Math 2240
Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald

Course Communication

  • Office Hours 326 Walker Hall 262-2363
    I am always happy to help you in office hours.
  • Check the main calendar webpage often for homework and for access to the other class web pages. It is a part of my syllabus.
  • ASULearn forums are the easiest way to ask a math question outside of class and office hours. You are responsible for reading all posts from me. I prefer that you use office hours since it is easier to discuss material in person, but if you cannot make them, then ASULearn is a great alternative. Snapshots from your phone attached onto the private ASULearn forum are acceptable. Do NOT email me (which gets buried in hundreds of messages each day) - message me instead as I usually check it every day including the weekends.
  • Communicating about Work for Missed or Excused Absences: If there is some reason you must miss a class, then keep me informed, with any appropriate documentation, and obtain the assignment and class activities from the web pages to turn the work in early or on time (you can send it with another student to class, slide it under my office door sometime before I leave for class, or even turn it in on ASULearn if need be, but I prefer printed work). These include responses to i-clicker questions and other class activities.
  • Inclement weather: If the university cancels classes, check the class webpages for updated info, which may include plans for the missed class such as additional readings, problems, video meetings, Chat, and/or Forum sessions in ASULearn. Homework may still be due onto the private ASULearn forum.
  • Math Lab in Walker. Students answer questions.

    Required Resources and Materials

  • Linear Algebra and Its Applications by David C. Lay. 4th Edition. ISBN: 0321-38517-9. Pearson.
  • If you already have an i-clicker, the official university clicker, then bring that to all classes. If not, you can pick one up at the start of each class, but must return it by the end of each class. The mathematics department is providing these for our use, but we must share them with other classes.
  • printed copies of your Maple work and problem sets
  • access to a web-browser and to Maple on the file server and/or at your own computer -- mac or pc is fine (and on-campus access is sufficient as long as you have the time to work on campus while the labs are open)

    Course Goals

  • Catalog description: A study of vectors, matrices and linear transformations, principally in two and three dimensions, including treatments of systems of linear equations, determinants, and eigenvalues. Prerequisite: MAT 1120 or permission of the instructor.
  • Develop algebraic skills, including solving systems of equations and matrix algebra
  • Develop mathematical reasoning and problem solving
  • Develop spatial visualization skills, including visualization of vectors and linear transformations
  • Learn about some historical and modern applications of linear algebra
  • An introduction to Maple, a computer algebra software system, as it applies to linear algebra

    Learning Activities and Grades

  • Participation 5% You must be prepared for each class and check the main web page regularly for hw. Attendance is required. You are expected to contribute to discussions in a meaningful way and actively engage the material in class. This means that when we are doing a calculation or i-clicker question, you must also do this, and you are expected to take notes since the book does not contain everything you need to know. Daily exercises count as part of participation and I mark a good faith effort rather than for accuracy. Part 1 (online): shows instantaneous feedback---hover over a fill in the blank box for feedback after you Check it. You may try again if it will help your learning, or if you understand, you may continue without correcting it. After a hw is finished via Submit all and finish, general feedback opens and you can take another attempt if you wish up until it is due. Part 2 (paper): turn these in at the beginning of class. Designed to further develop your understanding and familiarity with the material, and independence in critical thinking.
    These kinds of baseline activities will result in a participation grade of 3.5/5. Other activities can increase or decrease this grade. Utilizing office hours and ASULearn, asking and answering thought provoking questions, coming up with creative or fun ways of thinking about the material, and explaining the material to others are some examples of positive participation that will increase your grade. On the other hand, performing activities that detract from the professional classroom environment or distract other students or me (I'm very easily distracted) will result in a lowered participation grade. Use of interactive technology is allowed only when it is related to our class. Otherwise put cell phones away or place them face down and set them to vibrate. No texting during class and phones are not allowed on tests. Many activities and class discussions are designed to be completed during class. Thus, attendance is required at ALL classes, and will form a portion of your participation grade. Save your absences for emergencies. If the university is open and you miss a class, then that counts as an absence. If you must be late to a class, or must leave early, then do still attend.
  • Problem Sets 30% There are 4 problem sets over the course of the semester with the lowest one dropped. They are designed to apply knowledge in novel settings and approach problems from numerous points of view to draw connections and think out of the box. In the problem set annotations or explanations will demonstrate your work and understanding. Your work must be turned in on or before the due date at the beginning of class because solutions will be posted. To accommodate issues that may arise, the lowest problem set will automatically be dropped - save this for emergencies.
  • Work Completion +1 If you have earned a passing grade of at least a grade of 60% for every problem set (including the dropped one), and you have turned in all except 3 of the other homework (including daily practice questions and test revisions), then you will receive +1 added on to your final average.
  • Exams 50% There are 2 tests over the course of the semester. No late tests allowed*. You should view exams primarily as a learning experience. This means that exams are not only an opportunity for you to demonstrate your mastery of the material, but are also an opportunity for you to be challenged with new material in order for you to make new connections. To encourage exams as a learning experience a couple extra points will be granted for complete and correct test corrections.
  • Final research presentations 15% You will research a topic related to the course that you are interested in and will communicate your expertise in written and oral format by reviewing and extending class concepts. The presentation component typically involves a group of 1 or 2 students at a time listening to and looking at your project so they can take notes for peer review. The presentations are modeled after what happens at research conferences, Appalachian's student research day, and science fairs. No make-ups allowed*. You must participate in the research project to pass the class.
    * Accommodations in the determination of your final grade will be made for extenuating circumstances that are documented to prevent you from completing work early/on time. The grading scale is: A ≥93; 90≤ A- < 93; 87 ≤ B+ <90...

    Also see the University-wide syllabus and policy statements which we adhere to.

    Where to Get Help and Additional Policies

    As per the University-wide Statement on Student Engagement with Courses you can expect to spend (on average) 2-3 hours outside of class for each hour in class. In this course, this means spending between 3 hours and 20 minutes and 5 hours between each class, on average. You are responsible for all material covered and all announcements and assignments made at each class, whether you are present or not. You are also responsible for announcements made on the web pages, so check them often. Your other time outside of class should be spent reviewing course material, completing homework assignments, reading solutions on ASULearn, and in office hours or the math lab.

    I encourage you to talk to me often in class, office hours, and on the ASULearn forums. Asking questions, and explaining things to others, in or out of class, is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of the material. This course is to be an environment in which everyone feels comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, offering good guesses and ideas, and is respectful to one another. I also want you to be informed about your choices regarding what you tell me about certain types of sensitive information. In situations where students disclose experiencing an act of interpersonal violence to their instructor, faculty are required to report what students tell us to the campus Title IX Coordinator, who then reaches out to the student by email offering support services. I care about you and want you to get the resources you need. I'm happy to talk with you if you decide you want that, but please be aware that if instead you'd like to explore options with someone who can keep your information totally confidential, I highly recommend the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180. They offer walk-in hours as well as after-hours coverage: Appalachian Cares is a place to find updates about matters of student health and safety. It also functions as the most up-to-date clearinghouse of information, resources and support available.

    You should explore each problem and write out your thinking in a way that can be shared with others. Focus on your own ideas. Turn in projects or prepare to present problems even if it they are not complete, even if only to say, "I do not understand such and such" or "I am stuck here." Be as specific as possible. Conjecture. When writing up work, be sure to give acknowledgment where it is due. Submitting someone else's work as your own (PLAGIARISM) is a serious violation of the University's Academic Integrity Code, which defines:

    Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, borrowing, downloading, cutting and pasting, and paraphrasing without acknowledgement, including from online sources, or allowing an individual's academic work to be submitted as another's work.

    Use of interactive technology is allowed only when it is related to our class. Otherwise put cell phones away or place them face down and set them to vibrate. Photos or video or audio recordings may not be taken in class without prior permission. Food and beverages are allowed as long as they aren't distracting, but e-cigs, chewing tobacco/spit cups and other products are not allowed.

    The purpose of homework is to learn and practice computational strategies, concepts, and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so you should try problems on your own. Feel free to talk to me or each other if you are stuck on this assignment, but be sure to acknowledge any sources including each other, like "The insight for this solution came from a conversation with Joel." If you know how to do a problem and are asked for help, try to give hints rather than the solution: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime (or at least this course)

    In this course, you will be challenged with problems that you have never seen before. I do not expect you to be able to solve all the issues immediately. Instead, I want to see what you can do on your own. Out in the real world, this is important, since no matter what job you have, you will be expected to seek out information and answers to new topics you have not seen before. This may feel uncomfortable and frustrating. I understand this and want to help you through the process. It helps to remember that there are no mathematical dead-ends! Each time we get stuck, it teaches us something about the problem we are working on, and leads us to a deeper understanding of the mathematics. In the real world though, you are not expected to face your work alone. You will be allowed to talk to other people and you may even be expected to work with other people. In this class, you are also not expected to face your work alone. I am always happy to help you and will try to give you hints and direction to help you understand the material. At times though, to encourage the exploration process, I may direct you to rethink a problem and to come back to discuss it with me again afterwards. This occurs when I believe that the struggle to understand is imperative for your deep understanding of the material.

    The Learning Assistance Program provides five core services. Two services, University Tutorial Services and Academic Strategy Instruction, are offered to all undergraduate students, and three services, ACCESS, Student Support Services, and Academic Services for Student Athletes, serve specific groups of students identified as needing comprehensive support. In Fall 2016, the ASU-R program joined the Learning Assistance Program.

    Advice from Previous Students

    I asked them: What suggestions would you give to students taking this course in the future? They responded:
  • Come to class everyday
  • Take homework and clicker questions seriously, they are a great no-risk way to gauge your knowledge
  • If you start falling behind, put in the extra time/work to catch up because everything builds on each other. Definitely use resources available.
  • Study the homework questions and study guide, they help a lot
  • I would suggest that students taking this course in the future should strive to read course material ahead of time
  • Do the assignments and problem sets. They help with everything. Do the practice tests fully.
  • If you don't understand a topic, buckle down and review it and ask questions until it makes sense. Take advantage of all the resources available like office hours. Always review solutions online.
  • Keep up with the definitions for the term sheets.
  • Do all assignments. Ask question in class. Don't fall asleep. Laugh!
  • Study using the resources other than the textbook. Class helps but can't go over everything, and the textbook is particularly vague about topics in this class.
  • Take full advantage of office hours and ask questions about any and everything you're not 100% sure on.
  • Homework problems are crucial, definitely help solidify material
  • Do all the work assigned and you should do fine
  • Do online hw first for help solving problems then do written work
  • Pay attention, use office hours if you struggle
  • Do all the assigned reading and use office hours of math lab if you need it
  • Do all the exercise/participation problems!
  • Take Dr. Sarah
  • Go over what you learn in class at least a little bit each night
  • Keep up and don't slack off
  • Paying attention in class and asking questions is the difference between just solving problems and actually understanding them
  • Learn the 1st chapter stuff real good including span/pivots/# of solutions as it will keep coming back
  • Start problem sets earlier

    Instructor Bio

    I am a full Professor of Mathematics and a Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies affiliate faculty member at Appalachian State University. I received my PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. My scholarship areas include Riemannian geometry of orbifolds (linear algebra is important here), popular culture as it pertains to mathematics, and women and minorities in mathematics. Recognition for my teaching includes a Mathematical Association of America Alder Award winner for distinguished teaching and the winner of a   Appalachian State University Wayne D. Duncan Award for Excellence in Teaching in General Education. In 2010 I was also inducted into the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences Academy of Outstanding Teachers and in 2011 I was named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year. I am the associate editor of the Association for Women in Mathematics Newsletter and a member of the editorial board of PRIMUS. Andrew Nestler and I co-created the educational website My interactive mathematics lecture has been distributed on approximately one million DVDs worldwide as a 25-minute DVD extra for the 20th Century Fox Futurama movie Bender's Big Score and it is listed as "Mind-bending." Jill Thomley and I co-edited the 3-volume Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society, which was named a "Best Reference 2011" by Library Journal. I've spoken about the impacts of scientific popular culture representations on NPR's Science Friday and all over the country.

    I am married to the bassist Joel Landsberg. We both happen to be on IMDb: Joel and me. My Erdos Bacon number is 6-7 or infinity, depending on what/how you count. In my spare time I like to travel, hike and conduct genealogy research (I also enjoy popular culture, as you can probably tell from some of my scholarly interests). In addition to my own personal genealogy, I like to give back to the broader community. In this context, I am affiliated with ASU's center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies. I am the project coordinator for sites like the Bialobrzegi ShtetLink and the Book of Remembrance of the Community of Bialobrzeg. These projects strive to research and preserve information about communities that were destroyed in World War II. My great-grandparents lived there (it was the Russian empire back then!) in the late 1800s. Some of what I really like about mathematics is also what I enjoy about genealogy - the sense of exploration, discovery and aha moments that come with lots of patience and effort.