Linear Algebra (Math 208)
Syllabus - Spring 2020

Computational mathematics is mainly based on two ideas: Taylor series, and linear algebra.
-- Nick Trefethen

Sections MWF 8:00-8:50, DSC 116
Communication Office Hours: posted online, or by appointment
Announcements may be made via e-mail and the class web page:
Textbook Linear Algebra, Cherney et al,
A First Course in Linear Algebra, v. 3.5, Beezer
and other online sources
Technology You will need to use software to complete assignments.
  • Bring a scientific calculator to class and tests.
  • We will use Octave, Sage, Wolfram Alpha, Desmos, etc.
    Demonstrations and instructions will be given.
Description Math 208 is an introduction to the basic concepts of linear algebra. We will focus on concrete notational, geometric, and computational understanding. The sequel course (Math 414) will develop more formal and abstract theory.
  • Topics include: linear systems, vector and matrix algebra, complex numbers, vector spaces, determinants, eigenvalues, and applications
  • Student Learning Outcomes - upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to:
    • Solve linear systems in terms of matrices and vectors.
    • Be able to perform computations involving vectors and matrices.
    • Visualize vector geometry and linear transformations in Euclidean space.
    • Understand and interpret matrix algebra and basic factorizations.
    • Recognize applications of linear algebra, and represent problems as such.
Prerequisites Precalculus
Graded Assignments
Mid-term Tests
Final Exam
Guaranteed grades are A, B, C, D for 90, 80, 70, 60 respectively.
Homework Homework assignments (either custom problems as PDF, or from your textbook) will be posted on the course website. Unless otherwise specified, I will not collect or grade these problems, but you are strongly encouraged to discipline yourself to work them as deliberate practice.
  • Organize your homework so that it can be conveniently reviewed for a completion grade. Be neat and orderly, showing all work.
  • Quick homework questions may be asked in class, but come by office hours for more extensive help.
  • Doing, and understanding, your HW is the best way to prepare yourself for the tests. Math is not a spectator sport.
Graded Assignments
  • There will be four mid-term tests. Tentative test dates are:
    • Fri, Jan 31
    • Fri, Feb 21
    • Fri, Mar 20
    • Fri, Apr 10
  • No unauthorized resources may be used on the tests/exam.
  • If you must miss a test for a valid reason (college sponsored event, documented illness, or professor approved excuse), then you must notify the instructor as soon as possible. Makeup tests must be taken before the following class period. Your final exam grade may be substituted for the missed test if no convenient makeup time is available. The validity of an excuse is at the instructor's discretion. You must notify the professor before missing a scheduled test. Unexcused missed tests will be recorded with a grade of zero.
Final Exam The final exam is comprehensive. Consult the college exam schedule for date and time.
Academic Integrity