Educational use of Maple in Engineering Mathematics

Harald Pleym
haraldp@enitel.no
Dep. of Technology
Telemark University College
Kjolnes Ring 56
Norway

Abstract

The main objective of this paper is to show how the computer algebra system Maple can be integrated as a valuable and powerful tool into the learning process of engineering mathematics. Maple can be used in several ways: 1) Only as a solving engine. That means, you enter a mathematical expression which Maple subsequently execute, and you are freed from tedious computations 2)To present a method as a sequence of steps in much the same way as in a textbook. The primary purpose then is to present intermediate steps to show how to solve the problem. This is relevant in most of a student's homework solutions 3)Unlike a book we are free to execute larger and more realistic examples and explore interactively how a solution of a problem depends on various parameters of the problem under study. The graphics capabilities are extremely helpful for visualzing the behavior of the system under investigation In this paper these methods of using Maple will be demonstrated with selected examples from calculus, differential equations, integral transforms and linear algebra. One of the beautiful qualities of Maple is that much can be done with relatively few commands and without involving formal programming with Maple. But when intermediate steps in solving a problem is clear, and especially if the focus is to demonstrate what happens to a solution when parameters are changed, it is often desirable and also an easy task to put the commands in question between "proc" and "end" to make a procedure. Examples of mixing steps together in this way will be shown.


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