Spring 2014

Instructor:  Jim Wiseman
Office:  Buttrick 331
Phone:  x6202
Email:  jwiseman@agnesscott.edu (I check email much more frequently than voicemail.)

Office hours:  Mon 2:30-4:00, Tues 2-3:30, and by appointment.

Course information:  Available on Moodle and the course website, http://ecademy.agnesscott.edu/~jwiseman/mat206 .

Textbook:  Lay, Linear Algebra and its Applications, 3rd edition.  The textbook website includes Chapter 1 in case your copy arrives late: http://wps.aw.com/aw_lay_linearalg_updated_3/36/9433/2414937.cw/index.html

Plan: We'll cover most of chapters 1-7.  Topics include linear equations, matrix algebra, determinants, vector spaces, eigenvectors, orthogonality, and symmetric matrices..  There's a more detailed schedule at http://ecademy.agnesscott.edu/~jwiseman/mat206/schedule.html, but it's subject to change.

Homework:  By now you've probably figured out that working problems is mostly how you learn math.  There will be homework assigned nearly every week, due by the beginning of class on Wednesdays.  I strongly encourage you to work in groups, but you must write up the results yourself.    Assignments will be posted at http://ecademy.agnesscott.edu/~jwiseman/mat206/assignments.html – you are responsible for checking the assignments, as I won't give them in class.  You will turn in some of each assignment on Moodle.  On some weeks there may also be a part of the assignment that you will write up and turn in.  Some of the assignment you do not need to turn in, but you are responsible for the material - completing only the Moodle assignments is not enough to prepare you for the exams.

Honor code and group work:  All students are expected to follow the honor code throughout the semester.
I strongly encourage you to work on the homework in groups.  I suggest that you work on the problems by yourself first, making a note of anything giving you trouble; then meet with your group and work through the remaining problems together; and finally write up the problems again by yourself.
Getting help:  As Talking Barbie says, "Math class is tough."  (Unless she's the hacked version - then she says, "Eat lead, Cobra.")  Chances are that sooner or later you'll get stuck on something, so don't get frustrated.  Think hard, and if you're still stuck, do something else for a while.  (It's amazing how often that works.)
My office hours are above - these are times when I'm guaranteed to be in my office and willing to talk.  If you want to see me at other times, the best thing to do is to set up an appointment with me by email or after class.  Of course, you're welcome to just drop by my office, as long as you don't mind if I'm not there or don't have time to talk.
Student learning assistants in the Math Learning Center will be able to provide help throughout the week. More details, including the schedule, are on Moodle and at http://www.agnesscott.edu/mathematics/files/documents/learning-assistants-schedule.pdf.
Finally, I can't emphasize enough that your classmates are your best source of help.
Course goals: Learn to:
Exams and deadlines:
Assessment:  Each midterm 25%, homework 20%, final exam 30%.
Late work:  Late homework won't be accepted, and you won't be allowed to make up missed exams, except under very exceptional circumstances (e.g., the skunk ape attacks - and even then you should get a note from the skunk ape).  In the case of a conflict that you absolutely can't resolve (for example, a religious holiday), you may arrange to take a midterm exam early.
Attendance:  I expect you to be at every class, on time.  However, tardiness or absence will have no (direct) effect on your grade (unless of course you miss a midterm).

Cell phones:  Cell phone use (including texting) is of course not permitted in class.  Turn off cell phones, smart phones, etc., before class.

Course evaluation: Your feedback on the course is extremely valuable to me, the math department, and the administration.  In particular, I take your comments very seriously and use them to improve the course the next time I teach it.  You are responsible for completing an evaluation of the course at the end of the semester.