PICUP Summer 2021 Virtual Workshop

Registration  Asynchronous Materials and Detailed Workshop Program

Integrating Computation into Your Introductory Physics Course

A free online workshop for faculty without previous experience inserting computation into their courses

This workshop is a very basic primer on integrating computation into introductory courses with easy-to-use, readily available computational tools. No programming experience whatsoever is necessary to participate.

Important Dates


July 5, 2021: Final Registration Deadline

Asynchronous Workshop Component:

July 6, 2021:  Compulsory Asynchronous Materials Available (click the big green button below)

Asynchronous Materials and Detailed Workshop Program

Synchronous Workshop Dates:

July 20, 2021:  Main Workshop and Small Groups -- 12 PM - 4 PM Central Time

July 21, 2021: Working Groups Help Session -- 12 PM - 1 PM Central Time

July 22, 2021: Participants Showcase & Conclusion -- 12 PM - 1:30 PM Central Time

Workshop Scope

The purpose of the workshop is to introduce participants to several basic examples of computational activities that can be readily implemented in introductory physics courses. The participants will be guided in building a computational model for some of these activities in spreadsheet and browser-based programming environments, with a view towards demonstrating just a few of the myriad possibilities for exposing introductory students to computation. The workshop will also include a discussion on benefits and challenges involved in integrating computation, and practical ways to start out by inserting an activity or two (or more as comfort allows) into introductory courses. Participants will also be provided with a brief tour of the PICUP website, and encouraged to get plugged into the larger PICUP community for ongoing support in their pedagogical efforts.

Who Should Attend

Both college and high school faculty are welcome. If you have little or no prior experience with integrating computation into an introductory course, and you would like help finding out how to get started, we encourage you to attend! Even if you have never before considered the possibility of inserting a computational exercise into an introductory course, this workshop is for you!


Tuesday, July 6 - Monday, July 19: Asynchronous Workshop Preparation

Asynchronous materials will be made available on July 6.  Participants should plan to thoroughly view and work through these materials in preparation for the Synchronous Sessions starting on July 20. Participants should expect to spend about 2-3 hours with these materials.

Tuesday, July 20: Synchronous Session 1 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 12:15 PM Introduction, Workshop Agenda, PICUP Website and Collections
12:15 - 12:30 PM Small Groups Introduction
12:30 - 1:00 PM Importance of Learning Goals and Computation Implementation Space
1:00 - 1:15 PM Choose Working Group | Short Break
1:15 - 3:15 PM Guided small group activity: work through a sample computational exercise
3:15 - 3:45 PM Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Computation
3:45 - 4:00 PM

Wrap-up and HW assignment

For the HW assignment, each participant is to develop a computational activity, based on a well-defined learning goal, that can be assigned to students in the upcoming academic term. Participants should plan to give a brief presentation on their plan at the Thursday "Showcase" session.

Wednesday, July 21: Synchronous Session 2 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 1:00 PM Working Groups Help Session: Meeting with Group Leader

Thursday, July 22: Synchronous Session 3 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 1:30 PM Participants Showcase - 

The showcase provides an opportunity for participants to briefly report on the computational activity or assignment under development for their students to work on in the upcoming academic term. The Thursday session will be primarily dedicated to the showcase; each participant should prepare a slide or two for a 3-5 minute presentation.

1:30 - 1:45 PM Conclusion and Post-Workshop Support


Questions/Need Help?

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact one of the workshop coordinators.