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The introductory computer programming course for engineers is usually taught using the C++ programming language. This work describes our efforts during the past four years, as a pilot project, which can be used in an evaluation process by those departments that would like to substitute Matlab for C++. Those who would like to continue the current practice, but are looking for more challenging problems or projects involving Matlab can also use the project outcome. In order to increase student involvement in the learning process and further improve learning outcomes, the implementation plan included various hardware and software projects, not all at the same time. Robotics projects were added to illustrate an application of programming; which students can relate to and enjoy, as well as helping them improve their software and algorithm design skills for real-time applications. Software projects included the design of simple games and applications using Matlabpsilas graphical user interface (GUI) tool. A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of conducting a computer programming course in this format, including four different course formats that we have used are included.