PICUP Resource Feature Summary

PICUP Virtual Meeting
PICUP Spring 2024 Webinar Series: Computation in a General Education Physics of Music Course
W. Brian Lane
Brian Lane, Physics Department, University of North Florida

Tuesday March 26 at 5 pm PT | 6 pm MT | 7 pm CT | 8 pm ET

Webinar transcript

In this webinar, I describe the development and implementation of a computationally integrated Physics of Music course and present samples of student work and an assessment of students' motivation in the course. This general education, freshman-level physics class was designed to fulfill the university's laboratory science requirement and was marketed primarily to music majors as a major-relevant elective. The class was held in the fine arts building's recital hall, providing access to acoustically engineered spaces and the students' instruments. The course was designed to accomplish learning outcomes related to the nature of sound, frequency intervals and sound decomposition, and the acoustics of instruments and listening spaces. I integrated computation throughout the course to support students of diverse mathematical backgrounds, expand the repertoire of topics available, and explore practices related to music technology. I used Jupyter notebooks in the biweekly laboratory activities and students wrote Computational Letters (a combination of the Computational Essay and the Letter Home) at the end of each lab and an end-of-semester project. I assessed these Computational Letters using a specifications rubric and a revise-and-resubmit process. Unsurprisingly, the music majors in the course reported no background in computer programming. However, in contrast to the dread with which many STEM students respond to programming, these music majors took to programming positively and found it an engaging element of the course.
March 26, 2024