MATH 301 Linear Algebra Sections 001 and 002
Boise State University Fall 2012



Jodi Mead



MG 218B








11:45-12:45 TTH,  and by appointment



TTH in room MG 106, 9:00-10:15 (001) and 10:30-11:45 (002)

Linear Algebra and its applications (4th edition), and the study guide, by David C. Lay, Addison-Wesley, 2012.  

This is an introductory course in Linear Algebra that I hope will be the first of many for you.  In this course you will further develop your ability to think abstractly and reason logically, and at the same time solve realistic problems in the physical world using technological tools.  After successful completion of this course students should:  


To assist you in learning Linear Algebra, we will provide you with a number of environments in which you can actually do it, including reading, skills and written homework, computer labs and projects.  There are also review sheets and practice exams on the publisher's website:, in addition to practice problems with solutions at the end of each section of the text.  As with all of mathematics, the learning process requires you to practice and make mistakes.   The key to doing well in the course is to practice as much as possible and learn from your mistakes.

Students will present the reading homework daily in class, and the skills homework will be done online in the WeBWorK software system.   It can be found by going to, and then logging in.  Instructions on how to login will be given in class.  Reading problems are comprehension-based multiple-choice or numerical-answer questions, and I will randomly choose students to discuss them during class.  The skills homework are computational problems using standard Linear Algebra techniques and should be solve using pen and paper first, before inputting the solution online.  The primary purpose of online homework is to let you know that you are getting the correct answer or to alert you if you are making some kind of mistake. Usually you can attempt a problem as many times as you want before the due date. However, if you are having trouble figuring out your error, you should consult the book, or ask a fellow student, the TA or your professor for help. Don’t spend a lot of time guessing – it’s not very efficient or effective.

The written homework will most likely involve computing, and guidelines for handing in your computing homework include:

We will utilize the computer package MATLAB that some of you will be familiar with, and others may not.  MATLAB was originally developed for computational linear algebra, and is a  good introduction to the use of professional software packages that are often used in the workplace.  MATLAB will enable us to work through problems that are too unwieldy to do by hand, and gain additional insights into the essential concepts of Linear Algebra.  The Study Guide will be the lab manual for the course. You will have an account on the computers in MG104 where MATLAB is installed, but it is available on many computers in campus, and a reasonably priced student version is available from the Mathworks site or the bookstore. 


Late Homework Policy:   Homework should be turned in on the date it is due, and unless there are extenuating circumstances, there is a 10% per day late penalty for written homework.




Online homework is a good opportunity to get immediate feedback on your work, and students should do it independently.  The penalty for not doing your own work will be a lack of understanding of the concepts and poor grades on the exams.  Written homework will enable you to have a complete understanding of the materials and you may collaborate, however, once you begin writing the version that you will submit, you may no longer collaborate on that problem.  In particular, each student will turn in their own work, use their own computer programs and there will be a penalty if students turn in the same work.   Alternatively, some of the written projects may be done in groups.  In this case, the students' signature on their paper indicates they all did the work and agree to the work submitted.



Last Day

Aug. 31

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Sep. 10

Add with signature, drop w/o a "W"

Oct. 5