This is a GIFTS presentation. As a fundamental and powerful tool for engineers, MATLAB plays an essential role for students to become professionals in their engineering fields. Students do not have many opportunities to learn much about fundamental MATLAB knowledge until they take some higher-level engineering courses. Students then find themselves short on the basic skills they need to quickly adapt to the course and succeed. To make sure first-year students at our mid-size technology university are exposed to MATLAB early on, we use Analytical Methods for Engineering Applications (ENGR 101) an introductory course based on the Wright State Model, to introduce the basic knowledge of using MATLAB to the students. The idea is that the students develop the capability of understanding basic MATLAB operations and utilizing it to reinforce the learning of theoretical materials introduced in the lecture. Starting this semester, in addition to the use of traditional lab instruction to teach MATLAB, we have started using MATLAB’s online teaching platform – Onramp. The idea came to the authors while attending the sponsored MATLAB workshop at 2018 FYEE conference. MATLAB Onramp is a free introductory tutorial on the basic MATLAB functionalities and commands. It offers hands-on exercises with feedback and video tutorials to make the material more engaging and interesting. It concludes with a short project that brings together everything learned in the short course. By finishing the online training, the students receive a course certification from MathWorks. The students are offered an extra credit incentive to finish this short course. We are collecting more information on the effectiveness of these activities and will have results to share by the date of the presentation.
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