Supported SiteSupported Site James Madison University: Program Data

The project collects data on the number of PhysTEC Graduates, PhysTEC Future Teachers, PhysTEC Learning Assistants, and PhysTEC Mentors; these PhysTEC terms are defined here. The project also collects data on physics pedagogy courses, early teaching experiences, and enrollment in K-8 physical science courses for future elementary school teachers.

PhysTEC Graduates (Years funded 2010-2014)
BaselineProject Funded
Year -2 Year -1 Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
0 0 0 2    

Commentary on Secondary Graduates data:
Two students completed MAT program.

Future Physics Teachers
Year -2 2010/11 Year -1 2011/12 Year 0 2012/13 Year 1 2013/14 Year 2 2014/15 Year 3 2015/16
0 2 3 4    

Definition of a Future Teacher at University of James Madison University: A Future Teacher is defined as either (i) a declared physics major who has enrolled in the Secondary Education track and completed at least one course in the College of Education or (ii) a physics major or minor who has graduated and enrolled in an MAT program to achieve licensure. Since external students are required to complete the JMU undergraduate minor before completing the MAT program, in practice these are students completing their undergraduate degrees at JMU.

Commentary on Future Physics Teacher data:
Two students are completing the undergraduate education requirements and intend on enrolling in JMU’s MAT program. One student is currently completing an MAT elsewhere. One student is completing undergraduate education program at JMU with the intention of completing an MAT elsewhere. Two students (including the latter) are enrolled in the online Modeling course in fall 2014.

Learning Assistants in Physics Courses
Year -2 2010/11 Year -1 2011/12 Year 0 2012/13 Year 1 2013/14 Year 2 2014/15 Year 3 2015/16
0 7 11 9    

Commentary on Learning Assistant data: Learning assistant program started in 2011-12 in a subset of introductory calculus-based physics courses (PHYS 240). The program was made optional for all PHYS 240 faculty in 2012-13. Beginning in 2013-14, all six introductory course sections utilize LAs with common flipped course delivery, common exams, and weekly instructor meetings (beyond the usual weekly LA meeting and Pedagogy Course meeting). All students serving as Learning Assistants take a two-credit Physics Pedagogy course.

 PhysTEC Mentors
Year 1 2013/14 Year 2 2014/15 Year 3 2015/16
PhysTEC Mentors (current and prior TIRs) 1    
Mentored PhysTEC Graduates 1    
Mentored non-PhysTEC Teachers 0    

Commentary on Mentors data: TIR Joseph Mahler supervised the practicum experience for one JMU MAT student. In this course (one of three practicum courses for secondary education teachers), students spend two hours twice per week in an area classroom observing, participating, and teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher. JMU faculty visit to observe and provide feedback to the student.


Course Number Course Name Semester Credit Hours Primarily for college physics teaching (Y/N) Primarily for secondary physics teaching (Y/N)
397 Topics in Physics 2 N Y

Commentary on Pedagogy Course Data (include a brief description of each course):
A two-credit pedagogy course was developed by David Daniel (expert in science of learning and STEM Education, Dept. of Psychology) and members of the physics department (co-PIs Paulson, Utter, and Jackson). It focuses on topics in learning science, including metacognition, scaffolding, educational research, best practices in presentation and use of technology. The LA experience serves as a "lab" from which to draw experiences. Additionally, students prepare and present special topics in physics which are presented to students at a local high school.


Course Number (if applicable) Name of course (or program/ experience) Typical hours per semester Teaching college students (Y/N) Teaching K-12 students (Y/N)
397 Topics in Physics 7 Y Y

Commentary on Early Teaching Experiences in Physics (include a brief description of each):
In the pedagogy course described above, students prepare and present lessons to other members of the class in preparation for presenting the material to students in a local high school. Approximately seven hours are dedicated explicitly to students presenting material or critiquing others in the pedagogy course or at area high schools. Students generally find this experience extremely valuable. We are currently developing a STEP1-like course (UTeach model) to provide a 1st year teaching experience.


Course number Course name Name of research-based curriculum Enrollments
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
163 The matter of matter none 197    
164 Physical Science: Learning through teaching none 197    

Commentary on K-8 Physical Science Courses data (include a brief description of each course):
GSCI 163-164 sequence is currently taught in sections by 5 different faculty members, each teaching it based on their own preferences. Approximately half the students are instructed by members of the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The course is currently being discussed though and the PET curriculum has been suggested as a possible direction for the future.