Quantum Computing: Flipped Classroom and Peer Teaching

 

Course Quantumphysics 1; honours (BSc Physics and Astronomy)
Lecturer Kareljan Schoutens
Context New first year honours module, runs parallel to quantumphysics 1
Challenge No prior knowledge of quantum physics, few contact hours
Design Flipped classroom, peer-to-peer teaching and group presentations
Evaluation The students liked it very much, they learned a lot and because of the peer-to-peer teaching approach they really felt they had to master the content
Related Topics Flipped classroomInteractive/adaptive course materialMethods to enhance interaction in the classroom

Interview with Kareljan Schoutens

Could you tell something about this new course?
The context is the rapid developments in Quantum Information, now that prototype quantum computers are available to the public (and the students!). The learning goals were

  1. The student understands how information can be stored and processed in quantum systems and appreciates the new possibilities this offers.
  2. The student gains experience with the implementation of a simple quantum algorithm on a simulator or on a simple qubit platform.

In what way was this course ‘blended’ or innovative? Why did you choose this approach?
In many ways. The material was offered through lecture notes plus ‘animated slides’. The Q&A sessions on each of the parts were led by students. The final assignment was aligned with learning goal 2. Working in groups of 4, the students implemented a small quantum algorithm on a simulator or on IBM’s public-domain quantum computer.

Are you satisfied with the result?
Very much so. I asked the students if they’d rather see me return to traditional teaching – the answer was “no”.

What did you think of the process? Did you like creating a course in this way?
Yes this was inspiring. It was a challenge to tune the steepness of the learning curve to the abilities of the group (all honour students but still in their 1st year).

Would you recommend this approach/design to other teachers? 
Yes, but only if professional help (creating animated slides and/or clips) is available.

Course Material

The lecture material is in the form of an interactive slide show with voice-over:

Interactive example of the BB84 encryption algorithm: