Dear MATLAB community,
How can I help my close friend who's bad at math and programming learn MATLAB?
He's a final year chemical engineering student who struggles even to plot two functions on the same graph in his computational fluid dynamics class (there was no prereq for matlab skills).
In his first year, I saw him get dragged through the introductory engineering classes which was his first encounter with MATLAB. Students were taught a few rudimentary programming skills and then were expected to make a code for a 'simple' tic-tac-toe game. It took him hours of blank looks and tutoring to even understand the simplest of boolean operators. He was never able to write a working function without the supervision of a friend or tutor. Needless to say, he was permanently scarred by the experience and swore to avoid using it forever.
After 3 years of avoiding MATLAB, he realised how not knowing it hurt him during his final year project. He had to solve a system of pdes to model the performance of a reactor and practically speaking, MATLAB was the most suitable software at hand. He ended up having to get a friend to help him code the equations in while also having to oversimplify his model.
The weird thing is that: most students from his chemical engineering faculty were not expected or encouraged to use MATLAB, almost all of their prior assignments required no use of MATLAB except that infamous first year course, and most of his peers also avoided using MATLAB and resorted to Excel. It is my understanding that Excel cannot match MATLAB's efficiency and clarity when solving calculus problems so it was not uncommon to see extremely long Excel spreadsheets.
Anyway, my friend is, with the help of a friend's past year MATLAB codes, trying to finish up his computational fluid dynamics assignment that's due soon. He finishes university in 2 weeks time.
Even though he knows that not every engineer has to use MATLAB in the workplace, he somehow wishes he was able to learn MATLAB at his glacial pace. I find it such a pity that he was never able to keep up with the pace of learning that was expected which begs the question: are students who are too slow at learning programming better of in a different field of study?
If you've managed to read to the end of this, thank you so much. I just don't know how to help my friend and I'm hoping some of you might be able to suggest how I can help him be better at it. I believe he has potential but needs special help when it comes to MATLAB.
All helpful and constructive suggestions considered,
Thank You All