2021 Virtual Capstone Conference - Schedule

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Note: All times Eastern

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Wednesday August 11

Note: All times Eastern

10am - 10:15am Welcome

10:15am - 11:15am Plenary I: Brian O'Shea, "The future of computational and data science"

Physics as a discipline has been on the leading edge of computational and data science since these fields were conceived.  The evolution of computational science as a means of scientific exploration, as well as the emergence of data science as a field in its own right, has occurred very rapidly over the past decade. This trend is virtually guaranteed to continue through the 2020s.  I will focus on the recent past and on the future of these fields, using case studies taken from recent scientific advances.  In addition, I will make some suggestions on what these trends mean in terms of the training that STEM students will need to be successful in the future.

11:15am - 11:30am Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

11:30am - 1:10pm Invited Session: The state of integrating computation

Moderated by Gillian Ryan.

11:30am - 11:55am Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood 

11:55am - 12:20pm Elizabeth George

12:20pm - 12:45pm Nicholas Young, "Why physics instructors choose to include computation in their courses"

Computation is a central aspect of 21st century physics practice and physics departments are increasingly recognizing the importance of teaching computation to their students. We completed a national survey of 1257 faculty in physics departments to understand the state of computational instruction and the factors that underlie that instruction. We then used supervised machine learning to explore the factors that are most predictive of whether a faculty member decides to include computation in their physics courses. We find that faculty's experience with computation and the benefits they believe computation provides are most predictive of including it in their courses.

12:45pm - 1:10pm Paul Irving

1:10pm - 2pm Networking Birds-of-a-Feather

Join your selected group:

  1. PICUP Faculty Development Workshop at UW-River Falls
  2. PICUP workshop at APS/AAPT meeting
  3. PICUP regional / local / institutional / virtual workshop

2pm - 3pm Lunch Break

Breakout rooms will remain open for conversations.

3pm - 4:40pm Invited Session: Assessment

Moderated by Jay Wang.

3pm - 3:25pm Danny Caballero, "Assessing Computational Knowledge and Skills: The Role of Community"

Computation is increasingly becoming a major part of the undergraduate physics experience with developing students' computational capabilities now a central goal of many physics programs. But how do we gain confidence that students have developed the knowledge and skills we intend? How can we scaffold that development process? I will highlight the role that assessment plays in helping students develop computational knowledge and skills. I will present the need for theoretically-grounded and community-developed assessments that can be used widely to evaluate learning outcomes, pedagogical approaches, and course designs. Finally, I will discuss the approaches that the PICUP community can take to start developing these new assessments.

3:25pm - 3:50pm Tor Odden, "Using Computational Essays to Support Student Creativity and Agency in Physics"

Computation holds great potential for enabling students to engage in creative, exploratory, and investigative scientific coursework. At the University of Oslo, we have been exploring this potential through the development and testing of a new teaching tool known as a computational essay. In this talk, I will describe how we are conceptualizing student creativity and agency in physics, how we use computational essays to support these qualities in our teaching, and the various possibilities for using computational essays as an alternative mode of physics assessment.

3:50pm - 4:15pm Chandralekha Singh, "Including computation in physics courses at all levels using evidence-based approaches"

Integrating computation with the physics curriculum is important with a principal goal of developing students' computational skills, and leveraging those skills to gain physical insight. First, I will discuss how, using Open Source Physics simulations and other tools, we have incorporated computer simulations within Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorials (QuILTs). QuILTs are research-validated learning tools to help students in upper-level undergraduate quantum mechanics course develop a solid grasp of relevant concepts without compromising the technical content. Then, I will discuss the effectiveness of a flipped computational physics course which uses evidence-based approaches to improving students computational thinking skills.

4:15pm - 4:40pm Dan Weller, "Learning Goal Framework for Computational Thinking in Computationally Integrated Physics Classrooms"

Computational thinking has been a recent focus of education research within the sciences. In this talk, we lay the foundation for exploring computational thinking in introductory physics courses. The computational thinking framework that we have developed features 14 practices contained within 6 different categories. We use in-class video data as existence proofs of the computational thinking practices proposed. In doing this work, we hope to provide ways for teachers to assess their students' development of computational thinking, while also giving physics education researchers some guidance on how to study this topic in greater depth.

4:40pm - 5pm Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

5pm - 6pm Contributed Talks


Thursday August 12

10am - 11:50am Parallel Workshops

Th-1 Introductory Physics: Planning a Coherent Course and Choosing the Right Tools

Th-2 Integrating Computation and Experiment

Th-3 Department-wide Computational Integration

Th-4 Lessons from Computer Science Pedagogy

Th-5 Computational Integration into Astronomy and Astrophysics Classes

Th-6 Tour of Exercise Sets: The Plane Rigid Pendulum, the 1D Schroedinger Equation 

11:50am - 12:10pm Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

12:10pm - 2pm Parallel Workshops (continued)

2pm - 3pm Lunch Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

3pm - 4pm Plenary II: Courtney Lannert, "Integrating computational physics into your curriculum using the EP3 guide" 

The EP3 Project (EP3guide.org) seeks to help strengthen and improve physics departments and programs nationwide by building on research and community knowledge and practice. The guide offers advice on a wide variety of topics, from Departmental Culture and Climate to Introductory Courses for STEM Majors, designed to be flexible, not prescriptive, and useful in the wide variety of local contexts experienced by physics programs in the US (and perhaps beyond). After a brief overview of the guide and its use, I will describe the development process for the section on Computational Skills as well as its recommendations and a sample of the ways in which it might be used by a physics department to integrate these important skills into their curriculum.

4pm - 4:05pm Zoom Picture - wear your PICUP shirt!

4:05pm - 4:15pm Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

4:15pm - 6pm Contributed Talks


Friday August 13

10am - 11:50am Parallel Workshops

Fr-1 Introductory Physics: Planning a Coherent Course and Choosing the Right Tools

Fr-2 Integrating Computation and Experiment

Fr-3 Department-wide Computational Integration

Fr-4 The Computational Physics Course: Objectives, Design, and Assessment

Fr-5 Preparing and Submitting an Exercise Set, and Becoming a Reviewer

Fr-6 Upper-Division Physics: Planning a Coherent Course and Choosing the Right Tools

11:50am - 12:10pm Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

12:10pm - 2pm Parallel Workshops (continued)

2pm - 3pm Lunch Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

3pm - 4pm Invited Panel: Case Studies

Moderated by Brandon Lunk. Panelists: Aaron Titus, Brett DePaola, Tony Musumba, and Michele McColgan.

4pm - 4:15pm Coffee Break

Breakout rooms will be open for conversations.

4:15pm - 5:30pm Contributed Talks

5:30pm - 6pm Concluding Remarks