In teaching linear algebra we have to deal with
the following problem: while the level of the mathematical skills which
are required to work with examples is generally low (students only need
to add, subtract and multiply), the number of calculations is usually
large. Therefore, working with examples is time-consuming and
error-prone if done by hand. Students get tired quickly and lose their
interest in this increasingly important area of mathematics. The faculty
therefore decided to move the introductory linear algebra course from
the classroom to the PC lab, and acquired a special DERIVE license that
allows its use on all the PCs the faculty owns, and also on the private
PCs of the students.
A utility file was then developed to facilitate teaching by providing
functions for the computation of zero matrices and vectors, matrices
and vectors of ones, as well as idempotent and orthogonal matrices,
“just-in-time” whenever they are needed during the course. The utility
file also contains functions that test if a given matrix is symmetric,
idempotent or orthogonal. |