Guidelines for Problem Sets
Math 221 Linear Algebra, Fall 2023

One of the central goals of the course is that you improve your ability to communicate mathematics clearly, both in writing and verbally. Learning to write precise and complete mathematical arguments is a challenging endeavor and may be somewhat different from your experiences in previous math courses. However, the process will not only aid your mathematical development but can also greatly improve your clarity of thought in other disciplines as well.

The Problem Set exercises are usually more conceptual and less straight-forward than the problems you will work on during the class meetings. I firmly believe that one of the best ways to build your understanding of mathematics is to explore the ideas with other students. Therefore, you will work on the Problem Sets in groups of two (or possibly three), and each group will turn in a single set of solutions. I will randomly assign new groups for every problem set.

Guidelines for Working in Groups

Format for the Write-ups

I have high expectations for the organization and presentation of your Problem Sets. I am not being unnecessarily annoying about this. Learning to carefully organize your thoughts and clearly communicate them is one of the most important skills you will learn in college.

Evaluation of Problem Sets

You should always have a target audience in mind whenever you write. Here is a good rule of thumb to follow for your Problem Sets:

Write your solutions so that you could hand them to a student who previously took Linear Algebra and she would be persuaded that your solution is correct and that your conclusions are believable.

There are three types of errors* that frequently occur:

Each problem will be graded on a scale of 0-5 with the following criteria:

In addition, 2 points on your individual problem set are based on whether or not you fill out the Peer Evaluation(s).

Remember that the purpose of all of the assignments and activities in the course is to help you learn Linear Algebra and develop as a mathematician!