Teaching Computation in the Sciences
MATLAB, that enables them to express and explore solutions to scientific problems. Computational skills can be applied to scientific tasks such as exploring equations, acquiring and visualizing data, writing scripts and functions, and statistical analysis. With unprecedented data availability there are numerous new science and engineering opportunities if one has computational skills. Computation also help students reinforce and improve their math skills and gain a deeper understanding of foundational scientific principles. Improving students' abilities to explore, analyze, and solve scientific problems, as well as deepening their understanding of math and their scientific discipline highlight the need to incorporate computation into undergraduate science programs.
Approaches to Teaching Computation
MATLAB is powerful tool for teaching computation because it allows for robust data analysis, data visualization and exploration, modeling, and working with real data sets. If the use of MATLAB is scaffolded in a course or curriculum, it is a tool that can help students build self-efficacy with computation and develop computational skills across the curriculum. In addition, it is user-friendly and there is a low threshold for incorporating MATLAB in the classroom. The low threshold is highlighted in the getting started with MATLAB section with a presentation on the range of MATLAB teaching capabilities and a list of resources for MATLAB training.
2016 workshop on teaching computation with MATLAB, Paul Kassebaum from MathWorks discussed the value of computational thinking and tools to get students started with MATLAB. Paul showed that students can use MATLAB to run interactive simulations, solve problems numerically or analytically, extract, analyze, and visualize experimental data, model and simulate phenomena to build intuition, express and simulate equations to test hypotheses, and simulate analytical models to test predictions. He also discussed resources on the MathWorks website that can be useful for implementing computation using MATLAB into your courses. For example:
- MATLAB Academy and Onramp: Free interactive, self-paced online learning
- MATLAB Online: Provides access to MATLAB through your web browser
- MATLAB Home: Subscription for personal use
- MATLAB Campus License: Find out if your school has one
- MATLAB Student: Provides same tools for students as professionals
- MATLAB Live Editor: New way to create, edit, and run MATLAB code
- MATLAB App Designer: Build apps using MATLAB
- Cody Coursework: Creates and automatically grades MATLAB programming assignments
Teaching Collections and Materials
- Teaching Activities in the sciences and engineering
- Essays on computation in undergraduate courses and programs
- Teaching Activity Collection for Geosciences
- Course Description Collection for Geosciences
- MATLAB description and resources in the context of geoscience classrooms.