Here is a shortcut to the course schedule/homework page.
Lectures: MWF (12 Jan to 20 Mar!) in Phys/Math 108, 22:50pm
Office Hours: MWF 1111:50am, TΘ 1212:50pm or by appointment
Instructor: Jonathan
Poritz
Office: PM 248
Email:
jonathan.poritz@gmail.com
Phone: 5492044 (office — any time); 3371210 (cell)
and 4738928 (home) (both for emergencies only, please)
Text: Linear Algebra, A Modern Introduction (2nd ed.), by David Poole. We will cover much of Chapters 1, 2, and 3, and possibly other, supplementary topics, as time and interest allow.
Calculators: A calculator, such as the TI84, which can do matrix operations, is recommended. Students will be expected, however, to learn to do all computations on their own. [For a note on why, see below.]
Content/objectives: To introduce students to the geometric and algebraic ideas behind, and techniques for working with, matrices and vectors. Where possible and relevant, we will also discuss applications of these ideas and techniques in other fields, including physics, engineering, computer science and other parts of mathematics.
The Textbook: I will frequently deviate from it in content and examples presented. But please actually read the text sections I assign on the HW/schedule web page!
Homework: will generally be due weekly. You will probably
enjoy it more, and learn more from it, if you work with your classmates, so
I encourage you to do so. However, you must each turn in your own writeup
of the solutions.
A large part of mathematics is a learned skill of which you will need
to acquire active mastery, by practice and independent struggle, so I expect
you will spend at least two hours of effort on this course outside
of class for each hour actually in class. Most of this time will be
spent on your homework, which will be essentially impossible to do at the
last minute. So please start your homework early and talk to me, in class
and my office hours, for help as you are working on it.
There will also be quizzes and/or classroom worksheets which
can be turned in and which will count as part of your homework grades.
Exams: We will have two midterm exams: the first, covering Chapter 1, in class on Friday, January 30, 2008; the second, covering Chapter 2, in class on Friday, February 20, 2008. The final will include some material from both of these chapters but will have a special emphasis on Chapter 3 (and later). It will be given in two parts, on Wednesday, March 18, 2008, and Friday, March 20, 2008, in class.
Grades: I will drop your lowest homework score. After that, the various parts of the course will be weighted as follows:
Homework:  30% 
2 Midterms:  20% (each) 
Final Exam:  30% 
Only 10 weeks! This is a 2 credit course given with lectures MWF — therefore it will meet only for the first ten weeks of the term. Hence all important dates (drop/add, finals, etc.) are somewhat compressed: see the course schedule for details.
Office hours: Feel free to come to my office to talk about anything during my abovespecified office hours  in fact, most any time you can find me in my office I am happy to talk to you, unless I am on my way to a meeting or to another class. There is a large table right outside my office and in many semesters students have spent a lot of time working together there on this class (and others), where I can easily be consulted if some difficulty arises  come by if you have time, it is a good place to work on math.
Academic integrity: Aside from the collaborative homework efforts I mentioned above, everything you submit to me must be entirely your own, or else you must give complete and accurate attribution to the true source. Deviation from this will result in all involved parties being given a final grade of F. Similarly, late or missed homeworks or exams will receive a zero, unless we have discussed the situation in advance. Please also always provide me with some paper documentation to support your needs for special treatment.
A Philosophical Note: Courses at this level have both
conceptual and computational aspects, and actually I am
much more interested in students mastering the concepts than the
calculations. Partly this is because there is a great deal of evidence
that the conceptual understanding pulls the calculational along with it,
but not viceversa; another reason is that specific calculations
are not likely to be all that useful to you, while understanding the ideas
will give you the tools to apply them in many more situations.
This philosophy has the concrete consequence that I will require students
always to explain their written work, perhaps more than you are
used to in previous math courses. So a correct numerical answer without
explanation may get very little credit, while an incorrect answer with
good, careful, and complete reasoning explained will likely get (nearly)
full credit. You do not have to write long, beautiful (or even grammatically
correct) sentences of explanation, but you do have to provide enough notes
that I can follow what you are thinking as you do your mathematical work.
What exactly is the correct level of explanation should become clear quite
quickly in returned HWs and quizzes.
Students with disabilities: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your performance in this class for which you may require accomodations, please see me as soon as possible to arrange these accomodations. In order to receive this assistance, you must be registered with, and provide documentation of your disability to, the Disability Services Office, which is located in the Pschology Building, Room 232.
Trinity: I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been
doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night,
you sit by your computer. [...] It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the
question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did. Neo: What is the Matrix? Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to. ...later... Morpheus: Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.

