AAPT_WM14program_final - page 51

January 4–7, 2014
tinted glass window served as a mirror for the laser beam and also
represented the office that we were “spying upon.” At present time,
we have tried the experiment in two different ways--one in which the
sound source is directly connected to the mirror (the easy version)
and one in which the sound must propagate through air to vibrate the
mirror (the harder version). We will demonstrate our results if the
audio equipment is willing.
5:30-5:40 p.m. Microscopy as a Context for
Upper-Division Optics
Contributed – Dyan L. Jones, Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA 16546;
Shauna Novobilsky, Mercyhurst University
Jennifer Ross, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
We have undertaken the challenge of creating a novel upper-division
course in optics. This is particularly unique given that we do not have
a physics major and therefore must appeal to other natural and life
science majors. As such, we have created a course that centers on the
principles of microscopy. This talk will describe how we use the con-
struction of a transmitted light microscope to both frame the course
and present fundamental optics content. In the first module, students
learn about geometric optics while building the condenser system.
Next, the students will learn the basics of microscopy by building the
image path and bringing the images into a computer with a CMOS
camera. In the final stage of the course, students apply their basic
microscopy knowledge and further their understanding by building a
novel microscope system.
5:40-5:50 p.m. Calibration of a Grating
Spectrometer and Its Application
Contributed – Yongkang Le, Fudan University, Physics Department,
Shanghai 200433;
A thorough calibration of a portable grating spectrometer will be
reported. The calibration includes suppression of higher order dif-
fraction, wavelength calibration and intensity calibration. Examples
of application: such as measurement of the electron temperature in a
glow discharge plasma and test of the Stefan-Boltzmann law, will be
presented and discussed in detail.
5:50-6 p.m. Fiber Optics and the Physics of
Contributed – Mary L. Lowe, Loyola University Maryland, Physics De-
partment, Baltimore, MD 21210;
Nancy Donaldson, Charles Gosselin, Rockhurst University
Alex Spiro, Loyola University Maryland
We developed two fiber optics modules that employ an active-learn-
ing, inquiry-based pedagogy to teach students the physics of fiber
optics and its applications in medicine. The first module (“Level 1”) is
intended for introductory/ intermediate students of physics. The mod-
ule integrates medical case studies, prediction, hands-on activities,
direct instruction and problem solving. Building on basic geometric
optics, Level 1 extends student learning in fiber optics to principles
of illumination, numerical aperture and coupling, wave guiding, loss,
and viewing. The second module (“Level 2”) is designed for interme-
diate/advanced students interested in working with industrial optical
fiber, and concentrates on the physics and experimental techniques
of coupling laser light into a 200 um fiber. Topics include numerical
aperture, coupling, beam waist due to diffraction and spherical aber-
ration, optical alignment techniques, overfilling and underfilling of
fibers, skew rays, and loss. Our materials have been classroom-tested,
and instructors’ guides are available.
Session BH: Qualitative and
Ethnographic Methods in PER
Location: Salon 5
Sponsor: Committee on Research in Physics Education
Date: Sunday, January 5
Time: 4:30–6 p.m.
Presider: Kathleen Falconer
4:30-5 p.m. Selecting and Analyzing Mountains of
Data: Creating Ethnographies
Invited – Idaykis Rodriguez, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Ethnographies may sometimes be viewed as a catch-all qualitative re-
search method, but there is more to ethnographies than just collecting
all types of data. Between participant observations, interviews, docu-
ment analysis, and fieldwork it can be daunting to sort through all the
data. This talk discusses how researchers organize, select, and analyze
the multiple forms of data in an ethnographic study to tell a story
about a group’s culture. Within the specific example of an ethnogra-
phy of a physics research group, I will present field notes of partici-
pant observation, interviews with group members, video recording of
research meetings, and final group documents to understand graduate
student development of writing scientific papers.
5:-5:30 p.m. We Know It When We See It: Thinking
Like Physicists
Invited – Eleanor C. Sayre, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Paul W. Irving, Kansas State University
A major goal of undergraduate education in physics is fostering
“thinking like a physicist” (TLP) among physics students. This is an
elusive goal because we’re not really sure what TLP entails, but we
know it when we see it. As a goal, it combines both technical content
about physical systems with cultural ideas and values about physics
as a field. In this talk, I discuss efforts to operationalize TLP using
video-based observations of physics students and practicing physi-
cists. I present some discourse markers for identifying when students
are more likely to be physicist-like, and suggest strategies for both
researchers and classroom teachers to promote TLP.
5:30-6 p.m. Epistemological and Methodological
Consistency in Qualitative Research
Invited – Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, 119A Norman Hall, Gainesville, FL
Qualitative research design can be viewed as epistemologically
interconnected unit of theoretical perspective, research questions, and
research methods. The articulation of one’s epistemological and meth-
odological connections is an important goal for qualitative researchers
and this practice can work against perceptions of qualitative research
as random, unintentionally intuitive, or nonsystematic. In this presen-
tation I draw examples from the articles published in the
Journal of
Engineering Education
to discuss the extent to which these articles ap-
pear epistemologically and methodologically consistent with the goals
of qualitative inquiry. Based on my review of the articles, only very
few demonstrated consistency. This lack of consistency may limit the
rich, descriptive, and culturally important information that could be
gained from qualitative inquiry. I call on researchers to expand their
knowledge and use of qualitative methods and I encourage scholars
to design studies with careful attention to the questions of knowledge
and methods.
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