[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Teaching Using Octave

From: Steve C. Thompson
Subject: Re: Teaching Using Octave
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 21:41:46 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

Prof. Burke,

I just wanted to commend you for considering GNU Octave for teaching.
This is a very good idea for many reasons.  As you probably know, the
GNU Octave Manual is available for $30.  Requiring this manual for the
class would be a great way to help free software (and at $30, it is
relatively cheap for a textbook).

Will the students have a lab with computers running Octave or will they
have to install the program themselves.  Depending on their computer
proficiency, installation might be an issue.  I don't have experience
with Octave on Microsoft Windows (I use Octave on Debian GNU/Linux,
which installs with ``apt-get install octave'').  Chances are the
majority of the students, if they have a computer, will be running MS
Windows.  So the ease of install on this platform might be a issue.

Assuming the students have a working version of Octave, then they just
need to learn how to use it.  The Octave Manual should give them plenty
of guidance.  Possibly you can allocate 5 minutes per lecture about how
to use a certain command.  ``Today class, I'm going to tell you about
the hist command.''  I would tell the students to subscript to this
list, address@hidden, for two reasons:  they can use it to ask
questions, and they can learn about the community of users helping users
and about free software.  Tell them to look at if they get stuck, and tell them to
help each other (of course, making it clear than they have to turn in
work that is there own).

I don't have any first hand experience with this topic, but I hope to in
the future.

Good luck,


On Apr 13 18:04PM, Burke, Dr. Richard wrote:
> I know a bit about the history of Octave, and if I'm not mistaken,
> several faculty have taught courses using Octave. I will be teaching a
> course called Engineering Analysis in the fall, and I am thinking about
> basing the course on Octave. The course is for junior level engineers
> from mechanical, electrical, and related disciplines. 
> A few questions:
> 1.    Is there anything published about your experience or the
> experience of others in using Octave as the computational basis for a
> course? There are countless books based upon MATLAB, MathCAD, etc.
> 2.    Is the Octave documentation adequate for undergraduate
> engineers? I am concerned about having the course devolve into a
> software tutorial, and like most small college programs, we do not have
> teaching assistants.
> 3.    Any advice as to whether (or how) I should do this?
> Thanks for any help you can give me.
> _______________________
> Dr. Richard Burke, '72
> Chairman and Professor of Engineering
> Maritime College
> State University of New York 
> 6 Pennyfield Avenue
> Throggs Neck, NY 10465
> Voice:  718.409.7411
> Fax:    718.409.7421

Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.

Octave's home on the web:
How to fund new projects:
Subscription information:

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]