Day 3 – Divide & Conquer

This morning we arrived to find that the brand new computers we unpacked were sadly, without an operating system. However, the team was able to  make use of their own laptops and the other computers available.

We set ourselves 3 main tasks for the morning;

Some of the problems required some combined brainpower.

1) Wrap up our work from day 1. Finish off the reviews and try use what we learnt from day 2 to solve some of the common issues.

2) Organize a rota to keep our private and wordpress blogs updated daily by different members of the team. Turns out I was the first victim of this new system.

Here’s me and my new form, ecstatic right?

3) And finally, we had to redesign the question evaluation form, make it easier to fill in. I chose to do this task because the other work seemed harder. I added some satisfying tick-boxes to the form – people love ticking boxes.
Just after lunch Nicola, arrived with a piece of paper announcing the 3 teams that the workload for writing questions would be. The teams were:

Post it notes, way more fun than your standard list. Edna was just pleased she got the pink team.

Team Yellow: Myself, George, Mi & Robert
Team Pink: Edna, Rhys, Sam & Jordan
Team Green: Mike C, Helen, Dan, Ben

At 2pm we went for a meeting with Nicola & Jon. It took us about 20 minutes to actually start the meeting, because we didn’t think the tables were very ‘meeting like’, so we moved them all around.

Jon introduced us to the Stack questions… in XML format. Which means we had to decode that, before we could even start writing our own questions. Fantastic.

The questions were grouped into topics and split between the 3 teams; Distributions (Pink), Vector (Green) and Fourier Transforms (Yellow). The largest and most unwanted topic, Matrices, was distributed equally across the teams.

For the rest of the day, everyone started writing up the questions they’d been allocated. At 5pm I decided to go home, but some keen cats kept working into the evening.

Mike W


Day 2 – Training Day

Today was training day! We met in the Learning Center and we were joined by members of staff from across the College, who were also interested in learning Maple TA.

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We were given an overview of where the product could be useful within undergraduate teaching.  We were then let loose playing with Maple TA, looking at sample questions and learning how to create various types of questions such as multiple choice, numerical, Maple graded, etc. We were assisted by our supervisors and PhD students from the Theoretical Physics group, who already have some experience with Maple TA.

Lunch time was spent at the Guild of Students, where some of us made time for some juggling practice!

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 In the afternoon we had a go at some more complicated examples covered in the course notes. We have also looked into a method of solving a frequently occurring problem in the year 1 Maths questions: when the answer is a trigonometric function, writing it in exponential form would sometimes result in it being marked as wrong.

The initial impression is that the system is very user friendly.

At the end of the day we took our first group photo. We think we all quite suit the windswept look!

Look at how photogenic we are…

~ Helen and Edna


Day 1 – Introduction, Juggling and Settling in

IMG_3556On a cold Tuesday morning we all made our way to the Physics East building to start our internship. Our first task was to set up the projector, which proved to be more of a challenge than anticipated for Mike, Mi and Dan. We then had a brief introduction to our project by Dr Nicola Wilkin and Jon Watkins, our supervisors.

We were informed that we would be working in teams during the project to create questions for students to use as an extra maths resource. Members of each team will create questions and test them on each other before passing them over to the other team for them to verify. This is essential to ensure the questions we produce are robust.

In addition to this, we will be taught how to juggle (yes, we know – how cool!) and Greg Oliver, PhD student in Theoretical Physics, will be our instructor.  For those of you interested, here is a video of our very first lesson:

Only if it was that easy…

In the afternoon, we had a go at trying to “break” some of the questions that had already been written for the first year Maths for Physicists module. These are in the final stages of development. What started as an individual exercise in familiarizing ourselves with the interface and finding bugs or errors quickly became a team event in trying to find the strangest errors possible.

thumb_IMG_0051_1024 thumb_IMG_0054_1024 thumb_IMG_0056_1024 thumb_IMG_0058_1024 Meanwhile Helen took photographs of all of us to display, with names, on the door of our office. This was definitely more time consuming than anticipated due to the PhD students feeling the need to pose in a variety of hats.

That is all for today! Happy Blogging!

~ Edna and Helen