Rob Beezer's A First Course in Linear Algebra is a high-quality OER. It is largely compatible with our CCOGs, but it is missing applications. In the coming months, math faculty will add application content to both this book and Rob's A Second Course in Linear Algebra, so that an OER package for MTH 261 may be considered for adoption. If you are interested in assisting with this effort, please contact Alex Jordan, who is organizing the contributions.

Background about these books

Rob wrote A First Course in Linear Algebra as his first project using xml to write the source. By using xml for the source, you can simultaneously achieve a myriad of output formats, including the web version and the various pdf versions. His experience led him to create Mathbook, a streamlined system for creating books like this. And he began working on A Second Course in Linear Algebra using Mathbook. FCLA does not use Mathbook, and is therefore less easy to add content to. Plus, Rob would like to accept our contributions into the larger book, but is trying to keep FCLA at its current size. So we think it would be best to add our applications content to SCLA. We would write them so that only FCLA background would be needed, not the fancier linear algebra that is in SCLA.

Topics to add

After surveying the 261 instructors, the topics that matter most to us are:

 Who is working on it (If someone has signed up for something, but you would also like to help with the same topic, please feel free to contact that person to see if you can collaborate.)
Markov chainsGowri Meda
Least squares and curve fitting (already in SCLA, although we could look to see if we want to add to it)Phil Thurber
Principle axes for quadric surfacesAlex Jordan
Linear recursion relationsAlex Jordan (finished)
Exponentiation of matrices 
Path components of digraphs 
Computer graphicsRalf Youtz
Linearization of nonlinear systems 
Fourier series approximation of periodic functionsPhil Thurber

If you'd like to sign up to write content for one of these sections, this table will help us make sure that no one is duplicating work. Your content will be credited in the book. There is no need to write anything in any particular format. You could even give me (Alex) lecture notes on paper, and I'll code it into xml. You can include pictures and diagrams that I will make electronic versions of. What would help most is to give me examples and exercises. You don't need to provide solutions to exercises unless you want to; I will add that as I code the content.


I don't have a timeline for this. It's volunteer work, so it might happen slowly. However once we have a candidate product, the 261 committee needs to review it, the SAC needs to vote to adopt it, and the bookstore needs to be notified in time for the relevant term. I think a Fall 2015 or Winter 2016 adoption would be reasonable.


I'll periodically post progress up at, where you should focus on the Applications section. This will be where we keep edits to SCLA. Separately, a similar copy of FCLA will also be up on spot, and I'll be making modifications to include more imagery there.

  • No labels