MA311 Linear Algebra

for SP 2009

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MA 311 Linear Algebra


SP 2009 HO


McCandless, Peter


Associate Professor of Mathematics


Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in math education
M.A., Mathematics
M.A., Educational Research and Psychology

Office Location

Natural Science Building 002

Office Hours

Monday, 11:00 - 12 noon, Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Daytime Phone

816 584 6831


Semester Dates

January 12, 2009 - May 8, 2009

Class Days


Class Time

12:25 - 1:40 PM


MA 211

Credit Hours


Elementary Linear Algebra, 9th Edition. Anton, Howard. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. ISBN: 0-471-66960-1

Additional Resources:

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Course Description:
MA 311 Linear Algebra: Topics include the general methods of solving systems of equations, determinants and matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations and introduction to simplex algorithms.3:0:3. Prerequisite: MA211

Educational Philosophy:
My goal in teaching mathematics is three-fold: to make clear mathematical concepts, to help students acquire mathematical skills, and to encourage and inspire them to continue their study of mathematics in a way that supports their goals in life. As the teacher of a course, it is my responsibility to set and maintain the standards of the course – what is to be taught and how students’ performance is to be assessed. The goals of the course are specified in a manner that affords me the flexibility to adapt to students’ needs: a careful balance must be achieved between the topics to be covered in the course of a semester and the ability of students to learn those topics. The pursuit of this balance is dynamic. I am never totally comfortable with my performance as I continually try to find a better way to achieve the same goals. The learning of mathematics is and has been a humbling experience for me. I have never pushed my mind as hard as in the pursuit of learning this wonderfully challenging subject. It is difficult in words to describe the joy of finally grasping some concept that has long eluded me, or completing a difficult proof. The frustration associated with studying mathematics can be equally severe. As a teacher of mathematics, I rely heavily on this experience. It allows me to empathize with the struggling student, yet to encourage him or her, demanding performance just a little beyond what is often comfortable. It convinces me that many, many students never achieve their potential. For me, teaching this subject embodies four roles that I thoroughly enjoy integrating: coach (the encourager); parent (the demander); friend (the sustainer); and instructor (the clarifier). As a teacher of mathematics, I am challenged to provide the highest quality instruction I can for students from all backgrounds. My ultimate goal for each student is to find the experience of taking a course from me to be enriching in one way or another, regardless of their final grade.  

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Solve a system of linear equations using Gaussian elimination.
  2. Perform arithmetic operations on matrices.
  3. Use the properties of invertible matrices to solve systems of linear equations.
  4. Use the determinant of a matrix to tell whether a system of equations has a unique solution or not
  5. Apply the properties of vectors in Euclidean n-space and provide a geometric interpretation where appropriate
  6. Apply the properties of linear independence, basis, and dimension
  7. Perform the Gram-Schmidt process
  8. Demonstrate what it means to say that two vectors are orthogonal
  9. Apply the properties of inner product spaces

Core Assessment:
  • Periodic assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Tests

Class Assessment:
There will be six quizzes during the semester. Each quiz will have four forms: A, B, C, and D. You will have four opportunities to pass each quiz. Passing a quiz requires that you get 90% or better correct on the quiz, subject to my judgement. If and only if you pass all six quizzes, you will not be required to take the final exam. Your grade for the course will then be a B. Students who wish to earn an A in the course, must pass all six quizzes and score an A on the final exam. Students who pass all six quizzes and score less than an A on the final exam (or who choose not to take the final exam) will earn a B in the course. Students who pass exactly five of the six quizzes will earn at least a C in the course, provided that they take the final exam and score at least a C. Students who pass exactly five of the six quizzes and who score a B or better on the final exam, will earn a B in the course. Students who pass exactly four of the six quizzes will earn at least a D in the course, provided that they take the final exam and score at least a D. Students who pass exactly four of the six quizzes and who score a C or better on the final exam, will earn a C in the course. Students who pass three or fewer quizzes among the six must score a D or better on the final exam in order to pass the course. All quizzes will be taken outside class. Quiz 1 will be available approximately 3 weeks into the course; Quiz 2 will be available approximately 5 weeks into the course; Quiz 3 will be available approximately 7 weeks into the course; Quiz 4 will be available approximately 10 weeks into the course; Quiz 5 will be available approximately 12 weeks into the course; and finally, Quiz 6 will be available approximately 14 weeks into the course. A student may take a quiz whenever he or she is ready once the quiz is available. A student who is ready to take the quiz will notify me; I will then either place the quiz in the testing center or make some other suitable arrangement for the student, e.g. allowing the student to take the quiz in an empty classrooom during my office hours. Quiz 1 will only be available through week 5; Quiz 2 will only be available through week 7; Quiz 3 will only be available through week 9; Quiz 4 only will be available through week 12; Quiz 5 will be available only through week 14; Quiz 6 must be taken by the last day of class.

See Class Assessment

Late Submission of Course Materials:
See Class Assessment

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Conduct yourself like an adult.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
We shall cover approximately chapters 1 through 8.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:12/19/2008 12:46:05 PM