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MATLAB Homework

For Instructors: How to Give MATLAB Homework


  • MATLAB is now available in computer labs campus-wide and in the residence halls.
  • Simple homework assignments have been written for use in 2301, 2302, 3300, 3400 and 3200.
  • The undergraduate committee has passed a resolution strongly encouraging use of the assignments in all Calculus sections. Use is to follow the guidelines in this document.
  • The chief goal of the assignments is to teach students to think when they compute.
  • All the departments in the College of Engineering and Technology have decided to make MATLAB the primary software used in coursework. They consider exposing students to the program in calculus to be a very positive service.
  • MATLAB homework is available at the links above.

Using the Homework

  • Make the homework no more than 5% of the grade, or extra credit for the same amount.
  • Hand out "MATLAB Assignments at Ohio University" and instruct them to download: "A Brief Intro to MATLAB." Instruct them to keep these as references.
  • Assign about five assignments per quarter. Assignments can be given as hand-outs, or, you may assign them from the web page.
  • Grade the assignments.
  • Hand back the assignments and discuss the mathematical content in class.


  • Do not attempt to teach the students to use MATLAB. They pick up the basics of MATLAB directly from the assignments. As a corollary, you do not need to know MATLAB well. At most, you need to be able to follow the explicit instructions of the assignments. Almost all student problems will be a matter of not typing the commands exactly as directed.
  • The theme of most assignments is to promote the mathematical ideas which are necessary for computing intelligently. Often this involves planting a seed of skepticism in the student's thinking.
  • Hints are placed at the bottom of each assignment. The hints are meant to serve as a guide to the main mathematical ideas of each assignment.
  • Since use of MATLAB is new at Ohio University, it is best to grade very generously. Usually give full credit as long as the student has touched on all the points in the hint.
  • LeTeX versions of the assignments are available on the web page so that you can modify them as you wish.
  • To learn more you are invited to read "MATLAB in Calculus and Beyond - An 1804 Fund Project" or the book Technology in Undergraduate Math - A simple Approach or "The MATLAB Workbook -- A Supplement for Calculus, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra". These documents are available here.