Enhanced Introductory College Physics
Many students graduate from high school with no experience in applying physics principles and processes, and find themselves unprepared for college physics. Because physics is such an important foundation course for virtually all STEM majors, it is imperative that our students succeed in college physics courses. To this avail, we have decided to restructure and improve our introductory face-to-face physics courses based on national models that are grounded in constructivist principles and other best practices in science education.
Implementation of National Models
We propose to address the problem by initially making changes in the way that the laboratory experience is integrated into the course. The laboratory experience should be an important tool in clarifying and supporting concepts introduced in the lecture part of the course. Several active projects around the country have been working on modifications to introductory physics courses, including:
- Workshop Physics Project at Dickinson College
- RealTime Physics Project at University of Oregon
- Tools for Scientific Thinking Project at Tufts University
Phases of the project
- We will engage in substantial faculty development aimed at examining the work of these projects to see how their approaches can best be integrated into our algebra-based physics course, and used to replace the current calculus-based physics course.
- We will begin summer work on specific modifications to the current curriculum. We will also bring in outside experts who can talk about applying the national models to our specific situation.
- We will begin offering and assessing the success of the revised courses.