Professional Research Asst

Job description

Specialist in Manual Quality Assurance

for the PhET Interactive Simulations project at

University of Colorado Boulder

The PhET Interactive Simulations project ( at University of Colorado Boulder has an opening for a part- or full-time Professional Research Assistant position for a manual quality assurance (QA) specialist with a focus on simulation testing as well as managing your team of undergraduate QA testers. This position works closely with PhET's team of software developers to ensure that all sims behave correctly during use.

PhET is currently engaged in several initiatives including: building tablet and touch-compatible simulations for mathematics and science, and increasing the accessibility capabilities of our simulations. The successful applicant will join the vibrant and productive PhET team. The responsibilities will grow as the applicant becomes familiar with the project, and will include:

  1. Testing early and late stage development sims while reporting any issues found to the PhET team (advanced experience with software programming is NOT required, but basic experience is helpful for creating useful bug reports).
  2. Managing hourly undergraduate students who work as QA testers. This would include delegating QA work and training new hires.
  3. Supporting simulation design and development - e.g. analyzing data, being aware of team decisions that result in sim design changes, etc.
  4. Testing the PhET website when new features are added while reporting any problems to the website developers.
  5. Organizing device inventories and operating systems to maintain an abundance testing options.
  6. Adapting and improving the testing process and procedures with the flexible nature of the project.
  7. Assisting with marketing and dissemination efforts, and representing PhET at exhibition booths at national and local conferences.

The ideal candidate will have strong logical reasoning and have a proficient attention to detail. They would also have a basic understanding of software development and be able to learn new skills in this area quickly (there is no requirement to write any lines of code). Finally, they would be able to organize large amounts of information and draw logical conclusions from past experiences.

Part-time candidates will be considered, but must be able to work at least 20 hours per week. The starting pay will be determined on qualifications and experience.


Due to the large volume of applicants that we receive for this type of position, we have a preliminary evaluation we'd like you to complete. The position requires the ability to determine the severity of bugs and communicate them thoroughly and clearly to others team members.

You can use any tools (word, excel, pencil/paper, etc.), but please submit the final document in pdf format.

Please upload both tasks to your application in (1) pdf under 'Additional Materials'.

Test Task I

Please limit yourself to no more than 1 hour on this task.

Perform a test of Isotopes and Atomic Mass at the link below. This is an early development version, so look out for any bugs that may occur during interaction. Please create a bug report for at least 3 unique behavioral issues. These are issues that negatively impact the sim's usability or lead to undesired/distracting visuals. Good bug reports allow for easy reproduction of an issue and might include any clues to the cause.

Test Task II

You may choose to do both parts of Task II (.a and .b), or only one.

Each of the below screenshots were taken from a sim in a buggy state. Using only the screenshot, description, and hints provided, outline a process to reproduce the bug yourself. Test with the links provided.


Hint: Lines need two points, but the line in this image only has one. How is this possible? The line shown is directly on the y-axis.


Electrons should be evenly distributed about a circuit. How did all these electrons bunch together in one location?

Hint 1: Look carefully at all connections in the circuit (zooming in on each connection in the screenshot might help).

Hint 2: This sim allows wires to be any length.

Review of applications will begin February 6, 2018.

Special Instructions to Applicants:The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning, living and working community. To achieve this goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include a criminal history record check, and an EPLS (Excluded Parties List System) check. The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work.

The University of Colorado is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, the University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, political affiliation or political philosophy in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. Inquiries may be directed to the Boulder Campus Title IX Coordinator by calling 303-492-2127. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting Human Resources at [email protected]

Application Materials Required:Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References, Unofficial transcript(s), Additional Attachments - Refer to Application Materials Instructions Below

Application Materials Instructions:Applicants must complete the Faculty/University Staff and EEO Data (application) form, and upload the following required documents: 1 - Cover Letter; 2 - Resume; 3 - The document uploaded for Proof of Degree can be a Transcript which shows the date the degree was conferred; Copy of Diploma; or official letter from the Registrar or the Dean of the School or College conferring the degree; and 4 - List of References. This position is eligible for medical, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits programs, and is eligible for monthly vacation and sick leave accruals. The University of Colorado Boulder conducts background checks on all final applicants being considered for employment, prior to the issuance of an offer letter. The University of Colorado Boulder conducts background checks on all final applicants being considered for employment, prior to the issuance of an offer letter.

Job Category: Faculty

Primary Location: Boulder

Department: B0001 -- Boulder Campus - 10180 - Physics

Schedule: Full-time

Posting Date: Jan 10, 2018

Closing Date: Ongoing

Posting Contact Name: Steele Dalton

Posting Contact Email: [email protected]

Position Number: 00618867





Diversity Profile: University



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Job No:
Posted: 5/12/2018
Application Due: 7/11/2018
Work Type: