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Teaching Of Essential Matlab Commands In Applied Mathematics Course For Engineering Technology

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Simulation and Virtual Instrumentation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1365.1 - 12.1365.15

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Paper Authors

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Ganapathy Narayanan University of Toledo

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Teaching of Essential MATLAB Commands in Applied Mathematics Course for Engineering Technology


The teaching of applied mathematics for students in the Engineering Technology (ET) curriculum is always a challenge in terms of imparting the essential mathematical knowledge for use in changing technological environments. In this paper, essential MATLAB commands in the applied mathematics course for ET students are emphasized. Of several useful commands available in MATLAB, only a select few, important and essential, commands are introduced to enhance the understanding of the applied mathematical subject. In addition, this introduction of essential MATLAB commands provides useful knowledge for ET students of the current and the future technological approach to solve similar applied mathematical problems. The MATLAB commands that are taught in the applied mathematics course are identified in this paper. In addition, this paper gives notes on the use of each of these MATLAB commands through several mathematical examples. The effects on the student's understanding of and on the enthusiasm developed with the subject by such a teaching of these essential MATLAB commands are also discussed in this paper.


In this paper, the subject of MATLAB commands pertaining to the Applied Mathematics course is discussed. Several textbooks exist for teaching Applied Mathematics1 and the use of MATLAB2-5. The teaching of the use of a select few MATLAB commands in conjunction with the subject matter of the Applied Mathematics is undertaken in the ‘Applied Engineering Mathematics’ course offered to the Engineering Technology (ET) students at the University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio. The discussion is limited to a select few MATLAB commands as applicable to this applied mathematics course, and as to how these commands help in imparting the subject of applied mathematics for ET students.

Several difficulties exist, both for undergraduate ET students in terms of understanding the applied mathematics subject, and for the instructor in imparting the applied mathematical knowledge required, to make students understand mathematical concepts and applied differential equations with its solutions, within the semester time-frame. The 30 class hours (one semester) are not sufficient for the instructor to make ET students understand and digest the subject matter in order to make them proficient in applied mathematical analysis. Such a difficulty due to time shortage cannot be avoided even if the course teaching hours are extended. This course is both symbolic-intensive and numerical-intensive in terms of the applied mathematical analysis. If symbolic tools and other computational aids are not made available, all students get bogged down usually with many intermediate steps while solving for even the simplest ordinary differential equation, and/or while producing appropriate solution plots manually that are of interest. The MATLAB software, with its applied mathematical commands in its tool-box, rescues the instructor and students in this course with many advantages for both, especially for the ET student. Of course, some special virtual laboratory time need to be spent by students to get trained in the use of these select MATLAB applied mathematics commands.


Narayanan, G. (2007, June), Teaching Of Essential Matlab Commands In Applied Mathematics Course For Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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