The 5+ Club Supported SiteThe 5+ Club Supported Site Georgia State University: Course Reform

Successes

  • Laboratories were redesigned for the first semester of calculus-based introductory physics sequence taken by physics, chemistry, and computer science majors. Three-hour labs are being replaced by one hour of tutorial led by an undergraduate Learning Assistant with assistance from a graduate Teaching Assistant, followed by two hour inquiry-based laboratory led by the graduate TA.
  • New laboratories with tutorials were written and implemented in Spring 2014 in three lab sections.
  • New laboratories will be implemented in all sections of the first course in sequence in Fall 2014.
  • New laboratories with tutorials for the second course in sequence are being written and a pilot will be implemented in Fall 2014, with full adoption in Spring 2015.

Challenges

  • Writing of new laboratories is very time intensive.
  • New laboratories were tested by several TAs and modified before use in pilot lab sections, which was a lot of work.
  • Creation of guidelines for LAs and TAs including grading is necessary.
  • Preparation of LAs and TAs is logistically difficult.

Sustainability

  • The reform of the laboratories is underway and is supported by the department.
  • The department has committed lab fee funds to support equipment needed for redesign.
  • The Laboratory coordinator served as TA for one section of pilot lab and is committed to assist the redesign.
  • Department IT support is assisting in placement and configuration of new computers appropriate to support redesigned laboratories.

Lessons Learned

  • Time required to redesign labs, test new labs, modify materials, and prepare LAs and TAs is larger than we anticipated.
  • Students are very appreciative when lectures, tutorials and labs are well coordinated and do not appreciate when they are not well coordinated.

Phys2211: Principles of Physics I

  • This is the first semester of a two-semester introductory calculus-based physics sequence taken by physics, chemistry, and computer science majors. Before PhysTEC, the course consists of three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. The textbook used is a modern textbook that incorporates PER results (Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Knight). Instructors are familiar with PER results and use them in their teaching to varying degrees. The laboratory for the course is a traditional style lab, which is mostly of the verification type.
  • In Year One of the GSU PhysTEC project, the laboratory portion of the course has been redesigned to replace three-hour verification labs with a one-hour tutorial led by an undergraduate Learning Assistant followed by a two-hour inquiry-based laboratory. The new tutorials and labs were piloted in three lab sections in Spring 2014. Full implementation in all lab sections begins in Fall 2014.

Phys2212: Principles of Physics II

  • This is the second semester of a two-semester introductory calculus-based physics sequence taken by physics, chemistry, and computer science majors. The course consists of three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. The textbook used is a modern textbook that incorporates PER results (Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Knight). Instructors are familiar with PER results and use them in their teaching to varying degrees. The laboratory for the course is a traditional style lab that is mostly of the verification type.
  • In Year One of the GSU PhysTEC project, a redesign of the laboratory portion of the course has begun that will replace the three-hour verification labs with a one hour tutorial led by an undergraduate Learning Assistant followed by a two hour inquiry-based laboratory. The new tutorials and labs will be piloted in three lab sections in Fall 2014. Full implementation in all lab sections begins in Spring 2015.