red Supported Site Middle Tennessee State University: Course Reform


  • Student reaction to both The Teaching of Physics and Physics Licensure has been very positive.
  • Calculus-based Physics I & II were transformed from a standard lecture/lab model to an inquiry-based course that has two 3-hr meetings each week.
  • Of the twelve students enrolled in the pilot of Calculus-based Physics II, five changed majors to physics.
  • The low rate of failure (<"C") and withdrawal (DFW) is much lower in reformed physics courses than other STEM introductory sequences.


  • Real course reform can be very challenging (painful?) when it affects faculty workloads and room scheduling.
  • Funding for space renovation must be planned years in advance.
  • Reformed courses work best in unique spaces, and require more hours each week.


  • It is helpful to have the department chairman as a PhysTEC co-PI when workload and scheduling issues arise.
  • Only the reformed version of both Algebra- and Calculus-based Physics is offered.

The Teaching of Physics

  • New course that introduces PER-based physics teaching pedagogies in the classroom, and gives students the opportunity to act as learning assistants in a hands-on cooperative-learning and/or discovery-learning based introductory physics course.

Physics Licensure

  • New course overviews topics that must be mastered to succeed on either the Physics Praxis II, or a comparable nationally standardized assessment. Students will be required to take the licensing exam.
  • This course was extended to a full year to allow time to cover the full range of topics typically covered in the introductory physics sequence.

Concepts and Applications of Modern Physics I/II

  • Reformed course that introduces modern physics topics in a more conceptual context, which is intended to be maximally beneficial to physics teaching majors. Lecture meets with existing Modern Physics I/II.

Concepts and Applications of Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

  • Reformed course that addresses thermodynamics from the macroscopic and microscopic points of view with many applications and tangible examples. Lecture meets with existing Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics.

Calculus-based Physics I & II

  • Reformed course was taught as a standard 3hr lecture/3hr laboratory offering. Now will meet as 1hr lecture/6hr laboratory in a space that is designed similar to the SCALE-UP model. Meeting schedule is based on our Non-Calculus Physics I/II that was reformed 15 years ago.