Matter & Interactions I, Week 12

I’m getting the jump on this week for a change!

This week is all about assessments and building solution portfolios. Taking a cue from something I saw in Kip Thorne’s graduate course on gravitational waves, I’m experimenting with a new way of letting students learn.

EDIT 2022-03-10: The actual assignment document I gave students appears to have been lost. Here’s the original from Thorne’s course (scroll down to the part beginning with Assignment near the bottom of page 1) upon which I based mine. Of course I borrowed the language and intent rather than the content so don’t panic about that!

Here’s the deal. From each of the first five chapters of the textbook, students will choose two regular problems and one computational problem from a provided list to write up formally in LaTeX (via Overleaf). They can choose which problems to do, and they can even change their minds at any time if they so desire. Solutions will be submitted electronically ad PDF documents, one for each problem/solution. I can provide feedback and return them very quickly with my digital workflow.

My objectives are fourfold. I want to 1) give THEM the opportunity to demonstrate what THEY have learned and to 2) get assessment credit for that demonstration and to 3) expose them to a back and forth editing and revising process that ends with essentially a perfect product and to 4) build a library and portfolio of problems and solutions they can use to show what they learned in this course. I have long felt that something like that is far more important than any letter grade. Of course, they’ll get that too but at least they’ll get something far more tangible to go along with it.

Comments and feedback are welcome!


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