Professor: |
Alex Kasman
kasmana@cofc.edu | ||

Office: |
336 Robert Scott Small Building, 843-953-8018 | ||

Office Hours: |
T 3-4, W 10-11, F 1-2
Please visit me in my office during these times. If you need to see me and cannot come during these times, just contact me by phone or e-mail and I will find an alternative time to meet with you. (I am often in my office anyway, so you can just drop by if you want.)
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Textbook: |
The required text for the class is Linear Algebra
and its Applications by David C. Lay (Fourth Edition). It
should be available in the bookstore. Please let me know if you have
any problems obtaining the book. Unlike some other math classes you
may have taken, in this class you really will want to read each
section in the book as we cover it in class.
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Material to be Covered: | At
the beginning of the course, we will mostly be learning the
algebra of matrices and the applications of these techniques for
solving linear systems of equations. However, this is a somewhat
misleading start as the theory that has grown out of these
beginnings is much deeper, more interesting, and more useful than
you might think based only on this material from Chapters 1-3. In
particular, in Chapters 3-6 we will encounter vector
spaces, dimension, linear operators, eigenvalues and
eigenvectors, and orthogonality. These concepts, though
very abstract, have turned out to be of fundamental importance in
engineering, physics, and any subject in which mathematics has
applications. The highlight of the class will be the
least-squares method, which combines many of these abstract ideas
towards a very practical purpose: finding the best
approximate solution to an unsolvable problem. | ||

Class Website: |
Although this syllabus can be found online at http://kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATH203/, the official class website will be the OAKS page. Students registered for the class can access that page by logging in at lms.cofc.edu. | ||

Handouts: | I will prepare a "handout" for each lecture reviewing the key ideas and assigning homework problems. They will be made available on the class OAKS website. | ||

Graded Work: | Your grade in this class will be
based on: tests, homework, group projects and the final exam.
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Course Grade: |
Your grade in the class will be determined entirely by your scores on
the graded assignments listed above. However, there are two different
possible schemes. I will compute your grade both ways and
choose whichever one is higher. The first scheme counts all of
the tests almost equally. The other grading scheme drops the lowest test grade but counts the
final exam very heavily.
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"Make-up" policy: | The policy in this class is that there is no way to make up a missed test, project or exam. If you miss a test, that test counts as your "lowest score" and is dropped. If you have a valid excuse for missing a group project, that also will be dropped so that it does not count against you, but you will not have an opportunity to make it up. | ||

Letter Grades: |
Unlike some other instructors who announce in advance which numerical scores correspond to letter grades of A, B+, and so on, I will be announcing the letter grade correspondences as I return the assignments. It is expected that the average grade in the class will be a B-, that the top scores in the class will receive grades of A, and that the grades near the bottom will be Ds and Fs. However, if I am convinced that a class performed especially well or poorly on an assignment, I my occasionally vary from this policy.. | ||

Course Learning Outcomes: | Students who successfully complete this class will be
able to perform many computations: multiplying matrices, solving
a linear system of equations, finding a determinant, determining
whether a given set of vectors is linearly independent, finding
eigenvalues and eigenvectors, performing diagonalization and
Gram-Schmidt procedures, and finally the Least-Squares method.
However, there are two non-computational goals that are more
interesting (and for most students, also more challenging).
Students will learn to write simple proofs, demonstrating
that the validity of an equation follows from logical
principles and definitions. Moreover, students will answer
questions that demonstrate an understanding of the
concepts of a vector space and a linear operator.
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Undergraduate Mathematics Program Student Learning Outcomes: | Students are expected to display a thorough understanding of the topics covered. In particular, upon completion of the course, students will be able to
- Using algebra, geometry, calculus and other track-appropriate sub-disciplines of mathematics, students model phenomena in mathematical terms.
- Using algebra, geometry, calculus and other track-appropriate sub-disciplines of mathematics, students derive correct answers to challenging questions by applying the models from Learning Outcome 1.
- Write complete, grammatically and logically correct arguments to prove their conclusions.
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Online Resources: | I hope that I am the first resource you go to for help. There are several reasons for that, including (a) unlike the book or videos, I can change my behavior as I learn what you do and don't understand and (b) I am the one who writes the tests in this class, and so my viewpoints, biases and notations are the ones you need to learn. However, if you are seeking extra sources of information, you may want to visit these sites:
(If you know of other sites that would be helpful to your classmates, let me know and I'll add them here.)
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Calculators: | Although the use of calculators
will not be strongly emphasized, you will find it useful to have a
calculator which can do some computation with matrices. We
strongly recommend the Texas Instruments calculators for this purpose.
Although calculators can be used on homework assignments and group
projects, the three exams and the final exam will be calculator-free.
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Honor Code: | There are lots of reasons you should want to avoid cheating in this class. The Honor Code, of course, prohibits you from cheating. In addition, you face a threat of punishment in the form of failure and expulsion from the College if you are caught cheating. Finally, most people would not be happy remembering that they cheated because of what it reveals about their own integrity and because it damages the reputation and quality of this entire institution.
Fine, but sometimes it is not clear what is and what isnâ€™t cheating. That is why I am providing a document to help clarify the rules for graded assignments. Please read the document "Is It Cheating?" on the OAKS page under Content. |