Math 304-03: Linear Algebra

Course Information

Instructor: Tom Zaslavsky
Office: LN-2231
Office phone: Ext. 2201

Office Hours (no appointment needed at these times):

MWF: 2:20-3:20
MW: 11:00-12:00
Or, make an appointment.

Classroom: S2-145.
Class time: MWF 3:30-5:00.

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David Lay, Linear Algebra and its Applications. 2nd edition, 1997. We will do all chapters, although not every section.

Grading System

Your grade will be based on your test total, quiz and homework grades, attendance, and class participation. There will be 3 tests and a final exam. There may be quizzes (not necessarily announced in advance) but not the first week. There will be about 600 course points. Your grade will be based on your point total.

Tests: Mondays 12/22, 3/29, 4/26: 100 points each
Final Exam: 150 points
for handing in: 40 points
for quality of work: 40 points
Quizzes, class work: up to 70 points


We meet 3 days a week: MWF 3:30-5:00. Attendance is required; I expect you to be on time and stay for the whole class, or I may mark you absent. Attendance at the last class before a holiday and on the day after a test will count double. You are allowed up to 4 absences for the whole semester, excused or not (but not counting the first week); absences beyond that will affect your grade. If you have an emergency, get in touch with me as soon as possible.

Tests and Quizzes

You are responsible for everything covered in class and for all assigned readings and problems. No graphing or matrix calculators or laptops are allowed at tests. No makeup tests will normally be allowed, but I will use my discretion. If you miss a test be prepared to document the reason. No early finals under any circumstances. If you have a question about any grade, you must see me before the next test.

Homework Policy

There will be a lot of HW. That's because practice is how you learn. Don't fall behind: you'll get lost. We move fast. You should be spending at least 12 hours a week on homework. Any less is too little for you to learn the material of the course.

I will answer questions about HW in class, probably every day. Some homework will be collected (with advance notice) and graded. Part of your homework credit will be for handing in the assignments, part of it will be for the correctness of the assignment. That means you'll get points even if all your work is wrong. However, it does have to be neat and legible (I do not accept rough copies), have each problem on a separate page, and show that you made an effort to solve the problems.

Answers matter but not very much. What's important is how you solve the problem. There are answers in the back of the book, but don't use them. If you don't know what to do, or you don't know how to tell whether your answer is correct, come see me -- that's why I have office hours!

Write out complete solutions to each problem. Show all the details in every step, no matter how tired you get of it. You'll learn better by being careful and complete in your solutions, even if you skip some problems to make time for it. When you write a solution, use complete sentences, not just a word or two, to explain what you're doing.

Solution manuals may make you feel good but they are a recipe for failure. When you don't know what to do, come see me. If you worry that asking a question will show how little you know, don't worry; I'll find out anyhow, on the test if not sooner. Better for you to ask first!

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