back to tpkling's homepage                                                   back to Physics 422

Physics 422:  Computer Simulations Journal FAQ


What is a journal?

At its core, a journal is a place to reflect on your work in and out of class.  Your journal will be more than your notes and computer code.  It will be the place where you will reflect on what you are learning – recording questions and answers, summaries of what you know, and annotating your computer code so that you can understand it in the future.

Why has the professor assigned a journal?

The professor has two goals.  (1)  That you create a set of long-time, useable notes that you will refer to in the future.  (2)  That you will think about what you are doing as you do it.

By writing about your computer code and what you are trying to do, you will naturally reflect on what you understand and what you don’t yet understand.  By maintaining annotated versions of your computer code in one central location, you will leave the class with a document that you can use in the future.

What are the physical parameters of the journal?

Your journal will be a bound research notebook.  You will DATE everything you write, and write your thoughts in page order.  You will glue or tape printed versions of your code into the journal and annotate the code with comments in pencil or pen.  You will keep the journal with you in class and whenever you program, making notes in it about what you are doing.  You will write in the journal on a regular basis about your experiences.  You will apply stickers to the journal to indicate important pages for later reference.

When and what will I write in my journal?

In class:  you will write your notes about anything the speaker is saying that you deem important or want to think about later.

In class:  you will write notes about what you are trying to do with your computer programs.  This will include comments about mistakes you made and good ideas you had and answers to significant questions you had.

After each class:  you will write a summary of what you did in that class including the goal of the class, what worked, what the program did, etc.

After each class:  you will write a list of questions (at least 2) that you have about the material, program, etc.

At least weekly:  you will print out at least parts of your computer programs and annotate them – indicating important lines of code and what they do.  You will glue or tape the computer code into your journal.

At least weekly:  you will write a narrative summary of about a page explaining the underlying mathematical, computer science, or physical principles of what we are studying.  (This might be typed, printed, and glued or taped into the journal.)

At least every other week:  you will write a meta-summary of what you are learning, and place “stickers” in your journal highlighting important pages.  Your summary will include references to your computer codes and what they demonstrate.

back to tpkling's homepage                                                   back to Physics 422