Math 240 Spring 2013
Our course webpage is
On that page, you will find homework problems,
updates, handouts, MATLAB assignments
and other information.
Not all of this will be ready on the first day of class.
You are responsible for reading the information
on that page, and for reading my email to you sent through
UMD coursemail. There is a site for updating your email with UMD if
needed, http://www.testudo.umd.edu/apps/saddr . Some items below
indicate links; these will be on the course page and you
are responsible for knowing this information.
Professor: Mike Boyle, 4413 Math, 301-405-5135,
Lecture meetings: MWF 10:00-10:50 in ARM 0126
Linear algebra is absolutely fundamental for further mathematics
and its applications. We will cover all basic concepts such as
vector spaces, matrices, linear transformations,
eigenvalues, determinants and quadratic forms.
This is a subject of
great practicality in which a certain higher level of mathematical
abstraction also appears.
Text: Linear Algebra
and its Applications, by David C. Lay, 4th Edition (ISBN 0-201-70970-8).
If you own the 3rd edition, I (reluctantly) recommend you buy the
4th anyway. You can sell the 4th at the end of the semester and
get some of your money back.
There are many altered homework problems between the two editions.
Apart from a few supplements from me, and MATLAB
work, the reading and homework
will be from this book (most of Chapters 1-7).
There is a day by day schedule of work on the course page.
Calculators will not be permitted on
quizzes or exams.
Course Grading. You will have a course score
out of 700 possible points. The score floors for A,B,C,D are
615, 530, 445, 360. Points for the course score are below.
The curve will not be made more harsh; it might or might not be
- 100 points Quizzes
- 100 points MATLAB
- 300 points 3 Semester Exams (100 pts each)
- 200 points Final Exam (Cumulative)
As a general rule, appeals on the grading of graded work
must be made within a week of the return of the graded work.
Homework: Homework is
posted on the course webpage.
Homework from the textbook will not be collected and graded.
BUT!: you should still regard the homework as required
Learning linear algebra without doing homework is like learning
to play the piano by watching someone else play. It doesn't work.
Quizzes in sections will usually be from assigned homework
(perhaps with slight modification).
Also, exam problems will be heavily influenced by homework.
Please be responsible for your learning,
and do the homework. Past TAs for MATH 240 told me their
students' grades were well correlated with whether they did the
Read Lay's book!
Lay is an incredibly meticulous writer who tries to make the
subject as easy as possible. If you read the text and handouts,
you can prosper in 240 without the lecture -- but the lecture
without reading isn't enough.
I will use coursemail to email the class. You are responsible for
reading this email, and making sure you receive it.
If you aren't getting the email, perhaps you need to
update your official email address.
It may take a little while for the update to go through.
You can send me an email address directly to add to my course
list, if necessary.
Academic integrity in this class
(Follow this link . )
If your religion dictates that you cannot take an exam or
hand in assigned work on a particular date, then contact
me at the beginning of the semester to discuss
alternatives. You are responsible for making these
arrangements at the beginning of the semester.
If you have some disability related to testing under the usual timed,
in-class conditions, you may contact the office of Disabled Students
Services (DSS) in Shoemaker. If they assess you as meriting private
conditions and/or extra time, then you may arrange to take your tests
at DSS, with extra time as they indicate. You must arrange this well in
advance of a test (in particular: no retakes). Click to
Disability Support Services for further information.
Exam conflicts. In order to not get a zero on a
missed exam (this is a ``major graded event''),
you need a reasonable, documented excuse. Inform me as
soon as possible of a conflict. In particular, if you know before an
exam that you have a schedule conflict, you are responsible for
contacting me in advance -- well in advance if it is possible.
Final exam conflict Many math final exams are scheduled
in the math uniform final exam period. The department rule is that
a student with a conflict is given an alternate final in the
lower numbered course. We will have many cases of this (since
240 < 241 and 240 < 246) and will have a signup sheet for the alternate final
(given Sunday May 12 1:30-3:30) early in the semester.
There will be roughly
one quiz per week in your TuTh section.
The detailed choices will be left to your TA.
Quiz questions will be essentially from the homework,
perhaps with slight changes such as numbers. This could
be from yesterday's lecture or a lecture or two before.
A section meeting (apart from a quiz) may involve your
asking your TA questions, such as homework questions.
(Then, questions concerning material of the lecture the day before will
have priority, to encourage you to keep up.)
Your TA may choose on some days other activities, such as
small group work.
Everyone will have good reasons for missing some of the many quizzes.
That is addressed as follows:
I'll drop the lowest two quiz scores. If you have legitimate
reasons for missing MORE than two quizzes, talk to me and/or
email me about it.
Click here for the
MATLAB information and resources.
Expectations/philosophy. You are expected to
come to class, do the homework, and most important of all be
actively engaged in trying to understand. I am just a coach.
The work and learning goes on in you.
Suggestions for success.
- Don't fall behind. Make a regular schedule of work.
- Make friends. Help each other.
- Do the homework. You learn by doing, not watching.
- It is important to ``understand''.
It is harder in the beginning to work to the point of
understanding, but over time, it makes everything easier.
- Do sample and TESTBANK exams for practice before tests.