Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 16:00
Weniger 116
Event Speaker: 
Prof. Steve Pollock, University of Colorado, Boulder
Local Contact: 

At many universities, upper-division physics courses are largely taught using a traditional lecture approach that does not make use of many of the instructional techniques that have been found to improve student learning at the more introductory level. We are transforming upper-division courses (E&M, quantum, and Classical Mechanics) using principles of active engagement and learning theory, guided by the results of observations, interviews, and analysis of student work at multiple institutions. I will outline instances of these reforms including consensus learning goals, clicker questions, tutorials, modified homeworks, and more,  as an example of one model for what a transformed upper-division course can look like, and as a tool to offer insights into student difficulties in advanced undergraduate topics.  We have examined the effectiveness of these reforms relative to traditional courses, based on grades, interviews, and attitudinal and conceptual surveys. Our results suggest that it is valuable to further investigate how physics is taught at the upper-division, and how education research may be applied in this context.


Refreshments will be offered half an hour before the colloquium in Weniger 304