The latest version of my notes for the course is here.
Final Review: Padelford C-36 at 4p.m. on Wednesday August 20.
Textbook and Syllabus. The textbook is ``Linear Algebra with Applications'' by Jeffrey Holt. We will cover most of the material in the book. Approximate syllabus.
Important dates: The Midterm is on Friday July 18. You need a blue/green book and a scantron (the thing with the bubbles you fill in). You can buy a scantron sheet at U Bookstore and at the newstand near By George Cafe, and probably lots of other places. The Final is on Friday August 22 at the same time and place as our usual lecture. You will need a bubblesheet/scantron, and either a blue book or green book for the exams.
Office Hours: Wednesday 12:30-2:00 in Padelford C-436, and by appointment.
I often find office hours the most enjoyable part of the course. I get a chance to know you, you get a chance to know me. My job is to help you learn this material. You are often likely to feel lost and perhaps stupid. That is normal. I often feel lost and stupid when I am working in a new area of math. It is part of the process. But I can provide you with guidance and help. If I can stretch some medical metaphors (my wife is a physician), it is no good coming to see the doctor or start taking the medicine once the illness is terminal. Catch it in the early stages, at the first sign of a sneeze or ache, and the chances for recovery are good. (I am not as fearsome as I might appear---remember that I was once your age, feeling small on a big campus, and that I have experienced and continue to experience the struggles we all have as part of life. And, heck, the math struggles are among the smaller ones! So, why not practice saying ``I need help'' in the small safe arena of math.)
CLUE: This is an abbreviation for The Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment. CLUE is a free tutoring service for students. Along with drop-in tutoring, they also hold review sessions before exams, midterms, and final exams. In particular they will hold a pre-midterm review on Thursday, February 6, and a pre-final review on Sunday, March 16.
Other Resources. There is a wealth of material about linear algebra on the web. Two local sources that might be useful are Alexander Young's Online Course Notes and Jim Burke's weekly summaries of terminology and important concepts. Jim Burke used a different textbook to us so his section numbers do not match up with those in our book.
My Course Notes. I have taught Math 308 many times and have gradually assembled some notes for the course that give my own presentation of the material. My own notes might be useful to you. Sometimes one person's explnation will suit you better than another's. If you find typos in my notes I would be very happy to hear about them. If you have suggestions for improvement or would like me to explain a little more about some topic please let me know. Thanks!
Definitions. Definitions are the foundation on which mathematics is built. There are many definitions in this course. More than in any course you have previously had. If you don't know the definitions forwards, backwards, and sideways, you will certainly fail this course. Start learning them the first day of class. Build your own list of definitions. Review them regularly. One reason students find this course so difficult is that they don't make a real effort to understand the definitions. Or, they leave that affort too late. You must begin the first week of the course and constantly monitor yourself. You can monitor your progress by being honest with yourself when I write things on the board. If you don't understand a word I use, ask. There will be others in the class who don't understand it either. By asking you do everyone a favor. Even many of those who think they understand a definition don't.
The document definitions consists of my response to an email from a student who is asking whether he has the correct definitions for some of the terms that arise in Linear Algebra. Mostly the student is close but not close enough---all it takes to sink a boat is one hole, and the same holds for definitions: either it is correct or it is wrong. I always ask for a lot of definitions in my exams because they are so important. If you don't know the definitions you will surely fail this course.
Here is another note about definitions and comments on various errors made by students.
Set notation and language. We will use the basic language of sets and functions in this course so I have written some notes about what you need to know. You can take an online test to see how well you understand some of the ideas.
Grading. Your grade will be based on the homework, which will be done via webassign, the midterm, and the final. Your homework scores will contribute 10%, the midterm will contribute 20%, and the final will contribute 70%.
Pop Quizzes. There will be unannounced 10-15 minute quizzes every 1 or 2 weeks (depending on my energy level and free time). Here are some examples.
I encourage you to read the course notes thoroughly, also my notes on set-theoretic language and definitions. I always ask for a lot of definitions in my exams.
I want you to know what I want you to know. I want you to be able to answer the questions on these midterms. At least 75% of the questions on your midterm will be the same as those on previous midterms.
Final. Here is an old practice final. It is far longer than the real one will be, but you will get a sense of your abilities by trying it. And another old final and another and the Fall 2011 Final. I can not overemphasize the importance of going through the midterm with my answers and comments in detail. You should then try to retake the midterm under test conditions and see how well you do. I would not be surprised if you get close to 100%, if not on the first attempt, maybe on the second. You should do the same with the final.
Other important information. As you will see there are some multiple choice questions and some True/False questions. You will need a purple ``Standard Answer Sheet'', which you can buy at the bookstore in the Hub, or on the Ave, or at the Newsstand in the Hub, and at other places around campus. You will need a Number 2 Pencil to fill in the bubbles on the Answer Sheet. You must also put yuor section and your student ID number on it. Make sure you come to the exam knowing those things.