Math 307: Linear algebra
Fall 2014, MWF 9:30 section

Instructor: Mark Meckes (pronounced "MECKess")
Email: mark dot meckes at case dot edu
Office: Yost 223
Phone: 368-4997
Office hours: MWF 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Class time and location:
MWF 9:30–10:30 a.m. in Bingham 305.

Web site (this page):

This site is where to go for all information about this class, including assignments. Blackboard will only be used for the online grade book and for posting the textbook.

There is no published textbook for this section of Math 307. We will be using a draft textbook which will be posted (in several installments) on Blackboard. See this page for more information about the textbook.

About this class
Math 307 is a theoretical course in linear algebra, geared primarily for students majoring in mathematics and applied mathematics (though everyone is welcome). The major topics are linear systems of equations, matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations, and inner product spaces. Here's the official course description:
First semester of an integrated, two-semester theoretical course in abstract and linear algebra, studied on an axiomatic basis. The major algebraic structures studied are groups, rings, fields, modules, vector spaces, and inner product spaces. Topics include homomorphisms and quotient structures, the theory of polynomials, canonical forms for linear transformations and the principal axis theorem. This course is required of all students majoring in mathematics.

Reading, quizzes, and homework
You are expected both to attend lecture (and take notes!) and read the textbook. The lectures and textbook partly reinforce each other and are partly complementary. In particular, I may sometimes cover material in lecture which is not in the textbook, and you will be responsible for material from the textbook which is not covered in lecture.

For most lectures there will be a reading assignment. The lecture will begin with a (very) short quiz based on the reading (so don't be late!). After each lecture, there will be homework problems based on the reading and lecture material, due at the beginning of the next class meeting.

There will be no make-up quizzes and late homework will not be accepted. If unusual circumstances arise and you contact me in a timely manner, then we can discuss alternative arrangements.

Throughout this class, you need to explain your answers even when the problem doesn't explicitly ask for a proof; this typically means writing in complete English sentences. When deciding how much detail to include, here's the standard to keep in mind: your solution to a problem should be complete and clear enough that one of your classmates, who has paid attention in class but hasn't thought about that specific problem yet, could read your solution and understand exactly how it works. If you only try to convince me that you understand the solution, then you almost certainly won't write enough.

Students may work together on homework. However, each student must figure out how to write up his or her own solution to be turned in. That means for example that you and a friend may figure out together how to prove a statement, but the written-out proofs you turn in should not be verbatim copies of each other.

Reading assignments and homework problems will be posted on this page (again: not on Blackboard).

There will be six in-class midterm exams, on September 10, September 26, October 13, October 31, November 17, and December 5. The final exam will be December 15, 8:30–11:30 a.m. in Bingham 103. All exams are closed-book and closed-notes with no calculators allowed.

Your grade for the semester will be computed as follows: