Peter Blomgren
San Diego State University
Math 254 – Introduction to Linear Algebra Fall 2017
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Video: You are looking at projections of a 4-dimensional cube, onto your 2-dimensional screen. The movement is due to the fact that we are projecting onto varying 2D planes. How to compute projections is one of the things we will cover in this class. You can see a different projection of the 4D cube in this YouTube video, and if 4D is not enough, here, you go!
If the embedded video does not work, here are direct links: [mp4, webm, mpeg]

16 Weeks of Linear Algebra...

... you won't believe what happens in week #6!
#buzzfeedNation :-P



I have given in to the Dark Side, and this course will have some Blackboard components. Mainly we will use:

  1. The Gradebook,
  2. Announcements, and
  3. Mediasite Lecture Recordings will be posted there.
    — Yes, all the lectures are being captured and posted so you can rewatch (or watch) as anytime.
  4. Doing the Right Stuff (DRS)
    — A metric based upon the activities faculty recommend as important for student success in this course. The DRS score is calculated, weighted, and posted in the grade book each week. The DRS score is not calculated into the course grade, but paying attention to the DRS column in the Blackboard grade book is encouraged. The DRS score is NOT visible to the professor!
  5. Link to the Supplemental Instruction (SI) calendar.

Class Website

The main class website resides at
There are quite a few things available there:

  1. The LECTURE SLIDES are linked from the schedule
  2. The Most Up-To-Date version of the "syllabus"
  3. The Most Up-To-Date version of the class schedule
  4. "Learning Glass" video recordings of many of the "suggested problems." (Note that new recordings may be added both here, and/or on Blackboard/Mediasite during the semester).
  5. Class "Expectations"
  6. Class "Grading Scheme"
  7. FREE is the best of all prices; so if you are less than stoked about the textbook (and/or my lectures) check out the External FREE Textbook and Video Lecture Resources


We will be using the iClicker platform for quick in-class interactions (mini-quizzes). Reference: Clicker @ SDSU (Instructional Technology Services)

You are responsible for bringing your device every day. Your remote may already be registered if you used it in a previous semester. You can double-check by following the steps below for registration to see if you already have a remote registered.

To receive clicker credit in the course, your remote must be registered to you.

Enter any course [in Blackboard] then from the course navigation menu on the left, go to:

Tools => i>clicker Registration => Enter your remoteID (on the back of the remote) => Submit

Successful registration generates a registration date and a success message. IF YOU DO NOT SEE A DATE, YOUR CLICKER IS NOT REGISTERED!! Once registered, your i>clicker2 remote can be used in all classes that require clickers and should not need to be re-registered.

"But iClickers suck!!!" — No "interaction system" is perfect, and it is not easy to make a large (160–240 students) class truly interactive... There certainly are newer and more glamorous systems; the big advantage of the iClickers is that [updated for Fall 2017] 82% of the students registered for the class already have an iClicker, thus the cost is low. For the remaining 18%, the most cost effective thing to do is to either get a used iClicker, or use the reef polling app.


The Homework Server (WeBWork) is not yet up Target: Up by Friday [Second Week of Class].

Your password is: your Red ID
Your Username is your Lastname (most of the time)

Exceptions: If there are two students with the same last name, then the Usernames are LastnameF, where F is the first letter of your first name. If your Lastname on record is Hammer Head then your Username is HammerHead; if your Lastname on record is Shark-Food then your Username is SharkFood. (Note capitalization.) If you are still confused... ask.


[... Information to be added ...]

Contact Information


Peter Blomgren
blomgren DOT peter AT gmail DOT com
Class hours: MW 12:00p –1:15p, WC-220
Office hours: MW 2:30p – 3:30p, TuTh 12:30p – 1:30p (GMCS-587), and by appointment.
SI Hours: MW 1:30p – 3:00p (SSW-2660, Alyssa); TuTh 9:00a &ndashk 10:30a (SSW-2660, Erick). Calendar

Supplemental Instruction (SI) Hours

Study sessions are offered for this course and multiple SI sessions will be offered each week. Supplemental Instruction is an academic assistance program which provides peer-led group study sessions to assist students in traditionally difficult courses. Check out the [SI Calendar]

SI sessions are facilitated by an SI leader who has already mastered the course material and has been trained to facilitate group sessions where students can meet to improve their understanding of course material, review and discuss important concepts, develop study strategies and prepare for exams. SI is for everyone, and open to all students enrolled in this class; not just those students who are struggling. Attendance at SI sessions is free and voluntary. Students who attend SI sessions weekly typically earn higher final course and exam grades than students who do not participate in SI. Please bring your lecture notes, books, and questions with you to the SI sessions.

The schedule for SI study sessions for this class are available by clicking on the Supplemental Instruction link on the left-hand navigation on the Blackboard home page. For additional information about SI, please visit:

TA Office Hours

Sidney, GMCS-528, Tu 1:30p – 3:20p, Fr 8:00a – 9:50a.

The Book, and Other Resources

Required Text and Reading Materials:

Introduction to Linear Algebra (fifth edition), Gilbert Strang, Wellesley-Cambridge Press / Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2016, ISBN-10 0-980-23277-5, ISBN-13 978-0-980-23277-6

Errata: None known.

Course Outline (Topics)

Linear Equations, Vectors, Linear Transformations, Subspaces of ℜn and Their Dimensions, Orthogonality and Least Squares, Determinants, Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, 8–Symmetric Matrices and Quadratic Forms.
[To Be Revised]

Alternative Editions of The Book?!?

"Can I Use a Different Edition of the Book?" — Probably, but the 5th edition is a MAJOR OVERHAUL from the 4th...

Class website

In particular, the lecture slides!

The Textbook Costs 250+ Tacos!

(Spring 2017:) I have adopted a new text book [Gilbert Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra, Fifth Edition (2016)], which not only is supposed to be better, but it is also less expensive than the old one. ($86.25* vs. $200.00+)

Surveys have shown that 66% of students skip buying at least one textbook due to it being too expensive. Of those students 94% feel that they suffer(ed) academically from this choice.

I has also included links to some the External FREE Textbook and Video Lecture Resources section on the website. Notably, you can watch Gil Strang's lectures (recorded in 1999) for free!

Campus Resources and Information

Math Learning Center

The SDSU Math Center is in the Love Library, Room LL-328. The goal of this center is to provide a central location for students from all lower division mathematics and statistics courses to find free, on-demand tutoring. We encourage students who have any questions about their work to drop in for one-on-one, group, or class-based workshop instruction with tutors who know the topics, the instructors, the online homework systems, and the best ways to study.

Hours of operation are: M-Th 9:00 am -6:00 pm, Friday 9:00 - 3:00 pm, and Sundays, 2:00 - 5:00 pm. [NOT UPDATED FOR FALL 2017]

Students with Disabilities:

If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact Student Disability Services at (619)594-6473. To avoid any delay, please contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive, and cannot be provided until an accommodation letter from Student Disability Services is received by the Professor.


As of Spring 2016, Crashing has been replaced by the Waitlist. Note that professors have VERY LITTLE power over the waitlist, most of the action is "automatic."

General Course Information

Catalog description

Matrix algebra, Gaussian elimination, determinants, vector spaces, linear transformations, orthogonality, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors.

  • 1. Math 151 (Calculus II) — Grade C or better required.


Mandatory problems collected online using WeBWorK. Approximately one assignment per chapter (8-10 assignments). [details TBA]

Recommended problems (not collected) will be also be assigned.

The WeBWork problems are somewhat simplisitic — solving only these problems WILL NOT prepare you for the exams! Do attack the "suggested problems" – they are suggested for a reason! (And do check out the learning glass video solutions)

Syllabus / Schedule Modifications

I reserve the right to modify the syllabus / schedule as needed to work around unforseen events, etc. Announcements may be sent out via Blackboard; and PLEASE make it a point to regularly check the calendar.

Copyright © 2017 Peter Blomgren.