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The revolution is digital. Or is it?

Massively open online courses (MOOCs) are all the rage among “elite” universities. And why not? What university wouldn’t want to teach more students, grant more degrees, and diversify their alumni? The problem is that the MOOC phenomenon is the higher-education

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A few more MMA screencasts before the semester begins…

After going through all the things we plan to have students do computationally this semester, I realized I needed a few more screencasts to provide more support for students. I created three more: Writing functions, Using FindRoot, and Writing for loops. Ben

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Laplace’s Equation (and a useful script)

We will be starting Laplace’s equation after Thanksgiving. I wanted to create a little Mathematica problem for the homework in which students learn about relaxation methods. They would be attempting to solve for the temperature field on a 2D plate.

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Should we crowd-source curriculum development?

I had a great meeting with Phil Wagner today. We were chatting about Google’s efforts to jump-start the development of computational thinking curriculum for K-12 students. This is work in which I am quite interested (along with John Burk and John Aiken). Phil

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Learning to Plot with Mathematica

I’ve just posted my first Mathematica screencast, Plotting with Mathematica. I’ve introduced functions in a way that I hope illustrates how general they can be. For example, when introducing plot I start with: Plot[function,{range}] rather that what I want students

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Mathematica won. Ok, what can we do about it?

As I’ve mentioned before, we are planning to systematically introduce computation to the physics majors sequence. One the major decisions that we needed to make was which computational tool to support. I’m somewhat saddened to say that a commercial piece

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Why should we teach computation?

Because we can gain understanding of the structure of M-PMV, an AIDS-like enzyme, and, eventually, save millions of people. Folks playing the spatial-based game fold.it deciphered the structure of this enzyme.

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Developing students’ computational modeling skills

I was asked to share my experience and thoughts on developing students computational modeling skills in large introductory physics courses. What I’m writing about is the work that I completed as part of my dissertation and I’m happy to share

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Which computational tool should we teach?

Computation is fast becoming the third pillar of modern science and engineering. Our students will need to learn to use computational modeling to become versatile problem solvers and expert modelers. I’ve discussed this a bit and some (including me) are starting to

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Asking students about computational modeling

We are considering ways to include computation modeling across our physics majors curriculum. This is in part due to demand by employers, but mostly because working physicists need to be well-versed in theory and practice. Some of that practice comes from

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Disclaimer:
The views presented here are not necessarily those held by other members of my research group. The work discussed here is under active investigation or development and might be part of a peer-reviewed journal article in the future. I present it here because it's important that this information be discussed among those working in the community. If you are interested in any of the work I discuss or in collaborating with our group, please contact me.
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