MATLAB is a programming platform designed specifically for engineers and scientists to analyze and design systems and products that transform our world.
The heart of MATLAB is the MATLAB language, a matrix-based language allowing the most natural expression of computational mathematics. It combines a desktop environment tuned for iterative analysis and design processes with a programming language that expresses matrix and array mathematics directly. It includes the Live Editor for creating scripts that combine code, output, and formatted text in an executable notebook.
READY-MADE COMPUTING PLATFORMS
Ready-made computing platforms offer instructors tangible means to convey (abstract) concepts to students. These tools provide students, who are assumed to have a minimal background in programming skills, an interactive environment in which they can safely experiment with the topics covered in the class.
Additionally, these platforms offer powerful visualization environments in which students can see the practical effects of any ideas they come up with.
This kind of tool can be effectively used in educational contexts for many purposes:
- as support to develop practical assignments that require the simulation of real-world environments.
- as an interactive learning environment to develop programming projects.
- as a tool to create interactive scripts that provide immediate feedback on specific questions/problems.
- as a learning environment to implement hands-on projects.
- as a powerful calculator able to validate the results of complex calculus (e.g., differential equations, integrals, etc.)
- as a prototyping tool to devise future projects.
MATLAB has its own self-assessment module that enables lecturers to assess up to what extent students have met the desired learning objectives. This module is named MATLAB Grader and it is committed to automatically grade coding assessments and provide (if the instructor wanted to do so) automated feedback.
Also, thanks to the interactive scripts, MATLAB can be used for summative assessments activities such as quizzes and exams. This module can be integrated to existing Learning Management Systems such as Moodle, edX, Sakai, among others.
For instance, in a hands-on session the instructor may require (a large number of) students to develop a programming assignment to solve a specific challenge using MATLAB.
Then students can automatically interact with the MATLAB Grader module to immediately see whether they have developed is correct or not and the instructor can focus their efforts during the session on explaining the basic concepts required to solve the assignment (rather than spending her time on checking whether each student has developed the assignment successfully).
Use cases/examples of usage: (tutorial)
Strenght: There is a huge community and a lot of ready-made examples and toolboxes in a wide variety of disciplines (e.g., electronics, mechanical engineering, computer science, signal processing, …).
Weakness: It requires a moderately powerful computer. Also, at it is an interpreted language its performance (in terms of execution time) might be slower than other compiled languages such as C.
People opinion about the tool: https://www.capterra.com/p/125813/MATLAB/reviews
Similar Tool: Octave; Scilab; Sage Math; Mathematica; Julia.
Technical and operational requirements: Device with web browser and Internet connection for the online version.
For the on-premises version:
- Any Intel or AMD x86–64 processor with four logical cores and AVX2 instruction set support.
- 8 GB of RAM memory.
- 5 GB for hard disk.
- An SSD is strongly recommended.
- No specific graphics card is required, but a hardware accelerated graphics card supporting OpenGL 3.3 with 1GB GPU memory is recommended.