\( \newcommand{\sech}{\operatorname{sech}} \) \( \newcommand{\inverse}[1]{#1^\leftarrow} \) \( \newcommand{\<}{\langle} \) \( \newcommand{\>}{\rangle} \) \( \newcommand{\vect}{\mathbf} \) \( \newcommand{\veci}{\mathbf{\hat ı}} \) \( \newcommand{\vecj}{\mathbf{\hat ȷ}} \) \( \newcommand{\veck}{\mathbf{\hat k}} \) \( \newcommand{\curl}{\operatorname{curl}\,} \) \( \newcommand{\dv}{\operatorname{div}\,} \) \( \newcommand{\detThree}[9]{ \operatorname{det}\left( \begin{array}{c c c} #1 & #2 & #3 \\ #4 & #5 & #6 \\ #7 & #8 & #9 \end{array} \right) } \) \( \newcommand{\detTwo}[4]{ \operatorname{det}\left( \begin{array}{c c} #1 & #2 \\ #3 & #4 \end{array} \right) } \)

MA 237

Linear Algebra - 2018 Summer

Course Information

  • Semester: 2018 Summer
  • Title: Linear Algebra
  • Section: MA 237-101
    • Mon-Fri 9:10am-10:05am
    • MSPB 360
  • Office Hours (MSPB 314)
    • Wed 8:00am-9:00am, 10:05am-1:50pm, 3:15pm-4:30pm

Course Content

The course is split into five Modules, each of which is split into several Standards of learning. These are listed on the course Standards page.


Grades in this course are determined purely based upon your mastery of the twenty-five Course Standards. Each time you successfully demonstrate mastery of a Standard by correctly solving a relevant exercise, you will earn a Mastery Mark ✓. Up to two per Standard will be awarded, plus an additional 3✓ for Theory/Appliation (TA) Exercises, for a total of 53✓.

Letter grades are assigned based on how much content was learned by each student, measured by how many were earned.

  • A: 48✓
    • Midsemester goal: 16✓
  • B: 42✓
    • Midsemester goal: 14✓
  • C: 36✓
    • Midsemester goal: 12✓
  • D: 30✓
    • Midsemester goal: 10✓

Textbook and Resources

Much of the material for this course will be provided on this website. Optional homework will be referenced from Linear Algebra with Applications (2nd ed) by Jeffrey Holt and Elementary Linear Algebra with Applications (9th ed) by Kolman/Hill, but students are encouraged to focus their studies on the materials on the class website.

All students are highly encouraged to acquire a calculator that supports matrix manipulations: particularly row reduction on matri7ces up to \(6\times 6\) in size. Any calculator is allowed, as long as it does not support communication functionality or internet connectivity.


Teams will be organized near the beginning of the semester. Most class activities will be done within teams, allowing students to master the course standards in an environment where they may discuss topics and ask questions freely with their peers and the instructor.

Active/Inactive Students

By default all students are considered Active in the course. However, students that fail to sufficiently participate in the course (as described below) will be designated as Inactive. Inactive students lose certain privileges (as desecribed below).

Students may be returned to Active status by making an appointment and meeting with the instructor and discuss the issues that caused the student to fall into Inactive status. Reinstatement of Active status is at the discretion of the instructor.

Class Activities

On a typical day of class, each team will be seated at a table with a computer station and whiteboard. The instructor will provide slides that may be viewed at each station. Students will work through the material covered on these slides within their teams, with the support of the instructor as needed.

Slides describing Activities should be completed by each team on the provided whiteboard. All details must be shown on the whiteboard (not on personal notes or scratch paper), and the Activity’s number should also be marked. Each completed activity must be photographed and uploaded to Google Drive team folder provided by the instructor, to serve as notes for that team (including students that were absent that day).

Students that attend class but refuse to participate in completing Activities on the whiteboard or refuse to document solutions to Google Drive will become Inactive.

Readiness Assurance

Before each module of the course, students are given a list of materials for review. Readiness for that module will be assessed on a Readiness Assurance Test, first individually (iRAT), and then as a team (tRAT). High scores reflect sufficient preparedness for the module, while low scores demonstrate a need for further review.

Students that earn below a 70% average on an iRAT and tRAT will become Inactive.


Attendance will be taken daily. Generally, only absences that have been previously approved by the instructor or that are related to a medical issue (with accompanying documentation from a medical professional) will be considered excused.

Students that accumulate two consecutive unexcused absences will become Inactive.

Peer Evaluation Survey

Students will be asked to complete a Peer Evaluation Survey occasionally during the semester to evaluate their teammates. Students that receive excessive negative feedback will become Inactive.

Mastery Quizzes

As scheduled on the class Calendar, Active students will be asked to complete 25-minute Mastery Quizzes. Each standard covered in class will appear on the next two scheduled Mastery Quizzes. In addition, Active students will be offered several 55-minute Comprehensive Mastery Quizzes that include exercises for every standard covered in the class so far, with a limit to the number of solutions that may be submitted. All submissions are due by the end of the class period. Inactive students may take the quiz for practice, but their solutions may not be submitted.

Quizzes are randomized for each student based upon the most recent progress report; standards that have already been completely mastered by a student will not appear on the personalized quiz.

Marking Quizzes

Each submitted solution will be marked as follows:

  • Mastery Mark ✓: The solution demonstrates complete mastery of the given standard.
  • Revision Mark ✱: The solution might demonstrate complete mastery of the given standard, but needs to be revised for clarity/accuracy.
  • Issues Mark ⚠: The solution demonstrates partial understanding of the given standard, but has one or more issues that suggest that further study is required to develop complete mastery.
  • : The solution demonstrates negligible understanding of the given standard.

Only contribute to improving a student’s letter grade for the course; all other accumulated marks will be ignored at the end of the semester. So, a student who earns 42 and 3 throughout the semester will earn the same grade as a student who earns 42 and 300 .

Revising Solutions

A student may improve a solution marked as to by completing a Revision Form outside of class and submitting it on the date of the next assessment. A student submitting a Revision Form must skip the corresponding exercise on that assessment, if applicable.

This submission will be marked as usual, possibly earning another that the student should revise further. (Usually at most two revisions will be allowed per exercise.)

Office Reassessments

During office hours each week, Active students may submit a limited number of Office Forms. Students that satisfactorily meet the requirements given on this form will be given the opportunity to solve a new exercise on the instructor’s whiteboard that will be immediately marked. A student receiving a in this way must skip the corresponding exercise on the upcoming assessment, if applicable.

Note that availability for this opportunity may be limited due to student demand, particularly later in the semester.

Makeup Quiz

Students that miss one or more quizzes due to an excusable absence will be allowed to complete a Makeup Quiz in place of a scheduled Mastery Quiz near the end of the semester. The Makeup Quiz is the same format as a Comprehensive Mastery Quiz, except that the number of exercises that may be attempted is based upon how many quizzes were missed due to excusable absences.

Semifinal and Final Exam

The Semifinal is the same format as a Comprehensive Mastery Quiz, except that marks may not be revised, there is no limit to the number of exercises that may be attempted, and Inactive students are allowed to submit solutions.

The Final Exam is the same format as the Semifinal, except that students will have 120 minutes.

Up to five marks earned on the Semifinal and Final Exam (total, not each) will be automatically upgraded to .

In particular, solving exercises on the Semifinal and Final Exam has the same benefit as solving exercises on quizzes.

Theory/Application Exercises

Students that have completely mastered most of the standards covered so far in class are invited to make an appointment to meet with the instructor to work a Theory/Application Exercise demonstrating how to apply the course material to solve new problems.

All students will be given the opportunity to work TA exercises during the Semifinal and the Final Exam, based upon the applications covered during the final days of the course.

Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty is defined in USA’s Student Academic Conduct Policy. Any student who is caught cheating will immediately lose credit for all earned throughout the entire semester and will only be allowed to earn future on Comprehensive Mastery Quizzes, the Semifinal, and the Final Exam, which must be done by appointment in the instructor’s office. In addition, the incident will be reported to the university.

Any student who is caught cheating twice will automatically receive an F letter grade for the course.

USAOnline and USA Course Policies

The official syllabus for this course is available on USAOnline. Grade data will be provided to students via regular printed progress reports.

USA’s Course Policies apply to this course.