I am teaching complex analysis for undergraduates using the textbook Complex Variables and Applications, Brown and Churchill. I am looking for resources that I can use to find good problems for homework sets and take-home exams.

The problems in this book are a poor choice for these assessments because there are complete solution manuals available online. I would appreciate any recommendations on where to find decent problems whose solutions are not readily available (or at least harder to find).

Thank you!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If you have access to a (physical) library, then you might want to look at old textbooks (say, 50 years old or older). These most likely don't have solution manuals online. $\endgroup$ – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 18 '20 at 2:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I've taught the course a few times, I've used Gamelin, Churchill, and before I realized how brutal the problems were, Freitag and Busam. I really like Saff and Snider's text. Anyway, you can see what I have here: supermath.info/Complex.html it might help. $\endgroup$ – James S. Cook Dec 18 '20 at 3:57
  • 11
    $\begingroup$ Your expectations are unrealistic. Students can post questions on chegg and usually get a full solution within about 60 minutes. For online exams during covid, the only solution I've found is to give many short 30-40 minute exams rather than a few longer exams. $\endgroup$ – Ben Crowell Dec 18 '20 at 14:09
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ At this point, any solutions manuals are likely to be on the internet. There are also solutions for many textbooks where the author has not provided a solutions manual. A general strategy that has worked well for me is to take exercises from a variety of other sources and rewrite the exercises in my own words. Simply changing variable and function names can be quite effective at disguising the origin of the problem so that it becomes difficult for students to find the original textbook and solution manual. You'll still want to monitor Chegg to see if your version of the problem comes up. $\endgroup$ – Brian Borchers Dec 18 '20 at 18:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @BenCrowell: I saw your advice on that elsewhere and considered it. Unfortunately, I tested it yesterday (discrete math question, multiple nested quantifiers, justifications required), and the turnaround time to a correct solution was only 10 minutes. (And separately, basically all of my final exam questions were posted and answered on Chegg within the course of the exam.) $\endgroup$ – Daniel R. Collins Dec 18 '20 at 21:34

To synthesize some of the remarks given in chat, you can look for very old (or very recent) texts in the hope that there are few or no solutions already available. However, with the rise of online services often providing quick answers to mathematics questions, this may be a lost cause. Effective ways of dealing with this problem might involve different approaches to assessment than the usual assignments and long exams. Ben Crowell suggests frequent short exams as a countermeasure. (Other countermeasures might include using heavily proctored environments or more individualized project-style assessment.)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Another option is to individuate test questions in some minimal way, such that violators posting to Chegg (e.g.) can be easily identified and sanctioned. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R. Collins Dec 29 '20 at 21:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.