Choosing an Introductory Linear Algebra Text

General Approaches

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General Approaches

Some factors to consider when choosing a linear algebra text, as seen by David Hill, Temple University Mathematics Professor:

There are number of routes to take in today's linear algebra instruction. Basically you can use a book like Kolman, Anton, or Lay and cover things in a more or less traditional lecture form with a smattering of applications and theory; OR you can use such a book together with LAB materials that employ a computational package such as MATLAB (there are several lab manuals on the market); OR you can be radical and use an interactive text in a mode in which there are no lectures, at least formal lectures, and the students are expected to develop the majority of the concepts on their own with guidance provided by interaction with the electronic text (there are several of these on the market). This breaks down to a fundamental decision on your part:

Lectures alone OR lectures + a LAB OR all LAB (very little lecturing)

Your decision must take into account your comfort level in using technology for instruction in linear algebra. I suspect your student will adapt to whatever you choose. The other factor is your time. Teaching with technology takes more of your time both in preparation and in homework and grading. You must weigh things for your situation.

David Hill
davehill@vm.temple.edu

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28 May 1996