Supported SiteSupported Site California State University, Long Beach: Course Reform


  • The early teaching experience course (PHYS 390: Exploring Physics Teaching).
  • The physics specific pedagogy course (PHYS 490: Special Topics).
  • PHYS 390 was an overwhelmingly positive experience for students, both students in the course, students in the PHYS 151 laboratory sections, and in tutoring sessions.
  • PHYS 390 enrollment has increased from 7 in Spring 2011 to 9 in Spring 2012, and 26 in Spring 2013 demonstrating the popularity of the class.
  • Specific pedagogy elements in PHYS 390 (particularly effective group work) are indirectly affecting PHYS 100A/B and PHYS 151/152 sequences, as well as other upper-division physics courses (PHYS 310, 350, mechanics and modern physics respectively) through faculty interactions.
  • PHYS 490 has built an excellent reputation for in-service teachers as well as pre-service teachers. PHYS 490 has become a model for the PCK courses.
  • PHYS 490 enrollment has been steady between 6 and 9 students the mix of in-service teachers, postbac/credential students, and majors.


  • There was no specific challenge for these courses.


  • PHYS 390 is approved by the Curriculum Review process and is approved as an upper division elective for physics majors.
  • PHYS 490 is building an excellent reputation for pre-service teachers and new teachers. We expect a continued-level of interests in this course. Topics change each year so multiple enrollments are encouraged.
  • PHYS 490 is being submitted to the curricular process for review and approval as an upper-division physics elective.

Lessons Learned

[PHYS 490] [PHYS 390]

  • Both were successful courses. More detailed description is available in the earlier section.