I don't know if this is going to help or not.
A colleague and I have made a course for physics students, where we teach
them several tools (TeX, Octave, C++, bash programming), and then we expect
them to work on numerical problems in mathematics and physics (mainly solve
differential equations, but we've also had them play with chaotic maps,
cellular automata, etc.). We wrote a book for the course, and I wrote the
Octave chapter. Bad news: it is in Spanish. Besides, we don't regard the
book as "finished", as we consider revisions everytime we make the
course again.
If someone wants to take a look at it, it's at
http://aristoteles.ciencias.uchile.cl/homepage/cursos/mfm0/mfm0.pdf
The Octave chapter is number 4. If someone thinks it would be interesting to
have something like that available in English, we could work on translate
it, unless there's an interested soul out there. The Octave chapter is very
simple, only to introduce basic functionality and capability --later in the
course (and in the book), we propose numerical problems which the students
attack with the tools learned so far-- but maybe it can help as a first
reference.
Regards,