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Abstract Title: Instructor approaches to teaching computational physics problems in problem-based courses
Abstract: An increasing number of introductory physics courses are seeking to incorporate "authentic practices", and one way they are doing this is by including computational problems. Computational problems offer students an opportunity to engage with the programming practices and numerical problem solving methods used by physicists.  Understanding how instructors approach teaching such problems is important for improving instruction and problem design. We conducted a phenomenographic study using semi-structured interviews with instructors in a problem-based introductory mechanics course that incorporates several computational problems. The instructors we interviewed were undergraduate learning assistants, individuals who were previously successful as students in the course. Their prior involvement as students, along with their relatively fewer experiences with programming and physics compared to the faculty instructors, give them a unique perspective on teaching in the course. We present here the results of our analysis, which describe the experiences of learning assistants teaching computational problems in this course.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: C63

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Alanna Pawlak
Michigan State University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Paul W. Irving, Michigan State University
Marcos D. Caballero, Michigan State University