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Math 18 Winter 2019: Course Syllabus

Course:  Math 18

Title:  Linear Algebra

Credit Hours:  4 (Students may not receive credit for both Math 18 and Math 31AH.)

Prerequisite:  Math Placement Exam qualifying score, or AP Calculus AB score of 2, or SAT II Math 2C score of 600 or higher, or Math 3C, or Math 4C, or Math 10A, or Math 20A, or consent of instructor.

Catalog Description:  Matrix algebra, Gaussian elimination, determinants, linear and affine subspaces, bases of Euclidean spaces.  Eigenvalues and eigenvectors, quadratic forms, orthogonal matrices, diagonalization of symmetric matrices.  Applications.  Computing symbolic and graphical solutions using Matlab.

Textbook: Linear Algebra and Its Applications, fifth edition, by David C. Lay; published by Pearson (Addison Wesley).  This is the textbook available at the UC San Diego bookstore.  If you choose to purchase it elsewhere, be aware that you need MyMathLab access, which is included with the bookstore version of the textbook (but not with all versions).  Note: you may also forego the physical textbook and just purchase a MyMathLab access code directly from MyMathLab the first time you login (see TritonEd below); this includes access to the ebook version of the textbook.

Subject Material:  We shall cover parts of Chapters 1-6 of the text.

Reading Assignments:  Reading and doing the examples in the sections of the textbook corresponding to our discussions in lecture will help you learn and understand the course material better.  If you work through the relevant examples in the book before you start your homework problems, you will probably solve the homework problems more easily and perform better on your exams than if you do not do the reading.  Your reading assignments are on the course calendar; for example, 1.2 is written on January 7, so your assignment is to read section 1.2 before our class meeting that day.

TritonEd and MyMathLab:  We will use TritonEd for two purposes in this class: to disseminate grades, and as a portal to MyMathLab, the online homework system associated to the textbook, through which you will submit your online homework.  Here are the steps to access your online course materials for the first time:

  1. Sign into TritonEd and enter your Math 18 course.
  2. Click "MyMathLab" at the top of the main menu column on the left.
  3. Click the "MyMathLab with Pearson eText Course Home".  The first time you click this link, you will be prompted to create an account with Pearson, and then you will have three choices: enter an access code (that you have already purchased) OR purchase an access code OR use the free fourteen day trial period.

Homework:  Homework is a very important part of the course, and in order to fully master the topics, it is essential that you work carefully on every assignment and try your best to complete every problem.  We will have two different kinds of homework assignments in this class: online homework and written homework.

MATLAB:  In applications of linear algebra, the theoretical concepts that you will learn in lecture are used together with computers to solve large scale problems.  Thus, in addition to your written homework, you will be required to do homework using the computer language MATLAB.  The Math 18 MATLAB Assignments page contains all information relevant to the MATLAB component of Math 18, including due dates.  You can do the homework on any campus computer that has MATLAB, and you can also make use of UCSD's MATLAB site license to install MATLAB on your own computer by visiting the MATLAB for UCSD Students page.  Questions regarding the MATLAB assignments should be directed to the TAs.  There are also tutors available beginning Thursday or Friday of the first week of classes in B432 of AP&M. Please upload your MATLAB homework assignments to Gradescope by the due date according to the instructions found on the Math 18 MATLAB Assignments page.  Note:

Electronic Computing Devices:  Graphing calculators and computer programs (or online computing websites such as Wolfram Alpha) can be very helpful when working through your homework.  However, a calculator/computer should be used as an aid in the learning concepts, not just as a means of computation.  You should use these devices when working on math problems at home, but always keep in mind that you will not be allowed access to any electronic computing devices during exams or quizzes.  Of course, this also means that you will not be asked to solve problems on exams or quizzes that require the aid of an electronic computing device.  

Homework Help:  You can get help with the homework assignments in the Calculus Tutoring Lab at the Teaching and Learning Commons.

Homework Help (Piazza):  Piazza is an online discussion forum that allows you to ask questions using mathematical symbols and expressions.  Piazza was designed to enable you to get help quickly and efficiently from classmates, TAs, and instructors.  Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, you are encouraged to post your questions on Piazza.  Find our class page at:  If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

Quizzes:  There will be two in-class quizzes; see the Course Calendar for the specific dates. Please note:

If you violate the instructions of a quiz or communicate in any way with any other student during a quiz, you will receive a zero on that quiz.

Midterm Exam:  There will be one midterm examination, see the Course Calendar for the specific date.  Please note:

If you violate the instructions of the midterm or communicate in any way with any other student during the midterm, you will receive a zero on the midterm.

Final Exam:  The final exam will be held from 8:00am-11:00am on Saturday, March 16.  Please note:

If you violate the instructions of the final or communicate in any way with any other student during the final, you will receive a zero on the final, which means that you will fail the class.

Grades: Your cumulative average will be the best of the following three weighted averages:

After your weighted average is calculated, letter grades will be assigned based on the standard grading scale:

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C-
93 90 87 83 80 77 73 70

We may adjust the above scale to be more lenient (depending on the overall class performance), but we guarantee that we will not adjust the scale to make it harder to get a better grade.  Please note: You must pass the final examination in order to pass the course.

Gradescope: You will submit your written and Matlab homework using an online tool called Gradescope (  Exams and quizzes will also be scanned and uploaded to Gradescope and will be graded within it.  As a consequence, exams will not be returned to the students.  Instead, a digital version of your exams will be made available after the grading has been completed.  An email will be sent from Gradescope when the exams are made available.

Regrades:  Regrade requests can be made using the built-in regrade request feature in Gradescope.  The regrade request feature will be available for forty-eight hours after the exam/homework grades are published; after that, it will not be possible to request a regrade.

Suggestions:  Below are some suggestions that we hope will help you to succeed in this course:

Academic Dishonesty:  Academic dishonesty is considered a serious offense at UCSD.  Students caught cheating will face an administrative sanction which may include suspension or expulsion from the university.  It is in your best interest to maintain your integrity. (Click here for more information.)

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