Katherine Rainey, 2021 -- Upper-Division Thermal Physics Assessment Development and the Impacts of Race & Gender on STEM Participation

Dec. 3, 2021

( Link ) Development and use of validated assessments in physics provide insight into student un- derstanding of physics concepts and can be utilized to track student learning across time and instructional strategies. These tools can be used to gauge the efficacy of interventions designed to support students and persistence,...

Julian Gifford, 2021 -- Developing and Applying a Categorical Framework for Mathematical Sense Making in Physics

Dec. 3, 2021

( Link ) The use and understanding of mathematics is a crucial component of the physical sciences. Much work has been done in physics education research and science education more broadly to determine persistent difficulties with mathematics. This work has led to the development of nu- merous problem solving strategies...

Alexandra Lau, 2020 -- Faculty Online Learning Communities: A model to support the pedagogical growth of physics faculty

Dec. 3, 2021

( Link ) While much physics education research focuses on students’ learning, this thesis explores physics faculty members’ teaching practices. This focus is needed given the role faculty play as an essential link between students and physics content, culture, and practices. Commonly used change strategies in science education target faculty...

Jessica R. Hoehn, 2019 ▬ Investigating and valuing the messy nature of learning: Ontological, epistemological, and social aspects of student reasoning in quantum mechanics

May 9, 2019

( Link ) Historically, much of physics education research has focused on whether students’ answers are correct or incorrect. This thesis presents a complementary perspective that moves beyond a dichotomous view of learning by valuing the messy, or complicated and varied, nature of students’ reasoning. We do so by investigating...

Bethany R. Wilcox, 2015 ▬ New tools for investigating student learning in upper-division electrostatics

May 1, 2015

( Link ) Student learning in upper-division physics courses is a growing area of research in the field of Physics Education. Developing effective new curricular materials and pedagogical techniques to improve student learning in upper-division courses requires knowledge of both what material students struggle with and what curricular approaches help...

Benjamin T. Spike, 2014 ▬ An investigation of the knowledge, beliefs, and practices of physics teaching assistants, with implications for TA preparation

May 1, 2014

( Link ) Physics Teaching Assistants (TAs) serve a critical role in supporting student learning in various classroom environments, including discussions and laboratories. As research-based instructional strategies become more widespread in these settings, the TA's role is expanding beyond simply presenting physics content to encompass facilitating student discussion and attending...

Lauren Kost-Smith, 2011 ▬ Characterizing, modeling, and addressing gender disparities in introductory college physics

May 1, 2011

( Link ) The under representation and under performance of females in physics has been well documented and has long concerned policy-makers, educators, and the physics community. In this thesis, we focus on gender disparities in the first- and second-semester introductory, calculus-based physics courses at the University of Colorado. Success...

Colin S. Wallace, 2011 ▬ An investigation into introductory astronomy students' difficulties with cosmology, and the development, validation, and efficacy of a new suite of cosmology lecture-tutorials

May 1, 2011

( Link ) This study reports the results of the first systematic investigation into Astro 101 students' conceptual and reasoning difficulties with cosmology. We developed four surveys with which we measured students' conceptual knowledge of the Big Bang, the expansion and evolution of the universe, and the evidence for dark...

Charles Baily, 2011 ▬ Perspectives in quantum physics: epistemological, ontological and pedagogical

May 1, 2011

( Link ) An investigation into student and expert perspectives on the physical interpretation of quantum mechanics, with implications for modern physics instruction. A common learning goal for modern physics instructors is for students to recognize a difference between the experimental uncertainty of classical physics and the fundamental uncertainty of...

Chandra Turpen, 2010 ▬ Towards a model of educational transformation: documenting the changing educational practices of professors, institutions, and students in introductory physics

May 1, 2010

( Link ) While research-based curricula and instructional strategies in introductory physics are becoming more widespread, how these strategies are implemented by educators is less well understood. Understanding classroom implementation of these strategies is further complicated by the fact that they are being used beyond the institutions at which they...

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