Basic Info

Instructor: Dave Feldman
Email: daveAThornacekDOTcoaD0Tedu
Office: Second Floor, Turrets Annex
Mailing List: linalg at H0RNACEKdotC0AdotEDU
Problem Solving Session: Wednesdays, 6:30 -- 8:00, Deering Common
Office Hours: By appointment (see my schedule)
Tutors: none

Course Goals

  1. I want you to get a solid foundation in linear algebra which you can then apply to areas of your interest.
  2. I want you to increase your "mathematical sophistication," ability to reason abstractly, and give you an introduction to some of the more formal ideas of mathematics, including proofs.
  3. I want to help you improve your quantitative literacy, problem solving skills, and mathematical confidence. This includes using computers to help you set up and solve problems.
  4. I want to have fun while working hard and learning some challenging material.


Linear Algebra with Applications, Seventh Edition. Gareth Williams. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. ISBN-10: 0763782483. ISBN-13: 978-0763782481. there are many different editions of this textbook; be sure you are getting the right one. Here is the page for our book.


  • Weekly Homework Assignments: 95 percent.
  • Lab Participation: 5 percent.

I will assign grades (for those who so opt) by following the guidelines put forth in the COA Course Catalog. I do not have any quota of A's, B's, etc. I recommend against letter grades; I believe they are more likely than not to interfere with genuine learning. But I also understand that many students believe (perhaps correctly) that grades will make it easier to get into graduate or professional school.

Policies and Details

  1. The final version of this and related documents can be found on the course web page.
  2. Homework will usually be due at the end of the day on Friday. More than one unexcused late homework assignment will result in me mentioning this in your narrative evaluation and may result in a lowering of your grade.
  3. If you need extra time for one or two of the homework assignments, it's not a big deal. But be very careful to not fall farther behind every week.
  4. I will accept late homework assignments. However, I may not be able to grade these assignments thoroughly. This means they will be of significantly less use to you on exams.
  5. More than two missing homework assignments will result in a grade no higher than a C.
  6. You are strongly encouraged to work together on homework. You can also consult me, class tutors, other faculty, friends, and family. However, the homework you hand in should represent your own understanding. This means that if your friends get a homework problem and you don't understand how they did it, you shouldn't photocopy their solution and turn it in.
  7. You will want to have at your disposal a calculator that has trig functions, logs, and scientific notation. You do not need a graphing calculator for this course.
  8. We will also do some numerical work using the program sage. This is free, open-source, and you can use it via any web browser.
  9. As I plan on sending out homework assignments and other information via email, it is important that you check your email regularly.
  10. Academic misconduct -- cheating, plagiarizing, etc. -- is bad. Any cases of academic misconduct will likely result in a judicial hearing; see the academic handbook for details. Possible consequences range from failure of the assignment to expulsion.
  11. A more informal description of the course can be found here.