MATH 240 Linear Algebra

Dr. Michele Intermont - Fall, 2019

Office: OU 203B Phone 337-7107 e-mail:
warm ups:    

Hours: Monday: 10:45--11:45 am
  Tuesday: 1:00--2:00 pm
  Wednesday: 2:45--3:45 pm
  Friday: 9:00--10:00 am
  And many days by appointment
Students are encouraged to take advantage of office hours as well as to ask questions in class. With office hours "by appointment'', there is no excuse to stay confused about something!!

Text: Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction by David Poole 4th edition by Erica Dominic K'13

Goals and Content: Linear Algebra is concerned with solving systems of linear equations. We will begin by working with vector spaces of real numbers, and will move into working with abstract vector spaces as the course progresses. The language of matrices will encode our work for much of the time. Practically speaking, we will study much of Chapters 1-4 and Chapter 6 of the text (not in order!) with additional sections as time permits. Reading for each class will be posted on the course webpage.

In addition to the content goals, this course is meant to provide opportunities to become acquainted with the notions of abstraction and proof writing. It is the first course in the mathematics curriculum, usually, in which these two aspects of mathematics have a visible role.

Assessment: This course has several different forms of assessment:
  Homework practicing the skills we are trying to develop
  Exams putting together the concepts we have been learning
  Class Engagement engaging in our on-going conversation, including announced quizzes and project

Homework: 15% Homework is an integral part of the course. Some warm up problems will be assigned and due for the next class period (5%). The honest attempt of these problems is what is expected of you, and questions encountered in doing this work will inform our on-going class discussion. Some turn in problems (10%) will be assigned daily and collected weekly, due Wednesdays at the beginning of class. Selected problems will be graded on a scale of 0 to 2. To receive full credit on a problem, the solution must be provided in a well-organized, readable form, and in complete detail; answers alone are not sufficient. You are permitted, and in fact encouraged, to work together on homework. Working together, however, does not include writing up solutions together or copying solutions.

Grace Days: To allow for illness and excused absences, everyone will be allowed two grace days for turn in homework assignments for the quarter. This means that you will be allowed to turn in to me a single (ie, weekly) assignment up to two days late, or two (weekly) assignments each up to one day late. Weekends do not count towards the two days, but non-class weekdays do count. After you have used your allotment of grace days, late assignments will not be graded.

Exams: 60% total There will be two exams during the course of the term and a comprehensive final exam, each contributing 20% to the final grade. The first exam will occur Wednesday of Week 4, and the second on Wednesday of Week 8. The final exam, as scheduled by the Registrar, will be Sunday, November 24, 3:30-6 pm.

Take note that while exams are meant to indicate how well you have mastered the material, mastery of a subject requires more than being able to solve problems as they appear in standard homework sets. This means that while you can expect that many test questions will be similar to homework questions, you'll need to first recognize that similarity. In order to ace an exam, you shouldn't be surprised to need to demonstrate knowledge of the theory beyond what most homework questions require, for example, by incorporating more than one concept or calculation in a single problem,

Class Engagement 25% Total There will be a short quiz most Fridays throughout the term. Make up quizzes will only be given for excused absences - that means a special school-sponsored activity. The lowest quiz grade will be dropped. (10% of class engagement grade.)

Class engagement includes being in class, asking questions in class, answering questions in class, being attentive in class etc AND leaving your cell phone out of sight and out of hearing. It also includes being prepared for class by doing the reading ahead of class time.(5% of class engagement grade.)

Late in the quarter, there will be a project on some application of linear algebra. Done in small groups, this will culminate in a short paper and a class presentation, both of which will be done as a group and due sometime in the last two weeks of the quarter. (10% of class engagement grade.)

A Few Notes: Attendance in class is strongly encouraged. Our class time should be a time for active learning: having read a portion of the text and worked on a few warm up problems, class is a time to ask questions and to clarify concepts as well as to conjecture and together develop a cohesive view of the material. That's a lot! Of course, not every day will see every piece of this, but we will strive to make our time together more active learning than passive learning.

The dates for exams are given above; you are expected to be present in class for them. Note that the final exam is scheduled by the Registrar not the instructor. All travel arrangements for the end of the quarter should be made accordingly.

As a student at Kalamazoo College, you have pledged to uphold the Honor Code. This includes reporting to me any dishonorable behavior you witness involving this class, as well as not engaging in such behavior yourself. As faculty at Kalamazoo College, it is my responsibility to be diligent about limiting opportunities for dishonest behavior. This will include limiting movement during exams. Any assignment found to have been submitted in violation of the honor code will receive an automatic F.

A Few More Notes: Get engaged in our work! Many things look easier when you watch someone else do them; but to develop skills for ourselves, most of us need to practice. This includes math! Also, visit the Math/Physics Center! Located in OU 205, this evening drop-in center is staffed with people who love to talk about math and can also provide a great place to meet up with classmates. There's always candy! The MPC operates Sun-Thurs, 8-11pm.