Student’s Review of Physical Computing

Originally posted JUNE 14, 2010

I just finished teaching my third quarter long Physical Computing class. It had its ups and downs but was overall very positive. I have my students fill out a Course Review sheet to give me some feedback about what they liked, didn’t like, and what improvements to make.

There is an obvious pattern in comments from the three times I’ve taught the class to different students. They all enjoyed the freedom to experiment, they found it difficult at times but want to take the class again because there’s so much more to learn, and they were frustrated by others who weren’t taking the class as serious as they were. I’m encouraged by the results because it showed a genuine interest in the class and philosophy behind it. I had hoped that the student’s interest in their projects would push them through the difficult parts, and it worked.

I’m working on a slightly new format for the class next year. I will focus on leading them through more projects and then having them modify that project before moving on. As the class progresses I hope to begin using teaching assistants that feel comfortable with the Arduino and circuits. I’m also hoping to begin using the arduino in my regular science classes to build simple lab equipment such as temperature probes. With time the student population’s confidence and ability will increase and the project freedom can open up.