Mathematics 317: Linear Algebra

Spring 2018

Instructor: Scott Hansen (Associate Professor):


Elementary Linear Algebra 5th ed. by Andrilli and Hecker


Math 165, Math 166 or equivalent, Math 201 at the same time or earlier; Math 265 also is suggested.

Credits: 4

Class meetings:

Lectures are MTRF 1:10 to 2 in Carver 132

Course Topics:

This course emphasizes the reading and writing of mathematical proofs realted to linear algebra. We will cover chapters most of Chapters 1-6 of the text. Some topics covered are listed below

Course Policy, Grades

The semester grade is based on scores from 3 in-class exams (100 points each), homework, quizzes and problem presentations (about 150- 200 points), and a comprehensive final exam (150 points). The in-class exams are tentatively scheduled: Grades for the Exams will be based on a curve and also my opinion of how well the class did as a whole.

I will drop lowest score among the in-class exams. The semester grade is based all points remaining after dropping the lowest in-class exam score. The grade divisions (dividing A, B, C, D, F) are determined by the average of the exam curves. Plus and minus grades, like C+ or A-, will be scores within about 2 percent of the relevant grade division. So for example, if the A - B grade division is 90 percent, you need about 88 percent for a B+, 90 percent for an A- and 92 percent for an A.

In borderline cases (when within 1 perecent of a grade borderline) I will consider class attendance, class participation and the final exam score as deciding factors.

Homework and Quizzes:

Students should regularly work the "Practice Problems" that I will regularly post on the above "Comments and Announcements" link. The PP's are just for practice and will not be turned in, but could appear in quizzes and many will be worked on the board.

In addition I will assign regular "Turn-In" homework, in which a problem set is assigned with a due date and will be graded. These will also be posted on the link Assignments, Comments, Announcements

Late homework will usually be given a deduction. Once I have covered the HW in class, it can not be turned in for credit.

I'll also give several quizzes over the course of semester. Quizzes will usually occur on Fridays but there may be exceptions. Quizzes will be announced in class at least a class day before the quiz.

There will be no makeup quiz for people that miss quizzes, unless you have contacted me in advance to arrange a makeup quiz.

Problem Presentations

One day a week, usually Thursdays, a portion of the class will be used for students to work proofs and practice problems on the board. Over the course of the semester, I expect everyone to present at least three problems ( 3 points each ). Students can do as many as one a week for up to 2 points extra credits each time.


The emphasis of this class is in proving theorems and for the most part, any needed calculations are easily done by hand. Therefore usually you can get by in class without a calculator. However, for some homework assignments it will be useful to have a calculator that performs matrix functions such as matrix multiplication and reduction to Reduced Eschelon Form. Whatever calculator you choose, it is your responsibility to learn how to use it. Calculators might or might not be allowed on the exams, but if they are allowed, they should only be used for low level steps that are not the main point of the problem. If a calculator can easily solve a problem, I expect to see the intermediate steps written out by hand.

Missed Exams, Missed Quizzes, Excessive Absences

If you know that you will be unable to take an Exam or Quiz at the scheduled time, you should contact me as far in advance as possible. I will do what I can to arrange an alternate time. Make-up exams and quizzes for missed exams and quizzes will only be given if the student provides written documentation (as for a medical condition, or proof of funeral, etc.) Lacking that, the missed exam or quiz will be scored as a zero. (Note the above policy on dropping the lowest in-class exam score.) If you have a good reason for missing a class, I can help you during office hours catch up. But I do not provide lecture notes or lengthy emails explaining a missed lecture. Ask your classmates, or come to office hours. I do not ordinarily record attendance, but I do take note of Quizzes and HW that I am unable to return due to attendance problems. Excessive unexcused absences (e.g., 3 weeks of unexcused absences) for any student can result up to one letter grade reduction in your class grade. However, I will inform you if you are getting close to any grade deduction. Otherwise there is no penalty for missing a small number of classes.

Dead Week policy

There will be no quizzes or exams on dead week. It is possible that the last homework assignment could be due Monday or Tuesday of dead week, but not later.


It is the policy of Iowa State University to try to accomodate students with disabilities. If you have special needs due to a disability, I'll be happy to make any required arrangements. Also feel free to contact our Math department Disability Coordinator, Melanie Erickson in the Math Department office.

My Webpage Policy

The primary source of information, unless otherwise mentioned, is the classroom. I will try to accurately post helpful information when I have the time, but errors and delays in posting information may happen. If you see some errors or inconsistencies in anything on the web, let me know and I'll double check.

Last updated DEc. 7, 2018