Professor: Jeff Blanchard, Noyce 2516, 269-3304, email prefix: blanchaj
Text: Linear Algebra by Joseph R. Mileti. (Available in Pioneerweb.)
The course is an introduction to the computational and conceptual aspects of linear algebra with an emphasis on mathematical language, notation, and proof. The course also has supplementary learning goals regarding problem solving skills, interacting with technical and quantitative material, and working with peers. The learning goals for this course are:
- develop proficiency in computational and conceptual aspects of linear algebra: solving linear systems, vector spaces, subspaces, dimension, linear independence, spans, linear transformations, determinants, and eigenvalues/eigenvectors;
- develop proficiency with proper interpretation and use of mathematical language with an emphasis on quantifiers, connectives, and definitions;
- develop proficiency with proper interpretation and use of common mathematical notation involving sets and functions;
- develop facility for and understanding of the logic of mathematical arguments, different methods of proof, and how to construct proofs;
- improve mathematical, technical, and quantitative reading ability;
- improve mathematical, technical, and quantitative communication;
- improve skills required for working with a diverse group of individuals.
This class will meet approximately three hours per week. To accomplish the course learning goals students should expect to spend at least nine additional hours per week completing assignments and studying course material.
There will be regular (daily) homework, due at the beginning of class each day. Homework will be posted on Pioneerweb after each class. A subset of the problems will be graded. Late homework will not be accepted.
There will be two types of graded homework assignments: Problem Sets and Writing Assignments.
In addition to the graded homework, students should read the textbook associated with the class schedule. The reading should be completed prior to the associated class period.
- Problem Sets will be due on most Mondays and Fridays. They will contain a mixture of computational exercises, explanations, and short proofs.
- Writing Assignments will be due on most Wednesdays, and will also be posted to the course webpage. These problems are more theoretical, and will require significant explanation. Your solutions should consist of careful arguments written in complete sentences (augmented by mathematical symbolism where appropriate). A major goal of these problems is to teach the fundamentals of mathematical language and mathematical inferences, along with proper use of terminology and notation. As a result, they will be graded at a high standard involving much more than getting the "correct answer". Take the time to write and revise these as you would in a paper in other courses.
A significant course goal is developing the skills to work in a group toward a mutual comprehension of the material. Students will be randomly assigned a daily partner. Please read the note on partnerships.
Seating assignments will be updated at 5:03 pm the evening prior to each class period. Bookmark the following page and refresh the page to see your seat assignment prior to each class session.
There will be three in-class, midterm exams tentatively scheduled for:
These midterm exams will test the material covered since the previous exam.
- Monday, February 20;
- Friday, March 17;
- Wednesday, April 26.
The final exam is three hours and will be comprehensive. Do not make arrangements to leave campus prior to the final exam. Such situations will result in the loss of a letter grade on the final exam. The final exam is scheduled for:
- Section 01: Wednesday, May 17, 2:00 pm;
- Section 02: Friday, May 19, 2:00 pm.
All students must be aware of and comply with the Grinnell College Academic Honesty policy.
In this course students may collaborate on homework assignments provided they submit their own work and identify their collaborators. It is acceptable to collborate with any student currently enrolled in any of the three sections of MAT 215. Any resource (other textbooks or online) must be cited. It is expressly forbidden to look for solutions online, in textbooks, or from other students. It is also an academic honesty violation to solicit assistance from any online forum.
All midterm exams and the final exam are closed notes, closed book, and the student may not consult any resource not provided with the exam.
Absences permitted by the college (athletics, performance, religious observation, etc.) must be coordinated prior to the class period in order to make arrangements for the missed homework or exams. This coordination must be done in person prior to the absence.
If you are in need of specific learning accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. If you have not already done so, you will need to provide documentation to the Coordinator for Disability Resources, Autumn Wilke, located on the 3rd floor of the Rosenfield Center (x3702) and discuss your needs with her.
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