U(1) Transformed Learning

Me in mid-2020 talking to my computer screen at midnight in the hopes that it might help a student understand something about quantum computing.
1) Audience | Who are you?
2) Problem | Lighting a global pandemic under my ass
3) Solution | The U(1) Transformed Learning Model
4) Tools | Don’t reinvent the wheel — steal an 18-wheeler!
5) Implementation | What does it look like?
6) Results | Too close to call
7) Action | Where do we go from here?

Audience | Who are you?

Problem | Lighting a global pandemic under my ass

Requirements for obtaining a Bachelor’s of Computer Science with a Major in Quantum Information Science in addition to the core requirements.
  1. The subject had to entice students to enrol in the Major. I needed to get them excited about quantum computing. The subject needed to be a giant advertisement for quantum computing.
  2. The subject actually had to prepare them for potentially five more subjects in quantum information theory. I needed to ensure they had the right technical foundation to be successful should they actually choose to enrol in the Major.
  3. On account of COVID-19 (not sure if you’ve heard of it), the whole thing had to be delivered online.

Solution | The U(1) Transformed Learning Model

Tools | Don’t reinvent the wheel — steal an 18-wheeler!

Figure 1–3 of Programming Quantum Computers.

Implementation | What does it look like?

Hand-drawn animations made with Blender.
Play with this circuit on Quirk.
Group assignment for non-transitive project based learning.

Results | Too close to call

Answers to the question: How useful did you find this quiz as an educational device?

Action | Where do we go from here?

  1. Shorten the videos to more bite-sized chunks. I’m just assuming here that the shorter the better based on the popularity of TikTok. But also, it is easier to accept the need to rewatch something short than search a long video for something you missed.
  2. Find a way to assign and reveal katas beyond the classroom. Now I give the students the code fragments and after a suitable amount of time, I give them the solution. Really, though, I create the solution and copy to a version with deleted content. Streamlining this would be far more convenient.
  3. Build the interactive quizzes into lectures. The interactives seem to work the best. However, it is really time consuming to create them. There are also many things I’d like to try but don’t have the software development or animation skills for.
  4. Find a platform to more easily facilitate group work. The students don’t collaborate beyond sharing screens on Zoom or exchanging emails. There must be a better way.
  5. Find a more convenient way to solicit feedback. Getting student feedback during the class is problematic, which makes it difficult to iterate.

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