# Thread: Matrix ...

1. ## Matrix ...

Hi,
I am having problems with understanding a term in English. The term is "Matrix." I am translating a guide to opening private universities. Now, I am not asking for a translation of the term. I just want to know what the heck it means exactly. This is the context:

"The proposal or self-study includes:
i. a matrix relating program outcomes to the learning outcomes of the courses comprising the curriculum..."

I have been looking at the different definitions from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/matrix and the only thing that seems to come close is the exception number 7: " A binding substance, as cement in concrete."

Thanks for any help.

2. ## Re: Matrix ...

English is my native language, and I'm not sure either. A matrix is usually a group of numbers arranged in a square and is a mathematical way of relating one group of numbers to another. I suppose could be what they mean here, but it is very hard to understand. I am a mathematician, and I'd bet few people outside of mathematics understand this definition.

The definition you found is the most common one, but it makes no sense in this context.

"The Matrix" is also the name of a movie and is defined by the movie, but that's also not what is meant here.

I'm going to guess it refers to a square diagram. One example of a square diagram that could be called a matrix would be a square with the names of cities along the side and the same cities along the top. In each cell of the diagram could be given the distance between the two cities.

Matrix is not a common word.

3. ## Re: Matrix ...

a matrix relating program outcomes to the learning outcomes of the courses comprising the curriculum

1. a rectangular array of mathematical elements (as the coefficients of simultaneous linear equations) that can be combined to form sums and products with similar arrays having an appropriate number of rows and columns

2. Something resembling a mathematical matrix especially in rectangular arrangement of elements into rows and columns

From by background in education, I would select the second definition. A matrix can be imagined as a sheet of paper with many squares printed on it. In one square would be the  and I think this is where the writer failed  PROJECTED (hoped for, planned, usual, etc.) program outcomes to the
In another square would be the learning outcomes

The text might be rewritten this way 

A matrix relating projected program outcomes to the usual learning outcomes of the courses comprising the curriculum.

But even this change is terrible in the sense that one has to fight with the language to garner any understanding of the intent of the text.

You might want to send an e-mail to www.waywordradio.org with your question. The people who host the radio program, A Way With Words, are experts in the language.

Good luck

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