Webpage preparation as a tool in (Computational) Physics Education

There are many excellent websites with material to help physics students understand and experience physical processes and concepts. Many of these require active participation, which strongly reinforces grasping the new ideas, and while never as good as the real ``hands-on'' experiment, they supplement laboratory experiments in cases where these may be unsafe or impractical.

Another possibility is to have the students creating webpages, and to have a double yield because both the act of creation will enhance understanding, and the better projects can then be further used by future students.For almost 20 years I have encouraged the students in my Computational Physics courses to present their final projects as websites; for the 5 years before that project codes were placed on an ftp server. Some examples are summarized at: http://phycomp.technion.ac.il/~comphy/technion_projects.html Originally this also included teaching them simple source-code html, but nowadays many start the course with prior html experience or use the html outputting capabilities of their editing software.

Last year I decided to extend this approach to undergraduates in my Modern Physics for Engineers class. This was far from logistically trivial, since the class has some 200 students with a single lecturer and and only one teaching assistant. Two different miniprojects were given, one involved locating and annotating code for superposition of waves and one preparing reports on Nobel Prize winners. Both led to webpages suited for the use of future students in the class. The majority in the latter project, having been prepared in Hebrew are well suited for our students, but of little use outside Israel, but links to these pages can be found at: http://phycomp.technion.ac.il/~webteach/projects.html