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Wednesday afternoon
unique challenges. Improving computer literacy is a large focus, and is
necessary in preparation for the next-generation science standards. The
classroom activities replace traditional lab activities with computer analysis
using student-filmed videos, Tracker (free motion tracking software), and
special scripts using the free programming language VPython. We discuss
student performance and student engagement during lessons.
*Sponsored by Michael Schatz
2:40-2:50 p.m. Physics I MOOC – Student Performance
Contributed – David H. Lieberman, CUNY/Queensborough Community Col-
lege, Bayside, NY 11364-1497;
We have analyzed the performance of students enrolled in University of
Colorado Physics I MOOC. The performance of the MOOC students is
compared with that of students in the “Brick and Mortar” version of the
course, Physics 1110. Identical instruments (FMCE, exams, homework)
were used to evaluate both groups. While the completion rate of students
enrolled in the MOOC was much lower than for those in the “Brick and
Mortar” class, MOOC students performed as well as and had learning
gains as great as those in the “Brick and Mortar” class. When MOOC
students are compared with a similar group of Physics 1110 students, based
on FMCE pre-tests, their performance lags but still compares favorably
with that of students in a typical Physics I class.
Session GF: Introductory Courses II
Location: STSS 312
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 1–2:40 p.m.
Presider: Matt Evans
1-1:10 p.m. How Do We Motivate Students to Study the
Contributed – Brad R. Trees, Ohio Wesleyan University, Department of Phys-
ics and Astronomy, Delaware, OH 43015-2398;
As physics instructors, we often bemoan the tendency for students to read
the text only as a means to an end—namely, solving assigned end-of-
chapter problems. How can we motivate students to study the text before
jumping headfirst into homework problems? This talk discusses an effort to
provide a framework within which students interact with dynamic content
in a digital-only format. The framework is based upon a series of short-
answer conceptual questions that are posed to the student as new material
is introduced. Instructors can assign these questions, which are graded on-
line, as part of a reading assignment before class. The results can be stored
electronically and made available to instructors to inform class prepara-
tion. Over the course of a chapter, students will, in effect, have constructed
an assessment portfolio based on the results of these conceptual questions.
1:10-1:20 p.m. Encouraging Metacognitive Thinking
with Exam Wrappers
Contributed – Jeffrey A. Phillips, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles,
CA 90045;
Ideally students use the feedback provided them on a graded test to make
adjustments in their study habits, but often they fail to do this since each
test is seen as an isolated incident. To encourage metacognitive thinking
across tests, students are asked to reflect on the source of their errors and
plan strategies for avoiding them in the future. By framing this activity as
test corrections, where students can earn back some of their missed points,
virtually all of students happily participate. The structure of these wrap-
pers, including strategies for keeping the instructor’s workload manageable,
will be presented along with sample student work.
1:20-1:30 p.m. Study of Informal Learning Communities
and its Reflection on Learning
of RBIS is not universal; non-physics majors fail to understand subjects
in algebra-based courses at some institutions. This could be due to many
reasons, such as different implementations of studio physics or different
teaching strategies. Course documents also have impacts on the learning
environment. As part of a collaborative study among GSU, GW and UCF,
we have collected and analyzed available course documents, such as experi-
ments and quizzes. The analysis is based on the differences between course
documents (experiments, activities) among these three institutions and
comparison of these documents to those prepared by the instructors with
PER-based documents.
210-2:20 p.m. Student Characteristics Influencing
Success in Studio Physics: First Steps
Contributed – Jacquelyn J. Chini, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Jarrad W.T. Pond, University of Central Florida
Studio physics courses and other interactive engagement methods have
been found to improve student learning gains at multiple institutions.
However, the same level of success is not found in all secondary imple-
mentations of these methods. There are several possible explanations for
these differences in success, such as institutional differences and instructor
effectiveness. As part of a project to explore the essential components for
success of algebra-based studio physics courses, we would like to describe
and compare characteristics of student populations at institutions with
different levels of success. Studio-mode courses may be particularly vulner-
able to differences in student populations since their student-centered
nature places more responsibility on students. We will present the results of
interviews conducted with faculty, student assistants and enrolled students
at three universities to explore the characteristics they felt most signifi-
cantly impacted individual students’ success in studio mode courses and
how these results inform the larger study.
2:20-2:30 p.m. Implementing PER-based Tutorials in the
Second Semester Algebra-based Lecture-supported
Contributed – Jarrad W.T. Pond, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Archana Dubey, Jacquelyn J. Chini, Talat S. Rahman, University of Central
Following the positive impact of the lecture-supported mini-studio format
on student understanding in our first-semester algebra-based courses, we
present the results of implementing the mini-studio format in our second-
semester algebra-based courses. The mini-studio format provides improved
integration of traditional lecture, recitation, and laboratory components
for a large number of introductory students who cannot be served by our
limited number of full-studio courses. During the three-hour laboratory
portion of the mini-studio, students complete student-centered worksheets
containing PER-based materials (e.g., exercises from Maryland Open
Source Tutorials, Minnesota Context-Rich Problems, etc.) and then take
quizzes on paper. Some students worked in our previous laboratory format,
which entailed an instructor-led problem-solving session followed by
individual quizzes completed online. We will investigate the effects of the
mini-studio format on student understanding of second-semester material
and on student attitudes toward physics and compare these results to those
of other formats used for our second-semester algebra-based courses.
2:30-2:40 p.m. Implementing Computational Modeling
in a High Needs High School Classroom
Contributed – Samuel Martin,* Dekalb County School System, 2953 West-
bury Dr., Decatur, GA 30033;
Shih-Yin Lin, John M. Aiken, Scott S. Douglas, Michael F. Schatz, Georgia
Institute of Technology
We describe our current efforts to implement computational modeling
and video analysis in the introductory mechanics curriculum at Clarkston
High School, a Metro Atlanta public school. In collaboration with Georgia
Tech,we have tested and implemented teacher-designed course materials.
Clarkston serves a largely low-income refugee community. This causes
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