Course Guidelines Math
290B
Dr. R. Beezer Spring
2007
Text We will be using A First Course in Linear Algebra, (Version 1.20) by Robert A. Beezer as our textbook. We will be doing a masspurchase as a class in the first couple of days. Electronic copies of the textbook can be found at the book’s website (linear.ups.edu). These will be updated weekly, usually on Wednesday evenings, but Version 1.20 will be the canonical text for the entire semester. The Bookstore also has a highly recommended optional text: The Nuts and Bolts of Proofs by Antonella Cupillari (Third Edition). The course WWW page has some recommendations for similar books about proof techniques.
Home Page Start at http://buzzard.ups.edu/courses.html to locate the WWW page for this course.
Office Hours My office is in Thompson 309A; the telephone number is 879–3564. Making appointments or simple, nonmathematical questions can be handled via electronic mail — my address is beezer@ups.edu. Office Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings. Normally I arrive oncampus at about 8:00 AM, and on Tuesdays I have a 9:30 AM construction meeting. If I am not in my office, and atlarge in Thompson/Harned, I’ll leave a note with my cellphone number. You are also welcome to drop by my office in the afternoon. Office hours are your opportunity to receive extra help or clarification on material from class, or to discuss any other aspect of the course. We will have “group office hours” roughly every two weeks, on Monday afternoons, midway between examinations. Exact time and location will be announced in class. In the past, students have found these extra sessions extremely valuable.
Calculators This course requires the use of a calculator. It should be capable of doing matrix operations — specifically “reduced row echelon form,” “determinants” and “eigenvalues and eigenvectors.” I am most familar with the Texas Instruments series. If you no longer have a manual for your calculator, there is a good chance you can locate one on the Internet. You may also opt to use the program Mathematica on a laptop computer during exams. Limitedtime student copies of Mathematica are available at good prices — see the course web page for links.
Being unfamiliar with your calculator, using an insufficient model, forgetting to install fresh batteries, or forgetting your calculator all together are not excuses for poor performance on examinations. In particular, I have seen students have trouble making the TI83 perform all the functions required for this course.
Homework There is a fairly complete collection of exercises in the text. Any (or all) of the problems will be good practice as you learn this material. Many of these problems have complete solutions in the text to further aid your understanding. Of course, you are not limited to working just these problems. None of these problems will be collected, but instead they will form the basis for the classes where we will have problem sessions and for discussions in office hours. It is your responsibility to be certain that you are learning from these exercises. The best ways to do this are to work the problems diligently as we work through the sections (see attached schedule) and to participate in the classroom discussions. If you are unsure about a problem, then a visit to my office is in order. Making a consistent effort outside of the classroom is the easiest way to do well in this course.
Mathematics not only demands straight thinking, it grants the student the satisfaction
of knowing when he [or she] is thinking straight.
— D. Jackson
Mathematics is not a spectator sport.
— Anonymous
I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand.
— Chinese Proverb
An education is not received. It is achieved.
— Anonymous
Quizzes There will be seven 50minute timed quizzes — they are all listed on the tentative schedule. The lowest of your seven quiz scores will be dropped. The comprehensive final exam will be given on Friday, December 21 at 2PM. The final exam cannot be given at any other time and also be aware that I may allow you to work longer on the final exam than just the twohour scheduled block of time. In other words, plan your travel arrangements accordingly. As a study aid, I have posted copies of old quizzes on the course web site. These are offered with no guarantees, since techniques, approaches, emphases and even notation will change slightly or radically from semester to semester. Some of the solutions contain mistakes, and some of the problem statments have typos. In other words, they are not officially part of this semester’s course. In particular I do not advocate working old exams as a primary, or exclusive, technique for learning the material in this course. Use at your own risk: they have not been reviewed for minor mistakes or inconsistencies with this semester’s course.
Writing This course has been designated as part of the University’s Writing in the Major requirement. Thus, there will be two days of discussion about the peculiarities of writing mathematics, and there will be two written assignments. These assignments will be discussed further in class, see the attached schedule for due dates. These assignments will not be accepted late.
Reading Questions Each section of the textbook contains reading questions at the end. Once you have read the section prior to our inclass discussion, submit your responses to the reading questions via electronic mail as follows. Do not send your responses to my regular email address (beezer@ups.edu), but instead use the address linearb@beezer.privacyport.com. Your responses are due at 6 AM of the day prior to the day we discuss the section in class, and will not be accepted late, i.e. 6 PM is a firm deadline. Use a subject that is only the acronym for the section. So for example, your first response will be simply titled: WILA. Do not include anything else in the subject line. In the first line of your response, please put your real name, then answer the questions in order. If you are not getting replies from me within 24 hours of submission, something is amiss and we will need to figure out where your responses are going. In particular, notice that the email address does not include the word “report.” If a question asks for a computation, you can just give the numerical answer, no need to show your work in the email. If the question requests a yes/no answer, or asks “Why?” then give an explanation. Do your best with mathematical notation, but do not fret if it is a bit sloppy or weird, I can usually decipher any reasonable attempt. Please send only straight text — no attachments, no Word files, no graphics, no HTML if you can help it. Please pay careful attention to these procedures and deadlines.
Grades Grades will be based on the following breakdown: Quizzes — 60%; Reading Questions — 10%; Writing — 10%; Final — 20%. Attendance and improvement will be considered for borderline grades. Scores will be posted on the Internet at http://buzzard.ups.edu/courses.html. A reminder about withdrawals — a Withdrawal Passing grade (W) can only be given during the third through sixth weeks of the semester, after that time (barring unusual circumstances), the appropriate grade is a Withdrawal Failing (WF), even if your work has been of passing quality. See the attached schedule for the last day to drop with an automatic ‘W’ and please read Academic Handbook at http://www.ups.edu/x4727.xml#withdrawal about these often misunderstood grades.
Attendance Daily attendance is required, expected, and overall a pretty good idea.
Purpose This course is much different from most any mathematics course you have had recently, in particular it is much different than calculus courses. We will begin with a simple idea — a linear function — and build up an impressive, beautiful, abstract theory. We will begin computationally, but soon shift to concentrating on theorems and their proofs. By the end of the course you will be at ease reading and understanding complicated proofs. You will also be very good at writing routine proofs and will have begun the process of learning how to create complicated proofs yourself. You will see this material applied in subsequent courses in mathematics, computer science, chemistry, physics, economics and other disciplines (though we will not have much time for applications this semester). You will gain a “mathematical maturity” that will be helpful as you pursue upperdivision coursework and in any logical, rational, or argumentative activity you might engage in throughout your lifetime. It is not easy material, but your attention and hard work will be amply repaid with an indepth knowledge of some very interesting and fundamental ideas, in addition to beginning to learn to think like a mathematician.
Monday  Tuesday  Thursday  Friday  
Sep 3
Labor Day  Sep 4
Section WILA  Sep 6
Section SSLE  Sep 7
Section RREF 

Sep 10
Section TSS Group Office Hours  Sep 11
Section HSE  Sep 13
Section NM  Sep 14
Problem Session 

Sep 17
Quiz SLE  Sep 18
Section VO  Sep 20
Section LC  Sep 21
Section SS 

Sep 24
Section LI Group Office Hours  Sep 25
Section LDS  Sep 27
Section O  Sep 28
No class 

Oct 1
Problem Session  Oct 2
Quiz V  Oct 4
Section MO  Oct 5
Section MM 

Oct 8
Section MISLE Group Office Hours  Oct 9
Section MINM  Oct 11
Section CRS  Oct 12
Section FS 

Oct 15
Problem Session Last day to drop  Oct 16
Quiz M  Oct 18
Section VS  Oct 19
Writing Discussion 

Monday  Tuesday  Thursday  Friday  
Oct 22
Fall Break  Oct 23
Fall Break  Oct 25
Section S  Oct 26
Section LISS 

Oct 29
Section B Group Office Hours  Oct 30
Section D  Nov 1
Section PD  Nov 2
Problem Session 

Nov 5
Quiz VS  Nov 6
Section DM  Nov 8
Section PDM Writing #1 Due  Nov 9
Section EE 

Nov 12
Section PEE Group Office Hours  Nov 13
Section SD  Nov 15
Writing Discussion  Nov 16
Problem Session 

Nov 19
Quiz D&E  Nov 20
Section LT  Nov 22
Thanksgiving  Nov 23
Thanksgiving 

Nov 26
Section ILT Group Office Hours  Nov 27
Section SLT  Nov 29
Section IVLT  Nov 30
Problem Session 

Dec 3
Quiz LT  Dec 4
Section VR  Dec 6
Section MR Writing #2 Due  Dec 7
Section CB 

Dec 10
Problem Session  Dec 11
Quiz R  