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ERIC Number: EJ987448
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Implementing and Assessing Computational Modeling in Introductory Mechanics
Caballero, Marcos D.; Kohlmyer, Matthew A.; Schatz, Michael F.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v8 n2 p020106-1-020106-15 Jul-Dec 2012
Students taking introductory physics are rarely exposed to computational modeling. In a one-semester large lecture introductory calculus-based mechanics course at Georgia Tech, students learned to solve physics problems using the VPython programming environment. During the term, 1357 students in this course solved a suite of 14 computational modeling homework questions delivered using an online commercial course management system. Their proficiency with computational modeling was evaluated with a proctored assignment involving a novel central force problem. The majority of students (60.4%) successfully completed the evaluation. Analysis of erroneous student-submitted programs indicated that a small set of student errors explained why most programs failed.We discuss the design and implementation of the computational modeling homework and evaluation, the results from the evaluation, and the implications for computational instruction in introductory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. (Contains 6 tables and 1 figure.)
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia