Conceptual change, software development, and curriculum design

Project Tags: 
Education Research
Time Critical: 
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Research Project Description: 

We still have a couple openings for this summer (2019) -- apply now!


We are looking for undergraduates who are interested in how students learn and interact with one another in college classrooms. Our work has two main focuses: (1) creating software tools to support teamwork and project-based learning, and (2) creating curricular materials for physics courses and analyzing their effectiveness. Potential projects include:

  1. collaboration to create software that incentivizes positive group learning experiences
  2. collaboration to create software for peer grading
  3. analysis of student responses on physics assignments to identify areas of confusion
  4. creation of curriculum materials, includin introducing students to physics education ideas

Previous research experience is not required. We encourage you to apply if you are enthusiastic about studying the learning process in physics!

Specific openings:

Software to help with group learning. This project requires no previous research experience. This project is suitable for students to develop programming skills in a real-world context with little or no programming experience. We are currently looking for 2-3 students to join one such project this summer, so apply ASAP if you are interested!


Curriculum creation and analysis. This project requires no previous research experience. Students will work on a team to create curriculum materials about physics research, cognitive science, and education research. They will also design evaluation tools to measure the success of their curriculum and analyze the results using various techniques (both qualitative and statistical). We are currently looking for 2-3 students to join this summer, so apply ASAP if you are interested!


Introduction to qualitative coding. This project requires no previous research experience. Students will review physics answers and categorize responses by the kinds of mistakes made. We will then do a statistical analysis of the results, in which students will have the opportunity to develop some programming and statistical knowledge. We are currently looking for 2 students to join this summer, so apply ASAP if you are interested!



Undergraduate Student Participation: 

Students working on software projects will work on a team to code, document, and test education software.

Students creating curriculum will review literature, relevant existing curriculum, and adapt or create new materials.

Students analyzing the effectiveness of curricular materials will learn applicable techniques in quantitative / statistical analysis and qualitative analysis (to analyze free-form responses).

Time Commitment: 

5-12 hours per week

Minimum GPA: 
Other Requirements to Participate: 

No other requirements.

Programming experience may be helpful for some projects, but is not required.

All students (first year through final year) are welcome. You are encouraged to apply even if you are in the 7-series!

Some paid positions are available in summer, depending on project and usually after 1-2 quarters of work
Contact Info: 

Laura Tucker, Frederick Reines Hall 4154,


How many hours per week will you be able to work on the project? Will you be available to work outside of the academic year (particularly during the Summer)?
List any lab and computer programming courses you have completed (with grades received) and for which you are currently enrolled.
Briefly describe any previous research experience (less than 300 words). If you have previously received course credit for student research, list those courses here (with grades received) and the name(s) of your supervisor(s).
Give a brief statement (less than 300 words) summarizing what qualities you will bring to the research program and explaining what you hope to achieve through your participation. (Is there something essential that you want to get out of the project? Paid position? Senior thesis? Co-author a journal publication?)
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.