Saint Michael's College

Abstract Algebra MA 406 A

Fall 2004

 Instructor: Joanna Ellis-Monaghan (please call me Jo)

Office: STE 217A


Phone: 654-2660

Office Hours: By appointment Tuesdays 9:00- 10:00 am, Fridays 11:30 am- 12:20 pm.

Text: Contemporary Abstract Algebra, Fifth Edition, by Joseph A. Gallian. There are on-line student resources for the text available at

Class notes: Since we have a smartboard equipped room, I will try to post the class notes after each class here: SmartBoard Class Notes.

Class Web Page: You can find a link to the class web page on my home page at .  I will post class communications here (a copy of this handout for example). This also where I would post any practice exams or on-line resources. I will also use this page to notify you in the case of class cancellation, homework hints, answers to frequently asked project questions, or grade postings. You need to check it regularly.

Course Software: We will be using Maple and software written specifically to accompany our text.

Study groups: You may form your own study group (2-4 people) or wait for me to assign you to one. You are encouraged to study/work together—prepare for exams, discuss homework and software applications, but each person must turn in individual work.

Homework: Homework is due two class periods after each chapter is finished. A few of the sections include explorations using course software developed by the author of the text at  This software generally allows you to quickly explore many small examples without the tedium of computing the numbers by hand.

Homework must conform to the following:

  1. Your name in the upper right hand corner of each page.
  2. Stapled (not folded or paper-clipped) in the upper left hand corner.
  3. Problems and sections in order, with answers checked.
  4. Problems neatly done, no scratch-outs, with all work shown! No credit for answers only.
  5. Writing on one side of the paper only.
  6. Most importantly, proofs must be carefully constructed, logically coherent, and grammatically correct.
  7. The solutions must be presented professionally.  This means clear writing and explicit references to any theorems or definitions needed.  The best models for the style of writing required are the proofs and examples given in the text.

Midterm Exam:  There will be a midterm exam at some convenient breaking point around the middle of the term.  It will consist of a short inclass portion (straight forward computations) and a more interesting take home portion. To make up for the take home time, there will be no class on some day to be determined.   

Final Exam: The exam will be on December 17--although this is negotiable for a small class.   Like the midterm, it will consist of a short inclass portion (straight forward computations) and a more interesting take home portion. The inclass portion will be from 9-11:30, and the take home portion will be due at that time.

Grading: homeworkó45%, midterm--25%, final exam--30%.


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