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July 26–30, 2014
Wednesday, July 30
8 a.m.–3 p.m. Coffman Union ground floor
Session: Remembering John Risley,
8:30 a.m. STSS 330
Millikan Medal: Eugenia Etkina
10:30–11:30 a.m. Northrop Auditorium
Post Deadline Posters
1–2:3 p.m. Coffman ground floor
Great Book Giveaway,
3–3:30 p.m. Coffman ground floor
Zooniverse in the Classroom,
3:30–5:30 p.m. STSS 131B
Mall of America Trip,
3:30–8:30 p.m. offsite
PERC Banquet and Poster Reception, 5–8:30 p.m.
Commons Hotel
Session FA: Remembering
John Risley
Location: STSS 330
Sponsor: Committee on Educational Technologies
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 8:30–10:30 a.m.
Presider: Danny Caballero
AAPT joins the North Carolina Section and the employees of
WebAssign in this recognition of John Risley, who passed away
at home after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer. John
served on the physics faculty at North Carolina State University
from 1976 until his passing last year. His early career was in the
field of atomic physics.
John had a tremendous impact on Physics Education and AAPT,
particularly in areas of educational technology. In the late 1980s,
John created Physics Academic Software, in collaboration with
AIP, to publish peer-reviewed educational physics programs. In
1988, he and Joe Redish organized the Conference on Comput-
ers in Physics Instruction at North Carolina State University,
which had a major impact on the field. During the 1990s, John
developed summer workshops on educational technology for high
school teachers and, later, oversaw the development of WebAssign,
an online teaching and learning application used by millions of
students worldwide.
John was a passionate teacher and physicist who cared deeply
about how students learned and how teachers taught. Please join
friends, colleagues, and admirers of John in this session dedicated
to his memory.
8:30-10:30 a.m. Bringing Textbooks to Life
Panel – Ruth Chabay, North Carolina State University, 515 E. Coronado
Road Santa Fe, NM 87505;
Bruce Sherwood, North Carolina State University
John Risley’s vision of the future of physics education always included
computers. At an early date he envisioned interactive online textbooks that
seamlessly integrated exercises and problems with text. Now, as electronic
textbooks evolve to include problem-solving activities, animations, video,
and even computational modeling, we remember John’s vision, reflect on
how much textbooks have already changed, and speculate about the future.
8:30-10:30 a.m. John Risley and 30 Years of
Computers in Physics
Panel – Aaron Titus, High Point University, 833 Montlieu Ave., High Point,
NC 27262;
Peg Gjertsen, WebAssign
For 30 years, John Risley had an enormous impact on the use of computers
in physics education. As editor of AIP’s Physics Academic Software (PAS),
John applied professional editorial resources and strategies to publish high-
quality software that teachers could trust. Some of these applications, like
Graphs and Tracks, EM Field, and Electric Field Hockey, are used to this
day. John developed the Physics Courseware Evaluation Project (PCEP)
to provide professional reviews of physics software and train high school
teachers in the use of simulations and MBL software and hardware in the
classroom. Finally, John oversaw the development of WebAssign and suc-
cessfully launched this teacher-developed, publisher-independent online
homework system so that it could be commercially viable, yet committed
to a social mission. In this presentation, we will highlight computers in
physics education during the last 30 years, connecting developments of the
past to implementations of today.
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