Student collision mini-projects from my summer 2013 comp-phys course

The last course that I taught at UFV before taking a job at UBC was an online Computation Physics course. I previously posted the mini-project videos from when I ran the course in the fall and you can check that previous post to learn more about the context of these mini-projects. The overall level of creativity seems like it was a bit lower this time than last and that might be in part due to the online nature of the course, where it was in person the last time the course ran. Last time, people would show up to the computer lab and see what others were working on and the stakes would become raised. I think if I did this type of course online again, I would get people to submit regular progress videos so that there was the virtual equivalent of people showing up in the lab and feeling the stakes be raised.

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2 Comments on “Student collision mini-projects from my summer 2013 comp-phys course”

  1. bretbenesh says:

    That video is still pretty cool. And it is an interesting idea that people feed off of other people’s creativity; that makes a lot of sense.

    • Joss Ives says:

      One thing I didn’t discuss is how I go through and find sets of initial parameters that break their simulations (make them do something unphysical or simply reveal a bug), after which they would have to revise their simulation and resubmit. With this batch of students, I told them that, last time I ran the course, I was able to break every single simulation submitted by finding something non-trivial gone wrong. I had some students determined to not have that happen to them and a couple of people managed to submit things I was unable to break. I was delighted (but disappointed my streak had ended).

      I shared the previous batch of videos with this batch of students in an attempt to raise the stakes a bit, and I can think of a couple of students that used that to help fuel their creativity. But I think there was some potential inspiration lost with not being able to look over the shoulder of somebody doing something creative.


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