red Supported Site Central Washington University: Course Reform

Successes

  • The PI developed two learning assistant courses, PHYS 292 and 392. These courses were approved by the university curriculum committee.
  • The physics department continued teaching all introductory physics courses using an integrated lecture/lab format as was planned to start fall 2012 even before we received the PhysTEC grant.

Challenges

  • It is difficult to find the time and money for professional development for all introductory course instructors in using and assessing reformed teaching techniques.
  • Gathering, compiling, analyzing, and effectively using standardized test data (such as the FCI) to support and inform reformed teaching is an organizational challenge with only a part-time department secretary.

Sustainability

  • All introductory physics courses are scheduled to be taught in an integrated lecture/lab format for the foreseeable future.
  • The LA courses, which train students to support the reformed physics courses, are on the department schedule for the foreseeable future.

Lessons Learned

  • The PI will work with the new department secretary to develop an efficient system to analyze and report data to support and inform reformed teaching.
  • The PI will encourage faculty teaching introductory courses to attend the workshops at the Washington section meeting of AAPT.

PHYS 292: Exploring Physics Teaching I

  • This course was developed as part of the PhysTEC project. Its major outcomes are to 1) Develop the skills of listening to and responding to physics conceptions in a classroom, 2) Use effective strategies for explaining physics skills and concepts, 3) Effectively self-assess and reflect on teaching practice, and 4) Develop pedagogical content knowledge in physics.