Trent University, Fall 2009
Mathematics 1350H
Linear algebra I: matrix algebra

(Formerly Mathematics 135H.)

MATH 1350H is a first-year linear algebra half-course emphasizing basic concepts and computational techniques. It is normally followed up by MATH 2350H Linear algebra II: vector spaces.

Prerequisite: Any Grade 12U mathematics course with at least 60%, or equivalent. Anyone who wants to take MATH 1350H without having the prerequisite should contact the instructor.

Some useful general tips for first-year mathematics students are given in the pamphlet (in PDF format) Enjoying Math!

Instructor | Text | Marking | Meetings | Content | Honour | Help! | Aids | Inspiration | Handouts & Work | Other sources

Course Evaluation Form
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Exam Period Office Hours
Monday, 14 December, 10:00-12:00
Thursday, 17 December, 10:00-13:00
Monday, 21 December, 10:00-13:00
Pre-Exam Study Tea
Friday, 18 December
in GCS 338
Final Exam
Tuesday, 22 December
in CC Great Hall


Stefan Bilaniuk
office: GCS 337
hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 13:00-13:50, or by appointment, or just drop by.
phone: 705 748-1011 x7474
home phone: 705 742-7862 [Do not call between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. unless it's an emergency.]
e-mail: sbilaniuk{at}trentu{dot}ca


Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction (Second Edition), by David Poole
Thompson Brooks/Cole, 2006, ISBN 0-534-99845-3


Marking Scheme

There will be at least nine weekly quizzes, five or six fortnightly assignments, a test, and a final examination. Quizzes will normally be written weekly in the Friday lectures and last between ten and twenty minutes apiece. The assignments will usually be handed out and collected every two weeks in the Friday lectures. The test will last fifty minutes and will probably be written during the lecture period on Monday, 3 November. The final examination will last three hours and will be written during the examination period in December. These will weigh as follows in the final mark:

Best 8 quizzes (4% ea.) 32%
Best 4 assignments (5% ea.) 20%
Test 15%
Final Examination 33%

Students who miss the test or more than one quiz for reasons beyond their control should contact the instructor as soon as possible to arrange to write a make-up. Assignments will not normally be accepted after the due date; students unable to hand in the assignments in time for reasons beyond their control should contact the instructor as soon as possible. Note that there is no attendance requirement per se, but the consequences of missing classes are ultimately your responsibility to deal with.

This scheme may be modified for students in exceptional circumstances, such as a lengthy absence due to illness. Any such modification will require the agreement of both the student and the instructor.

Please note that a deadline given in the printed version of the Academic Calendar is incorrect: students actually have until 13 November, 2009, to drop Fall term half-courses without academic penalty.


MATH 1350H is an introductory course on linear algebra, with an emphasis on the geometrical and computational aspects of the subject. We will cover the core material from Chapters 1--4 of the text, namely:

  1. Vectors and operations on vectors, lines, and planes
  2. Systems of linear equations
  3. Matrices and operations on matrices
  4. Bases, subspaces, and dimension
  5. Linear transformations
  6. Eigenvalues and determinants

Additional material, including applications not given in the text, may be covered on assignments and in tutorials. We will not attempt to cover all of the applications that the text describes.


The obligatory statement concerning academic integrity reads as follows:

Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious academic offence and carries penalties varying from a 0 grade on an assignment to expulsion from the University. Definitions, penalties, and procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University's Academic Integrity Policy. You have a responsibility to educate yourself - unfamiliarity with the policy is not an excuse. You are strongly encouraged to visit Trent's Academic Integrity website to learn more - .

For clarity, the following guidelines will apply in MATH 1350H:

You are permitted and encouraged to study together and to work together on the assignments, consult any books or other sources you wish, and ask anyone willing (especially the instructor!) for hints, suggestions, and help. However, you must write up all work submitted for credit entirely by yourself, giving due credit to all relevant sources of help and information. No aid may be given or received on the quizzes, test, and final exam, except with the intructor's permission.


Subject to the conditions mentioned above, you can get help from a number of different sources, especially from each other and from the instructor. Other possibilities include:

In some circumstances you may also be eligible for special help or accommodation. The obligatory statement concerning access to instruction reads as follows:

It is Trent University's intent to create an inclusive learning environment. If a student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to succeed in this course, the student should contact the Disability Services Office (Bata Library Suite 109, 705 748-1281, disabilityservices{at}trentu{dot}ca) as soon as possible. Complete text can be found under Access to Instruction in the Academic Calendar.


You may use whatever calculators you wish. Symbolic computation software such as Maple or Mathematica may also come in handy when doing some of the assignments or to check your answers when studying. On the tests and exam, but not the quizzes, you may also bring one of the following:

Note that "personal response systems" such as clickers will not be used in MATH 1350H. Also, MATH 1350H will make only minimal use of myLearningSystem (a.k.a. WebCT); the main use will be to link to this page.


No doubt but magic may do much in this;
For he that reads but mathematic rules
Shall find conclusions that avail to work
Wonders that pass the common sense of men.

Robert Greene (from Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay)

Handouts & Work

Mostly in PDF format:

Stuff from previous years to practice on...

Other sources

There is fair bit of material available online about linear algebra; a brief selection follows:

Some linear algebra notes and texts available online

Some other linear algebra references and resources online

[Math logo]Department of Mathematics  [Trent crest]Trent University
Maintained by Stefan Bilaniuk. Last updated 2009.12.19.