MAT 310:  Linear Algebra (3 hours credit)

Syllabus, Spring 2011

Dr. Christine Leverenz, Science Center 102A, 8097


Course Description: A theoretical study of systems of linear equations and vector spaces.  Topics include matrix algebra, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, determinants, and linear programming.  Prerequisite: MAT225 and 301.


Textbook:  Kolman, Bernard.  Elementary Linear Algebra, 8th edition, (New Jersey:  Prentice Hall, 2004)


Learning Goals:  1. To learn the basic content of linear algebra (as demonstrated by tests.)  2.  To learn to read quantitative material, interpret it correctly, and apply what has been read (as demonstrated by homework and tests.)  3. To communicate precisely and effectively in proofs and on the annotated glossary project.  4.  To perform basic modeling using linear algebra and to interpret the results in terms of the problem (as demonstrated by homework.)


Requirements of the course:

1.  Daily work:  Homework will be assigned for every class and conveyed via Moodle.  Some problems will be explained by class members at the board and all problems will be submitted for grading.  More details about homework are given at the end of this syllabus.  Use of any sources other than the text, your class notes, group work among class members, and yourself is illegal.  Other assignments will be made as necessary; most quizzes will be announced.  Daily work assignments cannot be made up; allowance will be made for legitimate absence from class.  All work must be submitted by the author. 


2.  Annotated Glossary:  A special part of your homework is a glossary of terms/concepts and your explanation of the steps in solving problems related to those terms/concepts.  They are intended to be useful study notes for tests, the final, and for your comprehensive exams.  For each term/concept assigned you will include an “official” definition, a short paragraph explaining what it means in your own words using as few mathematical symbols as possible, an example of the term/concept and a non-example of the term/concept.  (A non-example is an example that someone might think fits the definition but that violates one or more conditions.)  Briefly explain why the non-example is not correct.  If it is appropriate, include a diagram.  The last requirement is to include a word description of how to solve a significant problem based on the term/concept and to cite a major theorem about the term/concept. 


The glossary must be typed.  It will be graded on presentation as well as mathematical accuracy, so write in complete sentences and use organized paragraphs.  Drawings can be made using Paint or Geometer’s Sketchpad or a graphing program.  Corrections may be made; the final piece will give an additional grade that is equivalent to a test grade.


The purpose of the glossary is to help understanding of the concepts and thus it must be completed individually.  Discussion of the ideas among class members is always allowed but actual phrasing must be personal. 


3.  Tests:  Three hourly tests will be given during class.  The final exam is comprehensive.  If you can't take an hourly test you must get word to me before the test is given.  The makeup will usually consist of that portion of the final exam covering the missed material. 


Course Outline:  We will cover most of chapters 1 – 7 in the book and some linear programming, a major area of application.


Evaluation:  The grading scale is 92 – 100% A, 87 – 92% A-/B+, 82 – 87% B, 77 – 82% B-/C+, 70 – 77% C, 60 – 70% D.  Daily work counts 20% of the final grade; hourly tests count 15% each, the glossary counts 15% of the final grade; the final exam counts 20% of the final grade.  Borderline grade decisions are based on work ethic, class participation, and attendance.


Attendance:  Class attendance is required, no allowance in grades will be made for cuts.  If illness, college business, or some other legitimate excuse prevents you from attending it is up to you to inform me of this.  You are expected to be prepared for class on the day that you return.  At the end of the semester, any student with poor attendance and/or work ethic who is on a grade borderline will receive the lower grade.  If you miss class, I expect that you are prepared on the day you return.


Office hours:  I have regularly scheduled office hours (see Moodle) dedicated to helping students with math problems.  If you call my office and I don’t answer please leave a message; when speaking with someone in my office I don’t answer the phone.  I will also be happy to meet at other times if we arrange it ahead of time.  If you have cut class for an unexcused reason, do not come to my office for help on that material since it is not fair to the rest of the class to give one-on-one special teaching to those who do not see fit to attend class.




1.  Homework is collected daily and is due 1 hour after the end of class; you are expected to have most of the homework completed before class begins; students doing homework during class after its discussion will earn a 0 for that day.  If you have a class immediately following this one and ask me for extra time, it will almost always be given.  Homework must be submitted by the author.


2.  You are expected to read the text and make sense of the proofs and examples given there.  To this end, some homework problems will be based on material from the textbook that is not explicitly covered in class. 


3.  Homework assignments will be posted on Moodle.


4.  Homework OK’s                                                              Homework No-no’s

    Any paper including straggly edges.                                  Multiple columns on one page.                                  

    Pen or pencil                                                                       No work or reasoning.

    Problems out of order.                                                        Cramped papers – leave space between problems.

    Continued problems (with directions of where to look.)

    Cross outs.


5.  If you want my feedback on homework you must leave me room to write – about 5 lines for a longer problem.  If I don’t have room to write I won’t make legible comments on how to correct a problem or on how well you did.


6.  It is fine for students to collaborate on homework as long as it is true collaboration – that is everyone is contributing equally to the solution.  All such collaboration on homework must be acknowledged, eg: I worked with or received help from (Source Name) on this problem. Such acknowledgments will not count against the paper.  Allowing people to copy your work and/or copying someone else's work is not ethical behavior and will be penalized when discovered. See the Student Handbook for the penalties associated with cheating. 


7.  I will grade almost every proof and generally 1 or 2 calculation problems.  Proofs are generally worth 5 points and calculation problems are worth 3 points.  The point totals for a day’s homework will vary.


8.  You will do corrections on problems that I indicate.  Corrections must be written on separate paper and submitted with the original paper.  You should try to submit corrections with the next assignment or sooner.  I will not record the score on an assignment until the corrections have been completed.  I add at least 0.5 x correction points to the paper’s grade.