Math 256A

Discrete Structures
and Linear Algebra

Spring, 2005
#### Syllabus

## Course Topics

In this course we explore various types of logical statements, methods
of proof, and fundamental ideas of linear algebra. Our texts (there
are two) are Kenneth H. Rosen, **Discrete Mathematics and Its
Applications**, 5th Edition, in which we will cover Sections
1.1-1.5, 2.4-2.6, 3.1(?) and 3.3, and **Elementary Linear Algebra**,
3rd Edition, by Stephen Andrilli and David Hecker, in which we cover
most of the first five chapters (except perhaps Section 5.5).

Among the many objectives of this course, some of the most important
are
- To introduce you to the concept of mathematical proof.
- To provide you with practice writing proofs at a level appropriate
for students making the transition from freshman to upper division
mathematics courses.
- To expose you to structures and concepts which are foundational
to advanced study in mathematics and/or computer science.
- To expose you to applications in which these structures and concepts
prove to be of use.

My office is NH 281. The hours
I am intentionally in my office for student
questions are posted on my homepage,
and are subject to change during the semester. If we
cannot hook up at one of these times, feel free to
talk with me about an appointed time to meet, or swing
by my office in the hopes that I am available to help.
If you feel yourself falling behind in the class, it
is very important not to put things off, but to seek
help right away. Do not wait until a time close to an
exam before speaking with me.
I may be reached by phone at x66856, but a better way
to reach me is by email.
If you require my approval for something, do
**not** consider having left a message for me
as equivalent to having obtained that approval.

A good deal of computer use will be expected of you in this
course. Generally speaking, daily homework assignments and other
course information are available on the the web, and **it is your
responsibility to access this information online**. (I strongly
urge you to download and use
Mozilla's Firefox web browser for this purpose instead of
Microsoft Internet Explorer, as the latter will frequently
look in the wrong place for files and then say they cannot be found.)
While many announcements, hints, etc. may be given in class, things
that cannot wait until the next class period will be
sent to you as email messages. Thus, **it is important that
you be checking your email daily**, preferably later in the day.
I have requested a class email list to which you can send
messages at
math256a@calvin.edu
Any mail sent to this address will be received by all
members of the class (including me). You may use it
as a forum for discussing assigned problems, topics that
came up in class, etc.

## Academic Integrity

You may borrow someone's idea for solving a problem, but the words must
be yours. When it is the case that you have taken an idea from another
source, indicate this on your write-up (i.e., give the person's
name if a member of the class, the url of the pertinent website, etc.).
All assignments (except for projects
specifically assigned in groups) are to be written up separately on
your own. Give as much attention to presenting your solutions in
a coherent manner (using mathematical symbols as part of your
sentence structure) as you give to actually solving problems,
as it is the explanation of each problem that is graded (not simply
the answer itself). Handing in another's writeup (even on homework)
will be considered **academic dishonesty**. (See Section
4.2.8 of the Faculty Handbook.)

Each of the following will be components of your overall grade:
assignments (graded for correctness), exams (there will be
three — see the course calendar for
their dates), and a cumulative final.
Homework will be assigned on a daily basis and usually collected
twice per week. I will do what I can to see that it is marked in a
timely fashion, at which time I will place it in a folder marked
“graded homework” in the box outside my office where
you may pick it up at your convenience. There is a corresponding
“new homework” folder, in which you may place homework
that is to be collected that day. I consider it late if it has
already been collected by the grader by the time you place it
in the folder, so the safest thing is to hand it in at the end
of class. Homework that is late may receive only 75% of
the score it would have received otherwise, and that only if
it is handed in before the others of the set have been returned.

At semester's end, I will compare your grade on the final
exam with what you have received on the three
in-class exams. If the final is better, then I will replace
the worst of these with the final exam grade. Make every attempt to
be present to take exams on the days they are scheduled, as make-ups
are offered only under extreme and rare circumstances (low airfares
and family vacations are not considered to fall into these categories,
for instance), and only with prior approval.

Reasonable academic accomodations will be made for individuals with
documented disabilities. Any student who this concerns should notify
one of the coordinators for services for students with disabilities
in the Center for Student Success, Spoelhof College Center 360.
That student should also meet with me during the first two weeks of
the semester to discuss academic accomodations.

Please speak with me about problems or issues as they arise during the
semester, so that you do not get behind. I would also be glad to hear
your comments about how the class is going, giving us the chance to
understand one another's goals and make changes in the course when it
seems appropriate.

This page maintained by:
Thomas L. Scofield

Department of Mathematics and Statistics,
Calvin College

Last Modified:
Tuesday, 01-Feb-2005 14:07:08 EST