An android app to simplify the implementation of the COPUS protocol.


COPUS is a protocol developed by Michelle Smith, Francis Jones, Sarah Gilbert, and Carl Wieman to observe and record the activities that occur in a classroom. More details can be found at Carl Wieman Science Initiative at the University of British Columbia. The original paper, guidelines, and training materials can be found at their site. Some examples of how to use the observation data is given as well.

The app is available in the google play store.


This app is used to aid in implementing an observation based on the COPUS protocol. The options on the opening view allow you to choose the different options from the protocol. The basic idea is that you start the timer, record the observations, and stop the timer at the end. You then send the results via email so that you can view and share them.

Before starting the timer a second time you have to send the previous observations so that the observations can be saved. Otherwise, the previous observations will be lost.

How to operate:

  1. Click the start button to begin the timer.
  2. While the timer is on touch the checkboxes coresponding to the activities you observe.
  3. Every two minutes the checkboxes are saved, cleared, and the cycle starts over.
  4. At the end of the class period touch the stop button.
  5. Touch the email icon at the bottom of the screen, and the results will be attached to an email.
  6. Send the results to yourself or someone else, and they can be downloaded onto another computer and analyzed.

More information about the protocol is available at Carl Wieman Science Initiative at the University of British Columbia.

There is one difference in the app and the protocol. This app allows you to specify student engagements for each student status. If you do not like this simply use the top student engagement level and ignore the others.

CSV Files

At the end of an observation you can send the results via an email to yourself and then download the file to another computer. The observations are saved in a CSV file, and there are two options. The first is to save the observations in a table. When you open the file as a spreadsheet it will look similar to the format of the standard grid. If you noted that an activity occured, there will be a 1 in the coresponding cell, otherwise there will be a 0 (zero). If you indicated the student involvement, that will be included in the adjacent cell.

The other option is to save the results as a flat file. In a flat file there are only four columns, the time period, the activity, whether or not it as a student or an instructor observation, and the level of engagement if it was indicated. The table format is easier to examine by eye, but the flat file is better suited for use with a statistical package.

Two example files are available. The two files come from the same observation. The first version is the table format, and the second version is the flat file format. A python script is also available, and it can be used to convert a file in the table format into a file in the flat format.

An example of an R file is also available. The R file reads in a flat file and creates two different plots for the instructor activities and two different plots for the student activities.


This app is an implementation of the COPUS protocoal by Smith, Jones, Gilbert, and Wieman. More details can be found at Carl Wieman Science Initiative at the University of British Columbia. The app is written by Kelly Black, Department of Mathematics, University of Georgia. It is written in kotlin using the android studio development system.