Background and Purpose
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), American Physical Society (APS), and American Astronomical Society (AAS) held a workshop Nov. 6-9, 2003, at the American Center for Physics. The purpose of the workshop was to help new physics and astronomy faculty understand how undergraduate students learn physics and astronomy and the implications of this information for their own teaching activities.
The workshop covered new developments in astronomy and physics, curricula and pedagogy. This is the seventh in a series of NSF sponsored workshops that began in 1996, and have been attended by more than 500 new physics and astronomy faculty.
Faculty members in the first years of tenure track appointments are under great pressure to establish a productive research program — generally the primary criterion for promotion and tenure — and also to teach. As a result, the development of expertise in undergraduate teaching is generally accorded only secondary priority by both new faculty and the senior faculty that make tenure decisions.
In addition to providing materials and guidance for individual improvement, this workshop introduced new faculty to the scholarship of pedagogy as well as effective teaching techniques that differ from the widely used lecture session and problem solving discussions.
Topics highlighted included active learning and interactive lectures, assessment of learning gains, addressing conceptual misunderstandings, using technology, minority and gender issues, training the next generation, and pre-college outreach activities.
Nine presenters discussed new developments in physics and astronomy, curricula and pedagogy with the participants during plenary sessions. In addition, they and 10 other physics and astronomy educators served as resource leaders throughout the workshop by leading breakout sessions that were held in parallel with the plenary sessions.
Due to the large number of applicants for this workshop, there was a significant change in structure from previous workshops. For six of the plenary sessions, the almost 90 participants were divided into two groups. One group attended the plenary presentation while the other group participated in breakout discussions on various topics of interest to participants, or topics related to presentations in earlier plenary sessions.
For each of the presentations listed below, a bio of the presenter is available by clicking on their name. The majority of the presentations are available as PowerPoint or Acrobat .pdf files.