aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 127

July 13–17, 2013
Wednesday afternoon
4-4:10 p.m. The Rich Physics of the Semiconductor
Diode I-V Characteristics
Contributed – Herbert Jaeger, Miami University, Department of Physics,
Oxford, OH 45056;
Recording the I-V characteristics of a semiconductor diode sounds like
a simple enough task, yet it is rich in physics and provides a multitude of
learning opportunities for students at every level. At the basic level, the
measurement can be performed at room temperature with a battery and
a multimeter. A more sophisticated approach could involve an electronic
current-to-voltage converter with variable gain and automated data acqui-
sition. Data analysis ranges from simple observation of the turn-on voltage
to a complex non-linear fitting procedure. This talk will present variations
on the theme and show how this simple experiment can be used at the
introductory level as well as make appearances at the more advanced level.
4:10-4:20 p.m. 2-D and 3-D Random Walk Simulations
of Stochastic Diffusion
Contributed – Bob Brazzle, Rockwood Summit High School, 1780 Hawkins
Road, Fenton, MO 63026;
I will describe a physical Monte Carlo simulation using a number cube
and a lattice of concentric rings of tiled hexagons. At the basic level, it
gives students a concrete connection to the Statistical Mechanics concept
of stochastic diffusion. I will also present a simple algorithm that can
be used to set up a spreadsheet to track the evolving concentration of
simulated “particles” (in contrast with the physical simulation, which
tracks a single particle’s motion). Although setting up the spreadsheet
involves only elementary mathematics, it is robust enough to allow one to
demonstrate or “discover” Fick’s first law, and a discretized version of the
stochastic diffusion equation. Upper-level undergraduates could thus use
the spreadsheet to independently explore relevant advanced concepts (e.g.
flux and diffusion gradient). A paper to be published in AJP describes this
simulation as well as several extensions: lattices with different geometries
in two and three dimensions.
Session GC: Facilitating Faculty
Change Through Research
Location: Broadway III/IV
Sponsor: Committee on Research in Physics Education
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 2:40–4:40 p.m.
Presider: Eric Brewe
2:40-3:10 p.m. Developing a Research-based Model for
Educational Transformation
Invited – Melissa Dancy, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80305;
Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University
Through multiple projects over many years, we have investigated why
physics education-based reforms have had limited impact on mainstream
faculty. Our research highlights limitations of the typical development and
dissemination model of reform and offers insights into a research-based
model for achieving effective and sustained reform. In this talk we summa-
rize our findings, including reasons for the limited impact of reforms. We
then offer suggestions, based on our findings, for a more effective change
3:10-3:40 p.m. Physics Faculty Expectations for
Undergraduate Physics Majors
Invited – Renee Michelle Goertzen, Florida International University, 11200
SW 8th St., VH 169, Miami, FL 33199;
As part of a project to investigate the goals that physics faculty hold for
majors, 17 physics faculty were interviewed about what attitudes and abili-
ties they expect students to have developed by the time they graduate with
a Bachelor’s degree. The various expectations that these professors have for
their physics undergraduates fall into three groups: core knowledge and
skills, broadly applicable skills, and culture of physics. The expectations
that professors discuss in interviews contrast with the skills and knowledge
typically assessed during an undergraduate physics degree, suggesting
a need for more explicit dialogue among physics instructors about the
expectations. The analysis suggests that some goals are both implicit and
constructed in-the-moment in response to interview prompts. Under-
standing the nature of physics faculty expectations will allow us to better
assess whether students meet these expectations, as well as whether physics
programs’ standards adequately capture faculty goals.
3:40-4:10 p.m. Moving Beyond Telling Individual
Faculty About Educational Innovations
Invited – Chandra A. Turpen, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University
Melissa Dancy, University of Colorado, Boulder
Educational researchers who are trying to change the way other people
teach usually do so through the following strategy: They develop new ways
to teach and share their innovations through journal articles and talks.
Using these one-way communication mechanisms, they focus on telling
other educators why lectures don’t work, explaining their new methods,
giving data on effectiveness of their new method, and sharing materi-
als that others can use. Four findings from interviews with 35 faculty
members from across the country suggest needed changes to this strategy:
1) Innovations often spread through informal interactions, 2) Adopters
and educational researchers don’t share a common understanding about
innovations, 3) Faculty adopting innovations sometimes modify them
without understanding the underlying motivation and structure, and 4)
Depending on where faculty are in either adopting or adapting a new way
of teaching, educators may see aspects of the innovation as either a barrier
or a motivator.
4:10-4:40 p.m. Complexity of Faculty Change in the FIU
Science Collaborative*
Invited – Adrienne L. Traxler, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th
St., Miami, FL 33136;
The FIU Science Collaborative is a four-year project to reform undergradu-
ate science education across three departments at Florida International
University. It drives institutional change through community building
and faculty development. Interested professors and instructors apply to
be “faculty scholars,” undertaking major transformation of a class they
teach to incorporate active learning. They also become involved in regular
discipline-based education research (DBER) meetings with a wider com-
munity of STEM faculty. This project affords exciting opportunities and
challenges in research on faculty change. I will discuss emerging themes
from faculty scholars’ work and how they tie in with current research on
faculty development.
*Supported by HHMI #52006924
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