Math 461     Spring 2006
Course Description

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

Professor: Mike Boyle
Office: Room 4413, Math Building
Phone: 301-405-5135

Prerequisites. 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 this, then email me your email address. Keep your wam/umd account below-quota so your email won't bounce.

Required text: 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.]

Syllabus. 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 detailed information.

Grading. 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.)

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 Computer 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).

Course Grades. 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 made tougher.

Conflicts. 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.

Academic integrity. (Follow the link.)

Religious observances. 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.

Disabilities. 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.

Online quizzes. We'll use WebCT to administer online open-book quizzes. For these, use your account on the University's WebCT page, "Student Resources" at this site offers some help with WebCT.

Schedule. 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 quiz grades.) 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 grades 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.]