Scot Gould

Prof. Scot Gould

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6 years, 149 days
Dr. Scot Gould is a professor of physics in the W.M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, Scripps colleges - members of The Claremont Colleges in California. He was involved in the early development of the atomic force microscope. His research has included numerous applications of scanning problem microscopes, particularly those which involved natural and synthetic fibers such as spider silk. He has more than 60 papers and his publications have been sited more than four thousand times. He has more recently been involved in developing and sustaining non-traditional interdisciplinary undergraduate science educational programs that involve biology, chemistry, physics, mathematical and computer science. He teaches the use of Maple to assist students to model and visual biochemical systems from a physical approach.

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I'm an educator (physicist) who has migrated to Maple because of the lower "activation barrier" to get something of interest produced by the student. The students in my courses are exposed to several language (Python, C++, Java) and mathematical systems (Mathematica, Maple, MATLAB.) Many claim that unless forced to used a particular language or system, their first choice is Python and Maple for the reason I cite. 

As a consequence, it is my experience that students truly perfer the math-like appearance of the 2-D Math notation as opposed to the Maple notation. They see it as more natural - again with a lower activation barrier. Hence I see no reason to change. However, I would be interested in reasons why it might be beneficial.

My ultimate question is: do I start them with worksheet mode or documents mode? I'm use to worksheet mode and have found the call and response method easy for them to understand. But document mode has many valuable benefits. Is it worth the increase in learning (and frustration) for the benefits if the students use the software only a few times per semester? Or for some, every week?

I would be interested in hearing about the experiences of other educators.

 

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