Linear Algebra, MATH 330, Spring 2020

This is the home page and first day handout for MATH 330, meeting MW from 1:00pm -- 2:15pm in BEH 109.  My name is Dr. Arthur Baragar, my office is CDC 1016, and I can be reached at 895-0378. Important information announced in class will also be posted on WebCampus. The prerequisite for this course is MATH 182 (Calculus II).

Syllabus: There are many facets of linear algebra. In this course, we will focus on diagonalizing matrices.  To do so, we will have to learn about matrices and why we use them, how to solve systems of linear equations, how to take determinants, how to invert matrices, how to identify uninvertible matrices and find their null space, and how to change bases.  We will also learn about general vector spaces, linear transformations, and some applications of linear algebra.  We will cover most of Chapters 1 – 8.  

Text:  Howard Anton, Elementary Linear Algebra. Officially (?), the 12th edition, which has Anton Kaul as a coauthor, but the 10th and 12th editions are pretty much the same. As a budget alternative, I suggest the 10th edition. (The 11th edition is probably ok, but I don't have a copy. Note that there is also an applications version with a subtitle, which is not what we are using.) Additional resources are posted on WebCampus.

Grading Scheme: This is the grading scheme for this course:

  • Homework: 10%.
  • Quizzes: 10%.
  • Exam one, Monday, February 24th: 17%.
  • Exam two, Monday, March 30th: 17%.  
  • Exam three, Wednesday, April 29th: 16%.
  • Final, Monday, May 11th, 1:00pm -- 3:00pm: 30%.

There is no preset correlation between numerical grades and letter grades.  A letter grade (without + or -), a report card, if you like, will be posted on WebCampus after every exam. Quizzes will be conducted during the recitation sessions. Please keep your homework in a notebook or binder and bring it with you to the recitation sessions. Keoni (our GA) will inspect them during those sessions (probably during quizzes).

Office Hours: If you need to see me, please look for me during the office hours posted below, or please make an appointment. Office hours begin the second week of classes.

  • Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 am – noon,
  • Tuesdays, 10:00am 11:00 am,
  • ... or by appointment.

Breakout sessions: There are two breakout sessions conducted by Keoni Castellano on Fridays, 8:30am 9:45am, in CBC C212; and 2:30pm -- 3:45pm in CBC C212. Keoni will inspect the homework and conduct the quizzes; he can be reached at castek1@unlv.nevada.edu; his office is CDC 724; and his office hours are:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 pm 4:00 pm,
  • Wednesdays, 10:00 am noon.

Other Important Dates:  (See the UNLV calendar for more details.)

  • January 19th: Instruction begins.
  • February 15th: Presidents' Day (Monday).
  • March 16th -- March 22nd: Spring Recess. 
  • April 2nd: Last day to change to audit or withdraw.

University required announcements:

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Auditing Classes: Auditing a course allows a student to continue attending the lectures and/or laboratories and discussion sessions associated with the course, but the student will not earn a grade for any component of the course. Students who audit a course receive the same educational experience as students taking the course for a grade, but will be excused from exams, assessments, and other evaluative measures that serve the primary purpose of assigning a grade.

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Incomplete Grades: The grade of “I” (Incomplete) may be granted when a student has satisfactorily completed three-fourths of course work for that semester/session, but cannot complete the last part of the course for reason(s) beyond the student’s control and acceptable to the instructor, and the instructor believes that the student can finish the course without repeating it. For undergraduate courses, the incomplete work must be made up before the end of the following regular semester. Graduate students receiving “I” grades in 500-, 600-, or 700-level courses have up to one calendar year to complete the work, at the discretion of the instructor. If course requirements are not completed within the period indicated, a grade of “F” will be recorded, and the student’s GPA will be adjusted accordingly. Students who are fulfilling an Incomplete grade do not register for the course, but make individual arrangements with the instructor who assigned the “I” grade.

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Learning outcomes: This is required by the University, but is way down here because I do not believe including it adds any value to the first day hand out. The lazy way of including learning outcomes is to add action verbs to the syllabus. So, "The student will learn how to diagonalize matrices..." etc. Feel free to pencil in your own action verbs above. Another favorite: "The student will learn how to think critically and analytically." But learning outcomes should not be about my expectations. They should be about yours. In a famous reply to a question raised by a student: "Do not ask what I will cover, ask yourself what you will discover." (Sorry, I don't remember who said that.)

The point is, what you learn is up to you. I, like any of your professors, am just a guide. To overwork an old cliche, I am guiding you up a mountain. You can choose to stare at your feet the whole way up, and when you get back down, proudly wear the T-shirt "I made it up Mount Linear Algebra." Or you can choose to look around and take in the beauty of this subject. Opt for an education, not just a degree.


UNLV Home Page * Arthur Baragar's Home Page
URL: https://faculty.unlv.edu/baragar/courses/MATH330s2020.html
e-mail: baragar@unlv.nevada.edu