Course title: Linear Algebra for
Scientists and Engineers
Mathematics Department Course Page for Math 461
Lecture times TuTh 12:30 -- 1:45
Lecture location: Room 0131, the Armory
Section meetings: Mondays:
Section 0111, Math 0306, 8:00-9:15,
TA Fei Xue
Section 0112, Math 0307, 8:00-9:15,
TA Nicholas Long
Section 0121, Math 0303, 10:00-11:15,
TA Fei Xue
Section 0131, Math 0409, 11:00-12:15,
TA Nicholas Long
Section 0132, Math 11:00-12:15, TA Ryan Janicki
Section 0141, Math 3:30-4:45, TA Ryan Janicki
Office: Room 4413, Math Building
MATH 141 and a course for which MATH 141 is a prerequisite.
Coursemail. I'll use the University's coursemail
system to email the class. You are responsible for getting them.
You can click
here and follow instructions to update your
email address with the University.
If you find you aren't getting my emails despite
then email me your email address.
Keep your wam/umd account below-quota
so your email won't bounce.
Linear Algebra and its Applications, by David Lay, 3rd edition, and
Study Guide, for this text, Third Edition Update ISBN 0-321-28066-0
[The study guide is bundled with the text in the new copies
available at the bookstores. If you buy used, you should
the (inexpensive) study guide separately.]
We will cover most of Chapters 1-7 in the text, with a small amount
of supplementary material in class. See our
schedule of work for
The weighting in your course score points (700 possible) will be
(The actual scores for MATLAB and quizzes will be normalized
to the totals above.)
- 200 Final Exam
- 300 Midterm exams (three of them)
- 100 Online quizzes
- 100 MATLAB homework
MATLAB. The first MATLAB assignment will be
due on Monday Feb. 13. For a tutorial, see e.g. the introduction by
Prof. Cooper on the math department
course page for MATH 461. MATLAB can be bought individually
(student version is cheaper). MATLAB is available in various labs
around the campus (see the math department's
Resources links). You can also use MATLAB remotely on your wam account.
After logging in, type TAP MATLAB (you won't be able to use graphics
remotely but we won't use graphics in MATH 461).
Here is the correspondence of course grade and percentage
of possible points scored: A 90-100%, B 80-89%, C 70-79%, D 60-69%.
F 0-59%. It is possible that the curve
will be relaxed, but it won't be
In order to not get a zero on a missed exam, 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, contact me in advance.
On-line grades. We will use webct for the online
quizzes and otherwise we'll use the online gradesheet
provided by the mathematics department.
Expectations/philosophy. You are expected to
come to class, do the homework, and most important of all be
actively engaged in trying to understand. Two tips:
The major difference between MATH 461 and MATH 240 is that
you must be considerably more self-sufficient in MATH 461.
- Don't fall behind. (Make a regular schedule of work.)
- Make friends. Help each other. (On homework, it's usually
best to try alone first.)
(Follow the 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.
Teaching assistants and section meetings.
You have a section meeting each Monday with your TA.
Generally, this will be
your opportunity to ask questions
about homework, or anything in the course
you don't understand, or anything involving linear algebra
you might be curious about. We do not plan to collect homework--
BUT! --exams will reward those who
do and understand the homework.
We'll use WebCT to administer online open-book quizzes.
For these, use your account on the University's
"Student Resources" at this site
offers some help with WebCT.
The schedule of lectures will show the tentative dates
each quiz is available and will identify the text section on which
the quiz is based. Generally, a quiz will become available after
a lecture and "close" before the next lecture or section meeting.
Taking a quiz.
Each quiz is open book, but
once you start a quiz, you'll have twenty minutes
to complete it. So, read the appropriate section(s) before
starting the quiz.
Most quizzes will consist of true/false questions or
multiple choice questions that ask you to decide whether a certain
statement is always true, sometimes true, or never true.
If your internet connection fails, sign on again immediately
in order to complete the quiz within the 20 minutes.
After you read each question, select an answer and "save" it. You may change an answer and resave it at any time until you press Finish. After that, press Display Results. WebCT will grade your quiz and display the results, with comments about each question.
Honor System. The quizzes are conducted on the honor system.
No two students will have exactly the same quiz, but the questions
will be similar and cover the same basic material. You should have
your book open for reference, but you must not communicate with any other
person about the quiz while taking the quiz. Also, you should not
look at any other student's quiz before taking your own quiz.
Getting Started. To help you learn the quiz system, you may take each of the first two quizzes two times each, with only the higher scores counted. In addition, you should take a survey before the second lecture (Sept. 5). In WebCT, click the "Quiz and Survey" button. At the top of the list of quizzes, click on "Survey 1". It has the same format as a quiz and counts as a quiz, but it is anonymous. There will be two other surveys later in the course.
Grading. Each quiz and survey counts 5 points. (The points for a
survey will be added manually about one week later to the student
A few quizzes may have a bonus question that allows a possible score of 6
points. Makeup quizzes will not be given, but the two lowest quiz
will be dropped from the final "quiz" total. These two drops are
intended to cover all legitimate difficulties and excuses.
[In all previous linear
algebra courses, the quiz grades have been somewhat higher than the
averages of the hour exams.]