Electronic Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics

San Francisco, California, November 4-7, 1999

Paper C021

Using Matlab in a Multivariable Calculus Course

Mark D. Schlatter

Department of Mathematics
Centenary College of Louisiana
2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188
Phone: (318) 869-5206

Click to access this paper: paper.pdf
Additional file(s) associated with this paper:
  • mfiles (directory) Matlab files


The benefits of high-level mathematics packages such as Matlab include both a computer algebra system and the ability to provide students concrete visual examples. This paper will discuss how both capabilities of Matlab were used in a multivariable calculus class. Graphical user interfaces developed by the author which display three-dimensional surfaces, contour plots, gradient fields, and parametric curves and vector fields in both two and three dimensions will be presented with comments on their effectiveness. In addition, the benefits and difficulties of using computer algebra in a multivariable class will be discussed. Finally, we will examine student responses to the uses of Matlab.

Keyword(s): Matlab, multivariable calculus