and E-Mail Policy

You are required to set up notifications for Canvas to be sent to you immediately. Check this page and/or this video on how to set your notifications. Set notifications for Announcements to "right away"! (Basically: click on the Account button on the top left, then click "Notifications". Click on the check mark ("notify me right away") for Announcements.)

Moreover, I may send e-mails with important information directly to you. I will use the e-mail given to me by the registrar and set up automatically in Canvas. (If that is not your preferred address, please make sure to forward your university e-mail to it!)

Both (notifications from Canvas and e-mails) are official communications for this course and it's your responsibility to check them often!


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Using Zoom

Our classes and office hours will all be through Zoom. (See the links in Syllabus on Canvas.)

If you are new to Zoom, please familiarize yourself with Zoom. At the very least, read the Getting Started and Best Practices for Participants pages from OIT. See also Remote It: Just for Students.

Please login to your account and test the microphone and camera before class.

I will be online on Zoom at around 12:50pm on our first day (08/19) in case you want to login early and check if everything is working, but the actual class starts at 1:00pm as usual.


The classes will be live, so you should plan to be "present" during those meetings. On the other hand, the classes will be recorded and posted on Canvas for later viewing or in case you had to miss it.

Instead of writing on the board, I will go over prepared notes. Depending on the lecture, these might be available on Canvas ahead of time, so you can download them and see them in your own computer. Revised notes might be posted (also in Canvas) if we found any mistakes or problems.

For questions you asked during lectures (for which I don't have prepared notes), I will type an answer live (using LaTeX). I am not very fast at all typing, so this might be a bit slow. I will type just enough that, together with my explanations, all can follow. After class I will edit this document (to make it more readable) and post it as a PDF in Canvas for future reference.

The notes, videos, and PDF for questions can be found in Canvas by (after selecting our course) clicking on "Pages" on the left panel and then on the link for the date's lecture.

Office Hours

Office Hours will also be via Zoom.

Note that office hours will not be recorded! You can record it yourself if you want to or request me to do it, but I will not do it by default (unlike our lectures).

Remember that our office hours are MW (not Fridays) from 11 to 12. I should be logged in Zoom during those times, but keep in mind I may walk away for a bit if no one is there. I should not be away for long, so you can wait a little. If you don't see me, feel free to turn on your microphone and ask for me. (In case I don't notice anyone has shown up.) But please be a little patient if I don't respond, as I should be back soon.

Also, I might be in a breakout room with another student. If a student has a private question, I will likely move them to a breakout room to answer their questions. In that case, if you join our office hours, you will not see me yet. Again, please just be patient and I will help you as soon as I can.

Although not necessary in principle, if you let me know you will come to office hours (and at what time exactly), I can make sure to not be away at that time.

Also, I can take appointments for office hours at different times if necessary. In that case, please write me to make an appointment, but use the same Zoom link as for regular office hours.

Keep in mind that these office hours are shared with another course I'm teaching.

During Lectures

Here are some notes about how we will handle the lectures:


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Legal Issues


All students should be familiar with Hilltopics' Students Code of Conduct and maintain their Academic Integrity: from Hilltopics Academics:

Academic Integrity

Study, preparation, and presentation should involve at all times the student’s own work, unless it has been clearly specified that work is to be a team effort. Academic honesty requires that the student present their own work in all academic projects, including tests, papers, homework, and class presentation. When incorporating the work of other scholars and writers into a project, the student must accurately cite the source of that work. For additional information see the applicable catalog or the UT Libraries site. See also Honor Statement (below).

All students should follow the Honor Statement (also from Hilltopics Academics):

Honor Statement

"An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the university, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity."

You should also be familiar with the Classroom Behavior Expectations.

We are in a honor system in this course!



Students with disabilities that need special accommodations should contact the Student Disability Services and bring me the appropriate letter/forms.


Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

For Sexual Harassment and Discrimination information, please visit the Office of Equity and Diversity.


Campus Syllabus

Please, see also the Campus Syllabus.


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