Linear Algebra
MA211 Fall 2016: Northern Michigan University

This is the syllabus for Math 211 Linear Algebra. See the links to the right for updated information. Here you'll find information on prerequisites, grading policy, homework, study resources and a tentative course calender. See the box in the upper right for more links and information for the course.


You need a B- or better in MA 161 or written permission from me, the instructor.


The (required) textbook we will use for this course is Contemporary Linear Algebra by Anton & Busby. It is available at the University Bookstore and online.


The class sessions will be active. On most days you will be asked to DO something other than listen to me lecture.

  • MWF 1-1:50pm: WEST 3805
  • Office Hours

    I am often in my office JXJ 2226, just stop by and see if I am available, or email me to make an oppointment. My official office hours are :

  • Monday: 10am - 11am
  • Tuesday: 1pm - 3pm
  • Thursday: 1pm - 2pm
  • Other Resources

    There is a Student Solutions Manual for this textbook. The link on the right Linear Algebra Resources contains links to mostly free sites & documents that will help you get off on the right foot.

    Both free and paid tutoring is available, in the tutoring lab in WEST 3810.


    Group quizzes will be given on occasion. Groups may change each time.


    Calculators are allowed on all homework. The use of calculators on quizzes and exams will be determined on a case by case basis. Unless otherwise notificed, you are not allowed to have any information saved in your calculators during quizzes and exams.


    Please bring your laptop to every class! We will use the software package MATLAB in this class. Go to the HelpDesk to have MATLAB installed on your laptops ASAP! In order to promote a positive classroom experience, do not use your laptop in class unless instructed to do so.


  • Homework 25%
  • Group Quizzes 5%
  • Exams 45% (3 @ 15% each)
  • Final 25%
  • Exams

  • Exam 1 - September 14
  • Exam 2 - October 19
  • Exam 3 - November 18
  • Final - Tuesday, December 6 :: 12 pm - 1:50 pm

  • Make sure that you will be able to attend the exams at the given dates and times. Exceptions can only be accepted in case of time conflicts with other courses, or serious illness with a physician's certification.[Final Exam Schedule]

    Outcomes & Assessment

    Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate fluency with the language of linear algebra.
  • Solve a system linear equations.
  • Find and use the inverse of a matrix to solve problems.
  • Recognize and analyze linear transformations.
  • Recognize and solve an eigenvalue problem.
  • Evaluation of these learning outcomes will be done through a mix of assignments, class exercises, projects, research papers, group work, written & oral quizzes and tests.

    Tentative Schedule

    day 1: intro, MATLAB intro, vectors
    day 2: dot product & orthogonality
    day 3: vector equations of lines & planes
    MATLAB Project: tutorial, dot product, vector eqs, sound

    day 4: Labor Day vacation
    day 5: vector equations of lines and planes
    day 6: more vector equations \& intro to systems
    MATLAB Project: traffic, gps, poly fitting
    day 7: solving systems of equations
    day 8: review
    day 9: exam 1

    day 10: matrix operations
    day 11: inverses
    day 12: elementary matrices & finding inverses
    MATLAB Project: inverses & image algebra
    day 13: subspaces
    day 14: geometry
    day 15: special forms
    MATLAB Project: image subspaces

    day 16: determinants and properties
    day 17: review
    day 18: exam 2
    day 19: review
    day 20: eigenvalues
    day 21: no class
    MATLAB Project: eigenvalues

    day 22: eigenvalues
    day 23: dynamical systems, markov chains
    day 24: active day
    MATLAB Project: fractals, eigenplay

    day 25: power method , internet search
    day 26: transformations
    day 27: geometry
    MATLAB Project: point cloud transformations I
    day 28: kernel and range
    day 29: composisiton
    day 30: computer graphics
    MATLAB Project: point cloud transformations II

    day 31: project day
    day 32: basis
    day 33: properties
    day 34: review
    day 35: exam 3
    day 36: review
    day 37: fundamental spacs
    day 38: projection & best approximations
    day 39: least squares

    MATLAB Project: climate modeling

    day 40: least squares
    day 41: THANKSGIVING
    day 42: THANKSGIVING
    day 43: the svd and data
    day 44: review
    day 45: review

    University Policies

    Academic Honesty: Cheating is not only unethical and pathetic, but is a violation of the Northern Michigan University Student Code and University Policy and grounds for your dismissal from the University.

    Discrimination & Harassment: Northern Michigan University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, height, weight, martial status, handicap/disability, sexual orientation or veteran status. If you have a civil rights inquiry, contact the Affirmative Action Office at 906-227-2420.

    Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: The University seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you have a need for disability-related accommodations or services, please inform the Coordinator of Disability Services in the Dean of Students Office at 2001 C. B. Hedgcock Building (227-1700). at 906-227-1700 as soon as possible. Reasonable and effective accommodations and services will be provided to students if requests are made in a timely manner, with appropriate documentation, in accordance with federal, state, and University guidelines.

    The Registrar: Withdrawing from any course or any matters relating to registration are the responsibility of the student. For more information regarding this topic, check out the Registrars Website.