Math 215 - Linear Algebra

Books and Online Resources

We will follow a draft of a Linear Algebra book that I am writing: Current version.

For an excellent overview of the core ideas of Linear Algebra (with high-quality visualizations), I strongly recommend the video series Essence of Linear Algebra by 3Blue1Brown.

In addition, I encourage you to consult other books and online resources to help learn the material, as these sources provide different perspectives on the subject. For linear algebra books, I recommend the following:

We will also spend a significant portion of time learning how to write mathematical proofs. For additional references on mathematical writing and notation, I recommend the following:

For general advice on making the transition from a computational perspective of mathematics to a more conceptual understanding (including how to think logically and how to write mathematics), consider reading the following:

Administrative Information
Instructor Joe Mileti
Email miletijo ~at~ grinnell ~dot~ edu
Office Noyce 2514
Office Hours Monday 9:30 - 10:30
Tuesday 3:00 - 4:30
Thursday 1:00 - 2:00
Friday 1:30 - 2:30
Also By Appointment
Class Time MWF 11:00 - 11:50
Classroom Noyce 2517
Course Mentor Sara Huang
Mentor Session Times Sunday 5:00 - 6:00
Tuesday 7:00 - 9:00
Thursday 6:00 - 7:00
Mentor Session Room Noyce 2243

Course Objectives


There will be two different types of homework assignments:


Throughout the semester, there will be a few additional assignments that ask you to reflect on how you are approaching the material in this class. They are designed to help you figure out what works for you, what does not work for you, and how to adjust your learning practices as a result. These assignments will only be graded on the basis of completion and thoughtfulness.


There will be three in-class exams and a scheduled three-hour final exam.

In-class exams dates: February 19, April 3, and April 29.

Final exam date: Thursday, May 16 at 2:00.


Problem Sets 15%
Writing Assignments 10%
Reflections 5%
In-class Exams 15% each
Final 20%
Engagement 5%


If you want to learn how to present your work professionally, as well as keep digital records, I recommend learning how to typeset your solutions. LaTeX is a wonderful free typesetting system which produces high-quality documents at the cost of only a small amount of additional effort (beyond the nontrivial start-up cost of learning the fundamentals). If you plan to do any kind of mathematical or scientific writing in the future, you will likely use LaTeX, so it is worth your time to familiarize yourself with it. Feel free to ask me questions about how to use LaTeX, and/or to send you the LaTeX file for homework assignments.

Academic Honesty

Consult the general Grinnell College policy on Academic Honesty and the associated booklet for general information.

Homework: If you enjoy working in groups, I strongly encourage you to work with others in the class to solve the homework problems. If you do collaborative work or receive help form somebody in the course, you must acknowledge this on the corresponding problem(s). Writing "I worked with Sam on this problem" or "Mary helped me with this problem" suffices. You may ask students outside the course for help, but you need to make sure they understand the academic honesty policies for the course and you need to cite their assistance as well. Failure to acknowledge such collaboration or assistance is a violation of academic honesty.

If you work with others, your homework must be written up independently in your own words. You cannot write a communal solution and all copy it down. You cannot read a solution (from another person, a website, etc.) and alter it slightly in notation/exposition. Discussing ideas and/or writing parts of computations together on whiteboards or scratch paper is perfectly fine, but you need to take those ideas and write the problem up on your own. Under no circumstances should you look at another student's completed written work.

I encourage you to look at other books or online sources for additional help in understanding concepts and ideas, but you must cite other books or online sources if they provide you with an idea that helps you solve a problem. However, you may not do any of the following:

Exams and Final: You may neither give nor receive help. Books, written notes, computers, phones, and calculators are not permitted at any time during a testing period.


I encourage students with documented disabilities to discuss reasonable accommodations with me so that they can fully participate in the course. Students will also need to have a conversation with, and provide documentation of your disability to, the Coordinator for Disability Resources, Jae Baldree, located on the first floor of Steiner Hall (x3089).

Religious Observations

I encourage students who plan to observe holy days that coincide with class meetings or assignment due dates to consult with me as soon as possible so that we may reach a mutual understanding of how you can meet the terms of your religious observance and also the requirements for this course.

Unsolicited Advice