Proposal Title

How the application of physics education research improved student success in first-year physics

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A 150

Start Date

6-7-2017 3:30 PM

Keywords

physics education research, online homework, lecture demonstrations, student success

Primary Threads

Education Technologies and Innovative Resources

Abstract

The proliferation of physics education research (PER) has presented an opportunity for university-level educators to adopt peer-reviewed teaching best-practices and to build upon them. At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, we have made a systematic change in our approach to teaching first year physics courses using the principles of PER. The curriculum, instruction, and assessment in these large-enrollment (about 900 students) courses were altered to bring them in line with evidence-based pedagogy, and we evaluated the effectiveness of these changes.

During the first phase of our project we designed and built a series of classroom demonstrations based on common student misconceptions in physics. These demonstrations were meant to both enhance student engagement as well as to improve conceptual understanding. We designed the actual demonstrations alongside “predict-observe-discuss” questions, which can promote student conceptual understanding. During the second phase of our project we altered the homework delivery system. Online homework systems have mostly replaced traditional hand-written assignments; however, the most common online systems are provided by textbook publishers, which can be expensive and inflexible. From recent PER, we identified a “mastery setting” as a good model for homework delivery, built an online system based on an open-source platform, and delivered it to our students.

In this presentation we will describe the above initiatives, as well as quantify changes in student performance and engagement. We will also provide hands-on and interactive examples of our demonstrations and online homework system.

Elements of Engagement

We will provide hands-on and interactive examples of our demonstrations and online homework system for the attendees of the presentation.

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Jul 6th, 3:30 PM

How the application of physics education research improved student success in first-year physics

P&A 150

The proliferation of physics education research (PER) has presented an opportunity for university-level educators to adopt peer-reviewed teaching best-practices and to build upon them. At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, we have made a systematic change in our approach to teaching first year physics courses using the principles of PER. The curriculum, instruction, and assessment in these large-enrollment (about 900 students) courses were altered to bring them in line with evidence-based pedagogy, and we evaluated the effectiveness of these changes.

During the first phase of our project we designed and built a series of classroom demonstrations based on common student misconceptions in physics. These demonstrations were meant to both enhance student engagement as well as to improve conceptual understanding. We designed the actual demonstrations alongside “predict-observe-discuss” questions, which can promote student conceptual understanding. During the second phase of our project we altered the homework delivery system. Online homework systems have mostly replaced traditional hand-written assignments; however, the most common online systems are provided by textbook publishers, which can be expensive and inflexible. From recent PER, we identified a “mastery setting” as a good model for homework delivery, built an online system based on an open-source platform, and delivered it to our students.

In this presentation we will describe the above initiatives, as well as quantify changes in student performance and engagement. We will also provide hands-on and interactive examples of our demonstrations and online homework system.