Symbolic analysis is one of the most feared tasks for many undergraduate students in engineering disciplines. Students argue that, without numerical values, it is difficult to make a sense out of a long expression. Instructors have experienced that students are diffident in such analyses; and they quickly lose interest in the topic. This trend has been enhanced with more prevalent use of computers in engineering curricula in recent years. In the senior level Mechanical Vibrations course, this author has experimented with an innovative procedure of using mathematical software such as MATLAB to enhance the students’ learning experience with extensive symbolic calculations. In this experiment, MATLAB is used as a rudimentary plotting device that allows students to plot curves. The procedure provides students a systematical approach to produce parametric plots from an analytical expression, and to validate the expression on physical grounds. This innovative procedure has changed students’ perception about long expressions, decreased their fear, and boosted their confidence in their analytical skills. All these help student to develop a more positive altitude towards symbolic analyses.

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