Teach as an experimental physicist

Jan 12, 2015 teaching phys-332 South Dakota grant

USD CTL MCI grant proposal budget 2015

Dear Members in the CTL Grants Task Force,

I am writing to apply for the MCI grant to develop a digital laboratory to enhance the teaching and learning of experimental skills for modern physics with various mobile computing technologies.

Description of the project. A digital laboratory will be established in Akeley-Lawrence 119 to teach modern experimental physics to students enrolled in PHYS 332, 498, 769, 788, 791, and 798. Tablets and digital pens will be used to log laboratory activities in the format of hand-writings, pictures, sounds and videos. Logs are saved as notebooks in EVERNOTE, making them distributable, searchable and accessible anywhere, anytime. Web cameras with Google Hangouts will be used to provide 24-hour monitoring of the laboratory. Most equipment will be connected to computers, and their data will be served for mobile monitoring through a local server. Google Drive will be used to distribute manuals, collect experiment reports. Google Calendar will be used to share experiment schedules. Google Sheet will be used to log experimental data. Bar code scanning applications for tablets will be used to create inventories of laboratory equipment. GitHub will be used for collaborative coding of physics analysis and simulation programs. Google Sites will be used to create a mobile-browsing friendly web portal to all resources mentioned above. The students enrolled in PHYS 332 in the spring semester of 2015 will help establish the laboratory. The whole process will be faithfully recorded in video. The instruction and process of individual experiments in PHYS 332 will also be recorded in video and posted on YouTube. The project meets the newly established National Educational Technology Standards very well, especially in the following aspects: Communication and collaboration, Research and information fluency, and Technology operations and concepts.

Dates of the project. All the tasks are expected to finish in the spring semester of 2015.

Anticipated Goals and Outcomes. By the end of the semester, we would provide:

  • A series of video tutorials on YouTube, describing experimental devices, procedures, etc.

  • A series of digital log books on EVERNOTE, recording experimental procedures by both the teacher and the students.

  • A website hosted by Google, serving as a portal to all resources of the laboratory.

  • A digital laboratory serving both physics research and education.

  • A paper on a pedagogical journal, comparing the teaching and learning experience from the proposed approach with that from the traditional one, based on the feedback from students.

Co-sponsorship. Scientific equipment will be covered by my start-up fund. Consumptions for teaching and learning, such as cables, LEDs, soldering material, etc. will be covered by the physics department.


Dr. Jing LIU

Assistant professor, Physics

Budget Justification

The men and women’s lab coats are used to protect students and provide a convenient way to carry a tablet. The digital pen, the table and the stylus are used to write digital logs. The digital pen also comes with 1 year subscription to EVERNOTE Premium, which is necessary to remove the limitation on the amount of log books that can be uploaded to EVERNOTE cloud storage system monthly. The camera on the tablet and the tripod are used to take video tutorials and blogs to post on YouTube. The tablet armor case is necessary to protect the tablet in extensive laboratory uses. The AppleCare+ warranty is recommended by the ITS. The keyboard is to facilitate fast data input into the tablet. The external hard drive is used to keep a local backup of all digital data uploaded to various cloud storage systems.


Blogs on physics research and educational activities of Jing LIU, an assistant professor in physics at the University of South Dakota. He is an experimental physicist developing novel particle detectors for astroparticle physics and civil use.