
Re: Failing Linear Algebra:
Posted:
Apr 24, 2004 11:34 AM


Anonymous wrote: >I'm currently a math major and am taking linear algebra, but I'm in >serious danger of failing. I just don't get it! Is this newsgroup a >place to come to ask questions and get information about learning >math?
1) for informal curiosity questions, sci.math is great 2) if you expect the sci.math news group to help you consistently every week on your homework problems, it could happen but it depends on your doing a lot of the work first and being very conscientious in your requests for help.
>Or is there somewhere more appropriate to go?
Online? hmmm... there might be chatrooms but linear algebra seems at a level where a dedicated chatroom would be a little sparse. look for undergrad math tutoring or help.
> I've always had >trouble with vectors, and I think I fell apart sort of right at the >beginning of linear algebra (although, I did manage to get a B on the >very first exam). I've got another exam next week. What can I do? I >don't get all the terms, concepts, and jargon. Anyone know how to >make learning linear algebra easier and more practical?
Practical? do you mean like showing how it is useful? 1) the contrite answer is that it is useful for fulfilling the requirements of a degree in mathematics.
2) the liberal arts answer is that it is one of the pillars of the beautiful and wonderful human achievement that is mathematics (along with say differential/integral calculus, number theory, or logic). It permeates all of mathematics.
3) the plain answer is that it is used all the time in engineering.
The answer you probably want though is that to make linear algebra easier to understand (because it is all symbols, it's so abstract, you can lose sight of what it really means) is to try to give it an interpretation that is easier to think about. Usually geometrical/visual interpretations work best with linear algebra. Think of arrows in the plane or 3space as vectors, a linear transformation (multiplying by a matrix) as modifying a set of points, the determinant is what? eignevectors are what? similar matrices behave how?) etc. ask your TA or prof about these...er after the test.
>Anyone got any practice problems?
Online? possibly (google is your best bet here), but in real life, you can go to a university library and find "Schaum's outlines" or "thousand's of problems solved in" for linear algebra.
 Mitch (remove the q to respond)

