The CUPLE consortium, which has the support of the IBM Corporation, the Annenberg/CPB project, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, has produced the prototype of a new instructional resource for college and university physics courses. The Comprehensive Unified Physics Learning Environment (CUPLE) combines flexible computer‐based tools with inputs from laboratory experiments, video recordings, and other sources. This two‐part report discusses motivations for, and implementations of, the CUPLE concepts. In Part I, the authors describe the context for curriculum reform, the choices of hardware and software platforms, and operation of the system. Part II, of this report will appear in the next issue. It describes the modular text materials, student programming, the linkage with laboratory experiments, the use of video tools, and the open system environment.

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