Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:17:02 -0800

Author: Prep Room Staff

Subject: Fwd: Message to Tap-l


>Hi all, Stan asked me to forward this message to tap-l. I also sent
>a message to Mr. Potter encouraging him to join the listserv.

>Dave Vernier was sent this message from Curtis Hieggelke, Physics
>Professor Natural Science Department,
>Joliet Junior College. He mentioned it to me so I thought that
>perhaps someone at tap-l could help. I would send your responses
>directly to Mr. Potter.
>Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 03:59:09 -0600
>From: "Robert D. Potter"
>Subject: Use of computers in lab instruction
>Dear Dr. Hieggelke:
>I am the supervisor of undergraduate physics labs at UIC. We have
>about 1,000 students taking physics labs at any given time: an
>algebra-based two-semester sequence; a three-semester, calculus-based
>sequence for engineers and science majors, and some one-semester
>survey courses that people take to meet part of their minimum science
>My department has a faculty committee working on a modernization
>effort. It looks like we are going to pursue the idea of setting up
>the calculus-based E & M course with PCs or laptops and an interface
>and apparatus for introductory E & M experiments, working with about
>$27,000 .
>I'm writing you because of your reputation and leadership in
>innovative physics teaching. Your expert, objective advice regarding
>technical issues, such as PASCO vs. Vernier, recommended computers,
>and the effectiveness of this approach compared to conventional
>circuits and instruments, would be greatly appreciated.
>I am especially interested in the administrative, maintenance, and
>training issues of running high volume, back-to-back lab sessions
>with graduate TAs. We run two concurrent sections, of twelve stations
>each, in adjacent rooms. Each room has 30 students and one TA.
>Your own experience, and that of colleagues around the country who
>have gone through this change, would be invaluable, as would any
>articles or web sites you could recommend.
>As a non-physicist and part-time Speech 101 instructor, I am
>definitely "low man on this totem pole," so I would like to be as
>helpful as possible to my department faculty. (Also, I am the one who
>is going to have to live with this on a day-to-day basis!)
>Thanks for considering this plea, Dr. Hieggelke.
>Yours truly,
>Bob Potter
>312 996-2970 days
>815 485-5293 home