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July 26–30, 2014
Wednesday afternoon
Poster – Jack R. Olsen, University of Colorado, Physics Education Research
Group, Boulder, CO 80301;
Michael Dubson, Noah D. Finkelstein, Katherine A. Goodman, Edmond
Johnsen, David H. Lieberman, University of Colorado-Physics Education
Research Group
While popularized for their potential of low-cost and broad access, Mas-
sively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are not fully understood nor well
researched in terms of educational impacts. This study examines some of
the educational outcomes from a MOOC that was designed to parallel a
traditional brick-and-mortar lecture of 900 students. While the MOOC
initially enrolled an audience of nearly 16,000 students, a mere 1.5%
actually completed the MOOC. Four times as many students completed
the brick-and-mortar course. Complementing the MOOC and traditional
offerings of Physics 1, we also examine a special physics course held as part
of a live-in residential community. In contrast to the MOOCs, these resi-
dential courses are characterized as high-touch and locally based. Student
demographics, performance, and retention were compared for the three
approaches to teaching the same physics content.
Session PERC: PERC Bridging Session
Location: Northrop Auditorium
Sponsor: AAPT PER
Date: Wednesday, July 30
Time: 3– 4:30 p.m.
Presider: Tim Stelzer
PERC01: 3-4:30 p.m. Technology and Instructional Reform:
Beyond the Classroom
Invited – James Fairweather, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Research in postsecondary education has focused on the pedagogical ef-
fectiveness of technology in the classroom. Most relevant literature focuses
on students’ cognitive development, professional development of faculty
members, and course and curricular translation into digital platforms. The
AAU Initiative for the Reform of Undergraduate Education shows that
many of the factors affecting the successful use of technology in STEM
education lie beyond individual faculty members and students. Reward
structures that influence faculty time allocation are set at the institutional
level. Administrators select educational software to control costs rather
than to maximize learning. This presentation draws on recent experience
with the AAU Initiative to describe the variety of factors potentially affect-
ing faculty and student use of technology in teaching and learning.
1. National Research Council (2012). Discipline-based educational research:
Understanding and improving learning in undergraduate science and engineering.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
2. For example, K. Kereluik, P. Mishra, C. Fahnoe, & L. Terry, “What knowledge is
worth most: Teacher knowledge for 21st century learning,”
Journal of Digital Learning
(4), 127-140 (2013).
PERC02: 3-4:30 p.m. Apples and Oranges: Comparing a MOOC
with a Standard Class
Invited – Michael Dubson, University of Colorado, Boulder UCB 390, Boulder,
CO 80309-0390;
Noah Finkelstein, Edmond Johnsen, University Colorado Boulder
David Liebermanm Queensborough Community College, New York
In the fall of 2013, we taught Physics 1 (Calc-based Mechanics) to 800
tuition-paying freshmen at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Almost
simultaneously, we taught a MOOC version of the course, through Cours-
era, to an initial audience of 15,000 students from around the world. We
made the two versions of the course as similar as possible. The MOOC
students saw the same lectures, with the same Concept Tests, received the
same homework assignments, and took the same exams with same time
constraints, as the students in the brick-and-mortar course. The phys-
ics background knowledge FMCE pre-test scores of the two groups were
remarkably similar, but less than 2% of those enrolled in the MOOC had
the grit to complete the course. Those gritty 2% performed almost as well
as our CU freshmen students with matching pre-test scores.
representational and writing styles. In this study, data from 130 Japanese
university students who had written both tests were analyzed to detect any
differences in the item response ratios caused by different translations. The
item response ratios of each test showed statistically significant differences
on some distractors between the two tests. This study also examined if
experienced physics teachers could predict the differences in the item re-
sponse ratios between the two tests. The results revealed that the teachers’
predictions did not match the data, thus their reasoning could not account
for the differences.
PST2G27: 1-1:45 p.m. Physics in the Mountains
Poster – Enrique A. Gomez, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
Kelley Dinkelmeyer, Laura Cruz, Freya Kinner, Western Carolina University
We conducted a study of student responses to a “flipped” course for two
sections of an introductory, algebra-based, college physics course. In a
flipped course, content is presented in online videos introducing physics
concepts and the subsequent classroom meeting time is dedicated to solving
physics problems both numerical and conceptual. We coupled this flipped
course with an additional redesign element where students took field trips
to sites in the mountains of Western North Carolina illustrating the applica-
tion of physics concepts. We collected student responses with three instru-
ments: the Force Concept Inventory, an attitude toward physics survey, and
a small group analysis. In the three instruments we find significant shifts in
student attitudes toward physics as well as evidence of metacognition.
PST2G28: 1:45-2:30 p.m. More Mathematics in a Conceptual
Physics Course: Formula Appreciation Activities
Poster – Vazgen Shekoyan, 43-11 220th Place, Bayside, NY 11361;
Conceptual physics courses are typically offered to non-science majors as a
fulfillment of laboratory science degree requirements. These courses do not
have mathematics prerequisites and use minimal amount of mathematics.
Is it worthwhile adding more mathematics in conceptual physics courses?
How would it affect students’ science attitudes and anxieties? I have devised
and incorporated mathematical activities (formula appreciation activities)
in a Conceptual Physics course offered at Queensborough Community Col-
lege. Most of the activities were comprised of a) making sense of formulas
by examining limiting cases, and b) identifying proportionalities between
variables in the formulas. I have evaluated the implications of the imple-
mentation on students’ science attitudes and anxieties in a quasi-experi-
mental control-group design study. In this poster I will present examples of
such activities and discuss the implications of the implementation.
PST2G29: 1-1:45 p.m. Experiences of Assessment in the
Sciences Laboratory, in the UPSLP
Poster – Carlos A. Arriaga Santos, Universidad Politécnica de San Luis
Potosí, Urbano Villalón 500, San Luis Potosí, SLP 78363 México; CARLOS.
José Guevara Álvarez, Universidad Politécnica de San Luis Potosí
César E. Mora Ley, Mario H. Ramírez Díaz, Daniel Sánchez Guzmán,
The Polytechnic University of San Luis Potosí (UPSLP) has promoted the
application of a new model of education, based on the development of
professional competencies that the students should possess after graduat-
ing. This model has required rethinking the methodology, both in the
classroom and in the laboratory. Assessment is the main aspect of this
new focus, and allows verification of the grade of development of certain
aspects such as knowledge, skills and attitudes that the student has reached
in a given period of time. This work presents some reflections derived from
the experience in the implementation of the evaluation under the focus of
the Education Approach in Competencies, as well as the evolution of the
practice in the science laboratory.
PST2G30: 1:45-2:30 p.m. Comparative Educational Outcomes
from Three Introductory Physics Courses
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