Matrix Algebra

Fall 2018

Instructor: Matt Kerr
Office: Cupples I, Room 114
e-mail: matkerr [at]
Office Hours: 11:10-12:00 MWF


Math 132 (Calculus II)

Class Schedule:

Lectures are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9-10 (section 1) and 10-11 (section 2) in McDonnell 162, beginning Monday Aug. 27 and ending with a final exam review class on Friday December 7. There are class holidays on Sept. 3 (Labor Day), Oct. 15-16 (Fall break), and Nov. 21-23 (Thanksgiving).

Midterm Exam 1: Monday, Oct. 8, 6:30pm-8:30pm, on Chapters 1--3 [Solutions]
Midterm Exam 2: Monday, Nov. 12, 6:30pm-8:30pm, thru Section 5.5 [Solutions]
Final Exam: Monday, Dec. 17, 10:30am-12:30pm, in Lab Sci 300 [Solutions]

Regarding missed exams, see the Grading Policy section below. Calculators aren't allowed, but the exams will not be computationally heavy.

For exam score lookup, use this link for the multiple choice part (available the day after the exam). The hand-graded portion will be returned via Crowdmark.

Copies of old exams are maintained at this link.


David Lay, Steven Lay, and Judi McDonald, Linear Algebra and its Applications (5th Ed.), Pearson, 2016.

We will cover Chapters 1-6 and the beginning of 7. The publisher maintains an online student resource page which includes review sheets and practice exams. Last but not least, the original author of the previous editions (David Lay) has some friendly advice on learning from his book.

Course Syllabus:

This is an introductory course in linear algebra. You can expect a mild amount of abstraction, but the emphasis is on topics which are useful in science, engineering, and business. My goal is for each of you to come away in 15 weeks with a good understanding of:

  • Linear systems, row-reduction, and matrix equations
  • Linear transformations, invertibility, rank+nullity
  • Determinants
  • Vector spaces, basis and dimension
  • Eigenvectors and eigenvalues, diagonalization
  • Inner products, orthogonality, Gram-Schmidt
  • The spectral theorem and quadratic forms

  • Assignments:

    These will comprise:

  • A weekly Webwork due on Tuesday (at 11:59 PM!) --- about 10-15 computational problems, covering the previous week's lectures. To access them, log in to Blackboard and click on the course name, then go to "Content".

  • A weekly written homework due by 5 PM on Friday --- around 10 problems, more theoretical in nature and covering up through Wednesday's lecture. You will submit these through Crowdmark, via the personalized e-mail link you will receive for each assignment.

  • My office hours are chosen with this schedule in mind, and I am there to help. (Regarding late homework, cf. the Grading Policy below.) For the written homework, there will be two to three experienced graders who will return the graded homework via Crowdmark.

    Week of ... Webwork (due Tues) Homework (due Fri) HW Solutions
    Aug. 27 (Week 1) no WW no HW N/A
    Sep. 3 (Week 2) WW 1 HW 1 HW 1
    Sep. 10 (Week 3) WW 2 HW 2 HW 2
    Sep. 17 (Week 4) WW 3 HW 3 HW 3
    Sep. 24 (Week 5) WW 4 HW 4 HW 4
    Oct. 1 (Week 6) WW 5 no HW N/A
    Oct. 8 (Week 7) no WW HW 5 HW 5
    Oct. 15 (Week 8) no WW HW 6 HW 6
    Oct. 22 (Week 9) WW 6 HW 7 HW 7
    Oct. 29 (Week 10) WW 7 HW 8 HW 8
    Nov. 5 (Week 11) WW 8 no HW N/A
    Nov. 12 (Week 12) no WW HW 9 HW 9
    Nov. 19 (Week 13) WW 9 no HW N/A
    Nov. 26 (Week 14) no WW HW 10 HW 10
    Dec. 3 (Week 15) WW 10 HW 11 HW 11

    Lecture Notes:

    Will be scanned and posted below on the day of the lecture. The hope is that this will make note-taking optional. The section(s) I plan to cover in each lecture are displayed in the table. Not all the sections indicated will be covered in full.

    Week Monday Wednesday Friday
    1 [1.1] [1.2] [1.3]
    2 N/A [1.4] [1.5,6]
    3 [1.7] [1.8] [1.9]
    4 [2.1] [2.2,3] [2.3,4,5]
    5 [2.6,3.1] [3.2] [3.3]
    6 [4.1] [4.2] [Review]
    7 [4.3] [4.4] [4.5]
    8 N/A [4.6] [4.7]
    9 [4.8-9] [5.1-2] [5.2-3]
    10 [5.3-4] [5.4] [5.5]
    11 [5.6] [5.7] [Review]
    12 [6.1] [6.2] [6.3,4]
    13 [6.4-6] N/A N/A
    14 [6.5,6] [6.7] [7.1]
    15 [7.2] [7.4] [Review]

    Grading Policy:

    Homework, Webwork, Midterm Exam 1 and Midterm Exam 2 are worth 15% each; the Final Exam is worth 40%. I will drop your lowest 2 homework and lowest 2 webwork scores.

    Curving and grade scale: In the event that the average score on any exam is less than 75%, all exam scores will be adjusted upward by adding a constant to everyone's score (so that the average is 75%). No adjustment is made if the average is above 75%. The grade scale is as follows:

    A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D F
    TBA 90+ [85,90) [80,85) [75,80) [70,75) [65,70) [60,65) [55,60) [50,55) [0,50)

    The Pass/Fail policy is that you must get at least a C- to earn a "Pass".

    Grades will be kept track of on Blackboard, though Homework and Webwork will only be entered in the Grade Center as block scores at the end of the course. (In the meantime, you will be able to keep track of your scores on individual HW/WW sets on the websites where you hand them in.)

    If you have to miss a midterm exam for a legitimate reason, you will be given an excused absence for that exam, and your grade will be calculated from the homework and other taken exams. Of course verified illness and serious family emergency are legitimate reasons. Regarding other conflicts, e-mail me as soon as you know about them.

    Verified illness and serious family emergency are in general the only acceptable reasons for missing the final exam. In this event, you will be given a makeup exam.

    To have any excused absence approved, please contact Blake Thornton (bthornton [at] and cc me in the e-mail.

    In general, credit will be given for late Webwork/Homework only in the event of illness or emergency.

    This link takes you to the standard university policies on academic integrity.