Mathematics 5920
Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald
Linear Algebra for Teachers

Where to Get Help

  • Office Hours 326 Walker Hall 262-2363
    I am always happy to help you in office hours.
  • Check the main page often for homework and for access to the other class web pages.
  • ASULearn messages 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 can not make them, then ASULearn is a great alternative. I usually check it every day including the weekends.

    Required Resources

  • Resources for Teaching Linear Algebra by Carlson, Johnson, Lay, Porter and Watkins
  • Schaum's Outline of Linear Algebra by Lipschutz and Lipson
  • The i-clicker - the official university clicker, available in the bookstore under the course resources. Bring the i-clicker with you to class every day.
  • Printed copies of your Maple work
  • Access to a web-browser and to Maple on the file server and/or at your own computer -- mac or pc is fine (on-campus access is sufficient as long as you have the time to work on campus while the labs are open. Otherwise I recommend purchasing a copy.)

    Course Goals

  • Review concepts from undergraduate linear algebra.
  • Extend concepts of linear algebra to a rigorous level that includes an understanding of the importance and validity of the concepts, including algebraic proof, geometric connections and computational issues via Maple.
  • Be exposed to the connections of linear algebra to various fields inside and outside of mathematics, and to some of the history and applications of linear algebra
  • Connect to issues relating to teaching linear algebra.


  • Participation 20% 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 and lab. 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. These kinds of baseline activities will result in a participation grade of 16/20. 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 Dr. Sarah (who is very easily distracted) will result in a lowered participation grade. 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 particiation grade. In addition, missing more than the equivalent of 3 weeks during the semester (10 hours total of class time) will result in an automatic F in the course. 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.
  • Graded Homework 40% Work will not be accepted without explanation and must also be turned in on or before the due date because solutions will be posted. If there is some reason you must miss a class, then obtain the assignment from the web pages. The lowest graded assignment will be dropped - save this for emergencies. If all of your work is turned in on time and you have received at least a grade of 75% for all work, then you will receive +1 added on to your final average. No lates allowed*.
  • Tests 20% No lates allowed*
  • Final Project 20% No lates allowed*
    * Work may occur during the last week of classes. 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. Except in extraordinary circumstances, requests for religious observances required by faith must be submitted in writing no later than three weeks after the first class day of the term. In addition, Appalachian State University is committed to making reasonable accommodations for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Those seeking accommodations based on a substantially limiting disability must contact and register with The Office of Disability Services (ODS) at or 828-262-3056. Once registration is complete, individuals will meet with ODS staff to discuss eligibility and appropriate accommodations. 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. We adhere to the code in this course.


    Material is covered very quickly. Plan to spend at least 1-2 hours outside of class for each credit hour in 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.

    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.

    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. If you are copying something out of a book, refer to the source and page number in your write-up. Each group is responsible for doing their own Maple and by-hand work. You may discuss the problems with other groups as you work, but your group must answer the questions in your own words. It is CHEATING to let a classmate borrow your file or problem set for the purpose of copying all or part of it. It is CHEATING to borrow anyone else's file or problem set for the purpose of copying all or part of it. It is CHEATING to call any other work your own. If you are talking to other groups, you may indeed have the same counterexamples or other similarities to someone else's work. This is fine. However, your group's Maple and by-hand formatting, explanations, and text comments need to be presented in your group's own unique style in order to distinguish your work as your own. It is your responsibility to ensure that I do not suspect you of cheating.

    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 encourage you to talk to me often in class, office hours, and the bulletin board.

    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.