Supported Site Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo: Collaboration

Successes

  • Involved 14 instructors (13 from Physics and 1 from Education) in the design and the team teaching of 5 reformed courses.
  • Started a teacher advisory group (TAG) that consists of local science teachers.

Challenges

  • Finding the time to work together is difficult. While we have involved many people, it is a small group considering the number of different courses we are trying to impact.
  • This is also true for the TAG as well, but is a little more difficult because the participants are spread across the county.

Sustainability/Institutional Buy-In

  • The TAG is sustainable. We will have at least 2 meetings a year. The only hindrance is time. Everyone feels that it is a good collaboration.
  • The collaboration for team teaching is sustainable in that there will always be a group that will continue to operate in that format, because they find it more enjoyable. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely, and probably not possible, that in any given quarter all of the sections will use it.

Lessons Learned

  • The teacher advisory group is worth starting. It costs little money, but pays big dividends in connections and camaraderie with local teachers. We now feel like we are on the same team, even if we aren’t yet on the same page.

Physics Department Collaboration-Group Design

  • PhysTEC faculty re-designed the first and second quarter physics for elementary teachers courses. We now have a Day-by-Day plan for both courses.
  • PhysTEC faculty designed a Day-by-Day plan for introductory physics, calculus-based: mechanics. The goal was to make the lecture more active-learning oriented using group work and Interactive Lecture Demonstrations.
  • PhysTEC faculty designed a Day-by-Day plan for introductory physics, calculus-based: electricity & magnetism. The goal was to make the lecture more active-learning oriented using group work and the labs more active using Real Time Physics style labs.

Physics Department Collaboration-Group Teaching

During a given quarter, two to four instructors teach the same course, but in different sections. The instructors follow the same game plan. The instructors meet for 1.5-2 hours per week in order to go over the week’s activities and in order to discuss how the course is going.

  • First quarter physics for elementary teachers course has used group teaching in 20 sections with 8 instructors over 5 quarters.
  • Second quarter physics for elementary teachers course has used group teaching in 11 sections with 4 instructors over 4 quarters.
  • First quarter physics, calculus-based: mechanics has used group teaching in 15 sections with 6 instructors over 3 quarters.
  • Third quarter physics, calculus-based: electricity & magnetism used group teaching in 13 sections with 5 instructors.

Collaboration between Physics Department and Local School Teachers

  • In 2005-2006 the TIRs put together the first Teacher Advisory Group meeting. In May of 2006 we met with twelve local high school and junior high school teachers to discuss the role of the group and a plan for our Introduction to Teaching course– a state required observation of local classrooms. Formation of this group has been a key step in our attempt to revise the physics teacher education program at Cal Poly State University. We were able to get a very representative group of middle and high school teachers to participate. The diversity of the group paid dividends immediately as they brainstormed ways to improve our observations class. They emphasized the importance of requiring different grade observations, different socio-economic schools as well as traditional and alternative schools. They are committed and willing to help. We plan to make this group instrumental in our decisions of classes and requirements. By having the suggestions for reform come from this group, other teachers will feel it is a program designed by teachers for the best preparation of future teachers.
  • In 2006- 2007 the TAG group met two more times. The first time to discuss the rough drafts of our observation instruments that the TIRS put together for our introduction to teaching course. The second time the group finalized the observation instruments.