Supported SiteSupported Site James Madison University: Course Reform

Successes

  • Largely supported by PhysTEC, introductory calculus-based physics course is taught using LAs in a flipped classroom
  • Pedagogy course developed and will be offered for a third time this fall

Challenges

  • Time. Developing new courses and methods, for instance the pedagogy course has a primary instructor in Psychology (science of learning, STEM education) but included physics faculty as an overload, therefore requiring time beyond the usual teaching load.
  • Developing the pedagogy course to satisfy a current graduation requirement (a related Noyce proposal would include an alternate certification track in which this course will formally count, allowing students to use the pedagogy course to count towards degree progress)

Sustainability

  • Once established, courses are likely to be offered indefinitely

Lessons Learned

University Physics I-II

  • Previously a lecture-based introductory, calculus-based course, currently includes LAs facilitating University of Washington Tutorials and a flipped approach. Success depends largely on having multiple faculty teaching the course on the same page with regard to course transformation

Physics Pedagogy

  • Developed largely by psychology faculty member and science of learning expert in collaboration with physics faculty. Required for LAs and optional for other students. While we commonly recognize the challenges of teaching students to "think like scientists," there are equally challenging aspects of teaching physics majors to "think like teachers," read critically, and accept that educational strategies can be grounded in research (rather than based on personal history).