Math 220 Course Information

Introduction to Linear Algebra

Spring 2008

Instructor: Martha Wallace: OMH 103, x3408
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Class Information Form
Please Fill This Out By Noon on Sunday February 10

Text: Lay, Linear Algebra and its Applications, 3rd Edition or 3rd Edition, Updated

Other Required Tools:

Classroom Expectations: 
This expectations for student work in this class adhere to the College regulations for classroom standards in the Student Handbook.  In addition:

Homework Policy
With few exceptions, you will have two assignments due each day, both listed on the class  Moodle   page (login with your stolaf e-mail name and password). Computer Labs:
During the semester, we will have several computer labs (see the Tentative Syllabus for the current lab schedule) and some computer compontents of other assighments. These labs use the computer algebra system Maple 10. This program is available on the computers in SC 175 and OMH 108.   Some of the tests may have a take-home portion on which you will be expected to use Maple.  (If you want Maple on your own computer, check the class Moodle  page for information on purchasing a student edition.) <>

Disability Policy:
If you have a cognitive, physical or social/emotional disability needing academic accommodations please contact me within the first two weeks to discuss your needs. Additionally, you will need to register with Student Disability Services located at the Academic Support Center in Room 1 of the Old Main Annex. All such discussions will be confidential. Students with a disability who do not have an accommodation letter to present to me must also contact Ruth Bolstad ( ) or Connie Ford ( in Student Disability Services in the Academic Support Center (x3288) located in the back of the Modular Village.

There will be three in-class tests, one or possibly two in-class quizzes and an in-room final examination.  There may be out-of-class computer components of the tests and final exam.  In-class tests will be individual and will always allow calculator calculations, but no technology or other devices that could allow you to record or share questions, answers, or thoughts.  Out-of-class test components will have rules clearly delineated.  In all class work, you will be expected to follow college policy, particularly with respect to the Honor System and Plagiarism.

The grade you will earn in this course is determined by both your effort and your achievement.  The grading policy adheres to the college policy, in which levels of A, B, and C grades correspond respectively to superior, good, and adequate achievement.  See the end of this document for College Grade Benchmark Achievement Levels.  Points allotted to various course activities and grade earned by percent achievement are summarized here:

Point Allotment

Grade Earned
Components: Points:
Total Per Cent Earned
Minimum Grade
Homework, Labs and Quizzes 100-150 
90%  A- 
Tests 300
80%  B- 
Final 150 
65%  C- 

Below 65%
D or F, depending on evident effort and commitment

Total Possible 
550-600 points
Grade will be reduced one letter if fewer than 90% of Moodle Quizzes assignments are completed adequately. 

Important Dates
Events: Quiz and Test Dates are tentative
Quiz on 1.1-1.8
Test I
Test II
Test III
5/14  Last day of class
5/15 Reading Day
5/16 Math 220D: Final Exam: 9:00-11:00
5/21 Math 220A: Final Exam: 9:00-11:00


College Achievement Benchmarks

Grade Level Characteristics Ability
Superior Achievement
(A level):
The grade of A recognizes exceptional performance and achievement that exceeds course expectations and consistently demonstrates, where applicable, many of the following characteristics:
  • Thorough, deep, and mature understanding.
  • Genuine comprehension, insight, and synthesis.
  • Significant mastery of challenging topics and issues.
  • Extensive familiarity with relevant literature and previous work.
  • Highly developed communication skills.
  • Thorough preparation and extensive, thoughtful class participation.
  • Integration of knowledge, concepts, and principles across disciplines.
  • Originality of analysis and interpretation.
  • Technical competence in skills and procedures.
  • Precision of ideas and clarity of expression.
  • Thinking that is independent, creative, and focused.
  • Understanding of nuance and subtlety.
  • Consistent coherence in argument and discussion.
Students who receive the grade of A consistently demonstrate, where applicable, the ability to:
  • Analyze arguments using specific examples and original sources.
  • Think logically, draw inferences, and make predictions in complicated situations.
  • Communicate reasoning clearly and concisely.
  • Think abstractly.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in arguments, policies, and practices.
  • Integrate information to draw well-founded conclusions.
  • Connect course content to issues of other courses and world affairs.
  • Use models appropriately; recognize their strengths and accommodate their inherent limitations.
  • Foresee and evaluate consequences of proposed policies and actions.
  • Use technology creatively and effectively.
Good Achievement
(B level):

The grade of B recognizes work that meets course expectations and typically demonstrates, where applicable, many of the following characteristics:

  • Clear understanding without much originality
  • Competent grasp of course materials and subject matter
  • Familiarity with relevant literature
  • Competence in communication skills
  • Regular preparation for and participation in class
  • Integration of course knowledge, concepts and procedures
  • Some evidence of critical and creative thought
  • Clear connections between inferences and evidence
  • Care in the use of evidence and quotations with only occasional thinness in argument, detail, or precision.

Students who receive the grade of B typically demonstrate, where applicable, the ability to:

  • Extend ideas by connecting with personal experiences, reading, or world events.
  • Analyze data in various forms and from varied sources.
  • Utilize information to explain events, draw conclusions, and apply results.
  • Present comprehensive answers in a clear and logically correct style.
  • Understand and compare various models.
  • Distinguish inputs from outputs, and causes from effects.
  • Recognize consequences of complex interactions.
  • Use technology effectively.
Adequate Achievement
 (C level):

The grade of C recognizes work that is sufficient to prepare for continued study in the field and generally demonstrates, where applicable, some of the following characteristics:

  • Adequate grasp of course concepts
  • Partial mastery of knowledge and skills required for understanding
  • Incomplete familiarity with relevant readings or references
  • Writing that lists facts rather than develops well-reasoned arguments
  • Frequent neglect of important information
  • Partial appreciation of the meaning or implications of a question
  • Answers that are insufficiently developed
  • Minimally complete assignments with many areas for improvement.

Students who receive the grade of C generally demonstrate, where applicable, some ability to:

  • Assimilate and communicate simple knowledge and procedures,
  • Extend ideas by making simple inferences,
  • Make connections among and draw conclusions from course concepts,
  • Interpret simple information provided in various formats,
  • Organize and display data in tables and graphs,
  • Use technology competently.
Limited Achievement
 (D level):

The grade of D indicates a lack of readiness to continue in the field. Students’ work usually demonstrates, where applicable, some of the following characteristics:

  • Minimal understanding of the subject matter.
  • Poorly developed communication skills.
  • Inability to apply subject matter understanding in other contexts.
  • Little evidence of critical or creative thinking.
  • Lack of apparent seriousness.
  • Frequent carelessness in fulfilling assignments.

Inadequate Achievement

The grade of F indicates that course work is insufficient to merit academic credit. Students who receive an F usually demonstrate some of the following characteristics:

  • Inadequate understanding of subject matter.
  • Inadequate or inconsistent preparation.
  • Frequent failure to complete assignments in a timely manner.
  • Little evidence of critical thought.
  • Very poor communication skills.
  • Frequent misunderstanding of facts or references.
  • Little or no analysis.
  • Confused or incomprehensible writing.
  • Little or no work offering evidence that course objectives have been met.