PICUP/OPTYCs Summer 2024 Virtual Workshop

Integrating Computation into Your Introductory Physics Course

An online workshop for faculty without previous experience inserting computation into their physics 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.

Workshop Dates

Tuesday July 30, 2024:  Main Workshop and Small Groups -- 12 PM - 4 PM Central Time

Wednesday, July 31, 2024: Working Groups Help Session -- 12 PM - 1 PM Central Time

Thursday, August 1, 2024: Participants Showcase & Conclusion -- 12 PM - 2 PM Central Time




Register Here - $15 Registration

OPTYCs will reimburse registration fees for any two-year college faculty who complete the workshop. Check out OPTYCs here: https://optycs.aapt.org/

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 and OPTYCs websites, and encouraged to get plugged into the larger PICUP and OPTYCs communities for ongoing support in their pedagogical efforts.

Who Should Attend

Both college (4-year and 2-year institutions) 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 30: Session 1 (all times Central time zone)

12:00 - 12:15 PM Introduction & Workshop Agenda
12:15 - 1:15 PM Ways to structure the course/curriculum: "Show and Tell" from workshop coordinators
1:15 - 2:00 PM Benefits and Challenges of the Computational Physics course
2:00 - 4:00 PM Small Groups
Homework Each participant will work on developing a computational activity, based on a well-defined learning goal, that they might use in an introductory Physics course. (This activity does not need to be "new"!) Participants should plan to give a brief presentation on their plan at the Thursday "Showcase" session.

Wednesday, July 31: 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 would do 
12:10 - 1:00 PM Working Groups Help Session: Meeting with Group Leader(s)
Homework Participants should continue to work on their plan to integrate a computational activity into their upcoming course(s), and prepare a 1- or 2-slide presentation on their plan for the Thursday "Showcase" session.

Thursday, August 1: 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 Economics and Finance, Bradley University (contact: rooster@bradley.edu)

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

Marie Lopez del Puerto, Department of Physics, University of St. Thomas

Danny Caballero, Department of Physics, Michigan State University

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

Nick Nelson, Department of Physics, California State University Chico

Walter Freeman, Department of Physics, Syracuse University

Joe Heafner, Department of Physics, Catawba Valley Community College

Andrew Morrison, Department of Natural Sciences, Joliet Junior College

Kris Lui, Director & PI for The Organization for Physics at Two-Year Colleges (OPTYCs), AAPT

Gillian Ryan, Department of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University

Brian Lane, Department of Physics, University of North Florida