PICUP Summer 2022 Virtual Workshop

Integrating Computation into Your Introductory Physics Course

An 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

Registration - Closed

July 19, 2022: Final Registration Deadline

Asynchronous Workshop Component:

July 20, 2022:  Compulsory Asynchronous Materials will be emailed to all registered participants

Synchronous Workshop Dates:

August 2, 2022:  Main Workshop and Small Groups -- 12 PM - 4 PM Central Time

August 3, 2022: Working Groups Help Session -- 12 PM - 1 PM Central Time

August 4, 2022: Participants Showcase & Conclusion -- 12 PM - 2 PM 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!


Wednesday, July 20 - Monday, August 1: Asynchronous Workshop Preparation

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

Tuesday, August 2: Synchronous Session 1 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 12:15 PM Introduction, Workshop Agenda, PICUP Website and Collections
12:15 - 1:15 PM Ways to Integrate Computation: "Show and Tell" from workshop coordinators
1:15 - 2:00 PM Discussion of Asynchronous Materials: Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Computation
2:00 - 4:00 PM Small Groups:  Working through guided computational activities in small groups
Homework Each participant will decide on one computational activity that they want their students to do in their class in the upcoming academic term.  (This activity does not need to be "new"!)

Wednesday, August 3: Synchronous Session 2 - Small Groups (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 12:10 PM Each participant will give a brief description of one computational activity that their students will do 
12:10 - 1:00 PM Working Groups Help Session: Meeting with Group Leader
Homework Each participant will work on developing 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. (This activity does not need to be "new"!)

Thursday, August 4: Synchronous Session 3 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 1:45 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.

1:45 - 2:00 PM Conclusion and Post-Workshop Support


Workshop Coordinators

Kelly Roos, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bradley University (contact: rooster@bradley.edu)

Larry Engelhardt, Department of Physics and Engineering, Francis Marion University

Todd Zimmerman, Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin - Stout

Michele Montgomery, Department of Physics, University of Central Florida

Gillian Ryan, Department of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University

Walter Freeman, Department of Physics, Syracuse University

Rob Balogh-Robinson, Department of Physics, Marist College

Deva O'Neil, Department of Physics, Bridgewater College