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Re: Teaching Using Octave

From: A Scotte Hodel
Subject: Re: Teaching Using Octave
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 06:52:11 -0500

I suggest Octave to my students as an alternative to MATLAB in my courses. Regardless of which of these tools you use, I think that you should expect to spend a total of one week (three 50 minute lectures) in a given course to either review or tutor your students in either tool. I've written a short MATLAB tutorial (a work in progress) for one of our lab courses that may be of some assistance. See my course weblog at index.html
The tutorial is in chapter 4.

Since most students are using Windows, I've also put up a copy of the instructions on how to install Octave on windows at another weblog entry: E1746439820/index.html
(This one probably needs to be cleaned up)

A few students have installed Octave on their machines and have not had any trouble adapting from MATLAB. If they install octave-forge (from then printing (export of plots to .jpg, .eps, .fig, etc.) should be straightforward.

One course in which I used Octave is an undergraduate course in stochastic signals and systems: my lecture notes are at E242544089/index.html
You will find several m-file examples listed in the index.

I hope that helps.


Scotte Hodel

On Apr 13, 2005, at 6:04 PM, 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

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