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Dave Henry
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About These Notes
These notes provide a way for the author to get out some of the things that are stuck in his head. By doing so, you, the reader, are not only provided a glimpse into what it's like inside Dave's head, but also given an opportunity to contribute to it.

October 2009
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Dave Henry [userpic]
Question for the Math Wizards

Does it seem reasonable/possible that I'd be able to take Linear Algebra II without taking Linear Algebra I first? Or is that just madness, to be avoided at all costs?

U. Mass, Lowell only offers "I" during the fall, but I could take "II" in night school starting this month, but I'm not sure how much of a jump that is.

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I assume you have taken math classes that are proof dependent before?

If you are not familiar with matrix algebra I think it would be annoying to leap into II, but not undoable. If you are I think it would be fine, and that, looking at the description, Linear Algebra I would probably drive you bonkers.

(I also think I still have a good textbook for linear algebra, and/or that mathhobbit has good ideas on this subject.)

Edited at 2009-01-09 05:10 pm (UTC)

Yeah, if you can keep your eyes from glazing over when the prof talks about stuff like "the dimension of the eigenspace" and look it up after class you should be ok.

If you don't have time outside of class to fill in the gaps you'll be in trouble.

(My experience is that linear algebra is a painful exercise in notation and memorization until you grasp the underlying geometric concepts, after which it's all about translating the jargon and doing the arithmetic. I didn't go very deep, though, and I'm a very geometric person.)

Ah, for me it was a delightful interlude of nice logical algorithms in a sea of geometric courses. I am not, so much, a geometric person.

Do you have the option of signing up for both, going to the first few classes, then getting your money back from one of them? I think you'd figure out pretty quickly if you were at the right level or not.

For a specific class, it's hard to tell without a syllabus of some sort, but my general experience has been that if you spend several years out of academia, you don't ramp back up to your previous speed right away, and it can take a class or two before you remember how. I'd err on the side of slow; all you risk by going slow is getting a bit impatient, which is a lot better than getting in over your head.

Harvard Extension has a linear algebra class on Thursday evenings starting in a couple of weeks. It's in Cambridge, though, which is probably not as convenient as Lowell.

The idea of erring on the side of slow sounds like good advice. Thanks.

I'm looking in the Harvard Extension. Trying to figure out work's tuition assistance program's process.