Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools ReviewsBuilding Program News]

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3 Responses to Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools ReviewsBuilding Program News]

  • Mark Hoover Trinity School at Greenlawn says:
    5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Exceptional Book, October 8, 2013
    This review is from: Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools (Paperback)
    Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI tools, is proving to be a successful text for the school at which I work. Programming is taught as part of the 11/12 grade science and math program. In particular, the first semester of junior year all our students learn basic programming in MATLAB. The programming course begins with getting started issues: strings, vectors, and basic plots. This is followed by control flow commands, animation, and writing functions. The end of the semester is devoted to GUIs, using MATLAB’s graphical user interface development environment (GUIDE).

    Lectures are minimal, and usually are demonstration of codes. Most of the class time and homework time is spent with students writing codes. We are using the programming problems in Dr. Lent’s book. Teachers spend the class time walking around the room observing the students, making comments about code and helping students who get stuck. Periodically students turn in their code on flash drives, which are then evaluated by the teachers and returned with comments.

    When we began this course, we weaved it into the junior physics course, teaching coding once or twice a week. This was done with handouts and no book. The second or third year we had the students use another book. It was supposed to be used as a reference, but few students used it at all. Starting in the fall of 2008, we started teaching a semester of programming before starting the physics, and began using prototype “versions” of Dr. Lent’s book.

    What makes this book so helpful is two things. First, the learning of MATLAB coding is set out in a systematic way, starting with basics and proceeding all the way to the development of GUI’s, using GUIDE. By following this process, we have been able to teach students to program on their own. Getting to GUI’s is a stated goal of the book. GUIs allow students to get immediate feedback on the connection between parameters and resultant behavior, especially in physics. They also act more like a student’s experience of computers. The creation of a GUI tool is a great way to evaluate whether the student has really understood the basics of programming.

    The second thing we found helpful about the book is the collection of programming problems. The range from easy to fairly challenging, and many lead directly to programs in physics we will have the students write later. We have been able to collect a basic set of programs that we can use year after year.

    Also helpful is the clarity with which the book is written.

    While we have been using this book for several years, we have also tried to keep abreast of other sources that become available. We have not found anything that would make us want to use a different text.

    Craig’s book is also being written for freshman engineering students, as an introduction to programming as part of a general introduction to engineering course. As such there are parts of the text which are not needed or are too advanced for our students. For instance, we rarely, if ever, use cell arrays. The chapter on data classes is thus usually skipped. On the other hand, we have begun to use MATLAB in our junior and senior math courses as well as in the physics course (the three semesters that follow the programming semester). Chapter 14 in the book on mathematics contains information and programming that is used in the math courses. We have used the material on both ordinary differential equations and eigenvalues/eigenvectors.

    The bottom line is that this is the book for our program. We have been working hard at weaving together programming (in MATLAB), physics, and mathematics, especially calculus, linear algebra and differential equations, in the junior and senior year. This book is exactly what we need for the students to learn a foundation in MATLAB to be used for the rest of their studies. All of our junior and senior students are given laptops with MATLAB loaded on them, so that they can use this language as a tool throughout these two years (11/12 grades). Our experience over the last three years or so is that this works, and while students certainly have different degrees of competency in these courses (they are hard subjects), every student is able to learn things which were not assessable to most when we didn’t have the programming available. Having this book in printed form not only allows the students to learn MATLAB programming well in that first semester, but also provides them with an excellent reference book for the next three semesters, and a book we can go back to as more advanced topics arise..

    Thomas F. Finke
    Senior math and science teacher
    Trinity School at Greenlawn
    South Bend, Indiana

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  • Louise A Paquette says:
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent book for teaching MATLAB and creating GUIs, November 20, 2013
    By 
    Louise A Paquette (Eagle, MI United States) –

    This review is from: Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools (Paperback)
    Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools is an excellent book. I’ve been teaching a beginning MATLAB course for several years without a textbook because I didn’t like the topic sequencing in many books I reviewed. Craig Lent’s book is perfect for my use. The writing is clear and concise. There is just the right amount of examples. Students learn a lot of MATLAB code in an efficient manner. There is a great variety of problems and many of them are of interest to the students. I was concerned about covering all the material (except Chapters 12 & 14) in a 16-week semester but that hasn’t been an issue.

    This is the first time I have taught students how to create GUIs. The chapters on GUIs lay out the steps very clearly. There are also videos showing the steps on the companion website. My students have seen how useful GUIs can be to model mathematical and/or physical situations. I look forward to seeing what they create for their GUI projects.

    Another plus – the book is reasonably priced for both hard copy and e-book.

    Louise Paquette
    Mathematics Professor
    Lansing Community College
    Lansing, MI

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  • Evan says:
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    I wish I had had this textbook when I learned Matlab!, March 21, 2014
    By 
    Evan

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Learning to Program with MATLAB: Building GUI Tools (Paperback)
    Unlike other Matlab textbooks I’ve used this book does not assume prior programming experience. It clearly explains basic programming concepts and Matlab commands without reproducing the documentation. However, I think experienced programmers would also find this book quite useful. The later chapters lay out a straightforward approach to building GUI tools. I’ve also found the sections on good programming practice helpful in languages other than Matlab.

    The sample programs are helpful, and the problems at the end of chapters are fun and interesting, covering a range of fields (math, physics, logic problems).

    I’d recommend this book to first time programmers as well as seasoned developers interested in making powerful tools with Matlab.

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