Learning MATLAB

Continuing my apparent hobby of taking up and passing MOOC courses, I finished yet another Coursera course end of September. It was an introductory course on programming using MATLAB from the Vanderbilt University. The course lasted nine weeks and included the basic functions of MATLAB, to which we got introduced by following the weekly lectures and doing the homework.

The weekly video lectures were very good, containing clear introduction and guidance on many useful MATLAB functions and their syntax. The weekly exercises had a lot of variation and required some own studying to come up with novel solutions and learning about function that were not always covered by the lectures. Some exercises were also adapted physics problems, which gave a first view on how MATLAB can be used in physics.

I can highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning programming but already has some basic knowledge on the topic. I would not recommend this course to anyone without any prior experience in programming, but programming experience is not a course requirement per se. MATLAB’s focus on using matrices to solve problems is likely to appeal to those inclined to physics or engineering sciences, where linear algebra is used to solve many problems. The brief introduction on using MATLAB to manipulate Excel files might be interesting to many of us who are used to using PivotTables but have had many troubles with Excel, when it comes to doing matrix manipulations.