Physics Education Research at CU-Boulder





Physics Education Reforms at CU

Physics Education Technology Project (PhET)

Carl Wieman has a research program called PhET (Physics Education Technology Project), which is developing and assessing the use of java applets (simulations for the most part) in introductory physics.

 

Local Course Materials

Course materials from CU Boulder - includes concept tests, exams, syllabi and more for lower division and upper division physics courses.

 

Teaching and Learning Physics

A new course on teaching and learning physics: a coordinated program of research in physics education, teaching practices (at the university and in the community), and a detailed study of introductory physics (E/M).

 

Interactive engagement in lectures

Concept questions (based on Eric Mazur's Peer Instruction at Harvard) are being used in many introductory lectures, often with the H-ITT "hyperactive interaction" student response system (infrared clickers). We have more information on H-ITT if you're interested in trying it out. We have also started to compile some "local collections" of concept tests for the benefit of instructors who want to begin doing this themselves.
Please see our Clicker Video pages for short videos (and written guides) to help you get started using clickers and peer instruction in your own classes.




 

The physics Help Room

We have a Help Room staffed 9-5 every weekday, where TA's and profs in the introductory courses hold their office hours. It has been extraordinarily popular, we sometimes struggle with staffing especially on the busy days when homeworks are due.





 

LON-CAPA

Many introductory courses use LON-CAPA (Computer assisted physics assignments), which allow for individualized homeworks (problems are the same, but numbers or details are randomly changed for different students). Students get instant feedback, and graduate TA's have significantly reduced grading load. We recently graduated a student (Andi Pascarella) whose PhD research project was an investigation of the effectiveness, and resulting epistemological impact, of this homework system.