HARD HAT RECOMMENDED

Mathcad- A Versatile Aid for Technical Courses

The following links will direct you to Mathcad files used at the University of Missouri - Rolla.
A collection of  Mathcad physics files and file fragments generated through the years. Files available for Instrumentation, for Introduction to Modern Physics, for Solid State Physics, and for Quantum Mechanics

A slide show outlining my use of Mathcad as a teaching aid.

Halliday, Resnick, and Walker  5th ed.
A Calculus Based Physics Course

Homework Solutions  The assigned homework problems from Halliday, Resnick, and Walker 5th ed. have been worked as quickly as possible using Mathcad during a number of  semesters.  As each new problem is assigned a Mathcad solution is added to the related chapter solution file.  Some solutions are intended to check the numerical answer and to provide the necessary N equations in N unknowns.  The algebra is usually performed using Mathcad which doesn't prepare the students for the work sheets and examinations.  The student has to practice the math in a sytle accepted for examinations.  The problem statement is not usually included.  Occasionally the time is taken to draft a  cartoon of the problem using Corel Presentations 8.

Work Sheets      These worksheets have been created in order to measure whether members of lecture class size 30 - 60 were actually doing their homework.  These worksheets are completed in class under time deadlines and without the aid of notes, homework solutions, or the text book.  The students are encouraged to talk with the members of their study group during the completion of each work sheet as a time pressured collaborative learning experience.

Test Book   This set of files contains copies of previously used hour examinations in Mathcad format.  These materials are meant to provide examples of the modifications to be expected when assigned homework problems are edited for test purposes.  The student is challenged to print out selections of these materials for the purpose of measuring  "timed test readiness".  These exams should be worked in fifty minutes. The slight variations in wording and variation of the goal of the original homeowork problem makes it impossible to simply memorize the homework solutions in order to do well on these tests.  The goal is to master the concepts of classical physics. All introductory physics problems are then achievable.

Bonus Problems  Introductory physics courses have been constrained to simplified problems having little relationship to the "real" world.  The provision of Bonus Problems is an attempt to offer some reward for the time spent in struggling with the complexities of Mathcad while attempting advanced concept problems. The complaint is that these are too hard, even though admittedly more "real". Top students dislike second rank students making A's through Bonus work.  Bottom tier students dislike an opportunity for which they have neither time nor skill to complete.

Laboratory Templates   Mathcad provides excellent templates for the preparation of laboratory reports.  The math regions are "live" and  WYSIWYG and the plots are near publication quality. These lab reports make a much better impression than expected from freshmen and sophomores.  The difficulty of the student task is controlled by the instructor controlled omissions in the template provided.  Almost everything is done for the student in the first report. It is necessary to give points even for the tutorial.  By the fourth report the student is expected to make use of the examples provided in the earlier templates.  (Open both, tile, select and drag to make use of previous solutions)

Committee for Instructional Technology: B - Brainstorming Draft

This link will direct you to a Presentations file  index.html  published using Corel Presentations 7/8.

The Action Items are under construction.  1)  Generate the best possible marketing of UMR through the Web.  2) Hire Instructional Technology experienced new faculty, make sure their career is built through I.T. not destroyed,  3) Support a beta set of current I.T. Active faculty using WebCT,  4)  budget for and define the functions of additional Computer Center supervised support staff.

This link takes you to the home page of  the Instructional Sofeware Development Center at the University of Missouri - Rolla.

• Employer: University of Missouri - Rolla
• Occupation: Professor of Physics/Mathematics Emeritus
• Department of Physics
• Work Phone: (573)341-4788

This document is located on the UMR Web Server. Comments/questions/etc. to
sparlin@umr.edu

Homepage of Don M. Sparlin

Professor of Physics Emeritus
University of Missouri - Rolla
Computer Assisted Instruction  in Physics
using
(a presentation)
Resume
Instrumentation Solid State Quantum  Miscellaneous