I’ve been working pretty single-mindedly on the 3+2 engineering agreement lately and so there haven’t been a lot of posts, well, on anything. But I’m going to be writing more about the textbook-free Modern Algebra course I’m doing this fall pretty soon, as that’s the next project up on my to-do list. In that spirit, here are some newly-posted free electronic textbooks that popped up on FreeTechBooks.com this morning:

- Elementary Linear Algebra by William Perry, Texas A&M University. Looks like a basic one-semester linear algebra textbook. I like the way Perry organized the book around five unifying problems in linear algebra (solving linear equations, constructing a basis for a vector space, constructing a matrix which represents a given linear transformation, finding eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and diagonalization). As you’ll be hearing from me in an upcoming post, having unifying questions threaded throughout a course is a great way to give the course shape and direction.
- Linear Algebra Done Wrong by Sergei Treil, Brown University. The title is a play on the title of this book, controversial in its day for its aggressive downplaying of determinants. This book is intended as a first course in linear algebra for students interested in a rigorous proof-oriented approach to the subject.
- Calculus: Applications and Theory by Kenneth Kuttler, Brigham Young University. From the introduction: “I have… tried to give complete proofs of all theorems in one variable calculus and to at least give plausibility arguments for those in multiple dimensions with complete proofs given in appendices or optional sections. I have done this because I am sick and tired of books which do not bother to present proofs of the theorems stated.”
- Multivariable Calculus: Applications and Theory by Kenneth Kuttler, Brigham Young University. It’s a multivariable book along the same lines as the single variable book above. However, I do not agree with the author’s statement: “Multivariable calculus is just calculus which involves more than one variable. To do it properly, you have to use some linear algebra. Otherwise it is impossible to understand.” But hey, it’s a free book — if you don’t like the author’s approach, just delete it from your hard drive and move on to something else. You haven’t lost any investment you’ve made.

Do take some time to browse FreeTechBooks.com — there are lots of free, and very well-written, books on all kinds of technical subjects there. It makes you wonder why we have students pay for print books sometimes.

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