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; 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:

Academic Misconduct: Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the Campus community; we all share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility, and professionalism. By choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Student Academic Misconduct Policy, and are encouraged to always take the ethical path whenever faced with choices. Students enrolling at UNLV assume the obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV’s educational mission. An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another person, from the Internet or any other source without proper citation of the sources. See the Student Conduct Code,

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.

Classroom Conduct: Students have a responsibility to conduct themselves in class and in the libraries in ways that do not interfere with the rights of other students to learn or of instructors to teach. Use of electronic devices such as pagers, cellular phones, or recording devices, or potentially disruptive devices or activities, are only permitted with the prior explicit consent of the instructor. The instructor may rescind permission at any time during the class. If a student does not comply with established requirements or obstructs the functioning of the class, the instructor may initiate an administrative drop of the student from the course.

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Final Examinations: The University requires that final exams given at the end of a course occur on the date and at the time specified in the Final Exam schedule. The general schedule is typically available at the start of the semester, and the classroom locations are available approximately one month before the end of the semester. See the Final Exam Schedule,

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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.

Library Resources: Librarians are available to consult with students on research needs, including developing research topics, finding information, and evaluating sources. To make an appointment with a subject expert for this class, please visit the Libraries’ Research Consultation website: You can also ask the library staff questions via chat and text message at:
Missed Classwork: Any student missing class, quizzes, examinations, or any other class or laboratory work because of observance of religious holidays will be given an opportunity during that semester to make up the missed work. The make-up opportunity will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor within the first 14 calendar days of the course for Fall and Spring courses (except for modular courses), or within the first 7 calendar days of the course for Summer and modular courses, of their intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess.  For additional information, please visit the Policy for Missed Work, under Registration Policies, on the Academic Policies webpage, In accordance with the policy approved by the Faculty Senate regarding missed class time and assignments, students who represent UNLV in any official extracurricular activity will also have the opportunity to make up assignments, provided that the student provides official written notification to the instructor no less than one week prior to the missed class(es).The spirit and intent of the policy for missed classwork is to offer fair and equitable assessment opportunities to all students, including those representing the University in extracurricular activities. Instructors should consider, for example, that in courses which offer a “Drop one” option for the lowest assignment, quiz, or exam, assigning the student a grade of zero for an excused absence for extracurricular activity is both contrary to the intent of the Faculty Senate’s policy, and an infringement on the student’s right to complete all work for the course. This policy will not apply in the event that completing the assignment or administering the examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the University that could reasonably have been avoided. There should be a good faith effort by both the instructor and the student to agree to a reasonable resolution. When disagreements regarding this policy arise, decisions can be appealed to the Department Chair/Unit Director, College/School Dean, and/or the Faculty Senate Academic Standards Committee. For purposes of definition, extracurricular activities may include, but are not limited to: fine arts activities, competitive intercollegiate athletics, science and engineering competitions, liberal arts competitions, academic recruitment activities, and any other event or activity sanctioned by a College/School Dean, and/or by the Executive Vice President and Provost.

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Tutoring and Coaching: The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring, academic success coaching, and other academic assistance for all UNLV undergraduate students. For information regarding tutoring subjects, tutoring times, and other ASC programs and services, please visit the ASC website,, or call 702-895-3177. The ASC building is located across from the Student Services Complex (SSC). Academic success coaching is located on the second floor of SSC A, Room 254. Drop-in tutoring is located on the second floor of the Lied Library, and on the second floor of the College of Engineering building (TBE A 207).
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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.

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