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Tuesday morning
Session FF: Physics for Non-
Location: Salon 9
Sponsor: Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Women in Physics
Date: Tuesday, January 7
Time: 8:30–9:50 a.m.
Presider: Christopher Moore
8:30-9 a.m. Developing General Scientific Literacy
in Liberal Arts Students*
Invited – Karen Cummings, Southern Connecticut State University, New
Haven, CT 06515;
Jeffry Marx, McDaniel College
We have developed and assessed a new introductory physics course
for liberal arts students in which improving students’ scientific literacy
and attitudes toward science are the primary and explicit goals. At
Southern Connecticut State University this course is a relatively
large enrollment course with a laboratory component. The weekly
laboratory activities include materials specifically developed for the
course under an NSF CCLI (TUES) grant. These activities provide
students direct experience with science as a process and routinely
engage them in evidence based reasoning and model building. In this
talk we will discuss our specific goals for the course and the materials
developed. We will also present assessment data collected at Southern
Connecticut State University including the initial and final states of
our students’ attitudes and beliefs about science and their scientific
reasoning ability as measured with the Lawson test.
*Support provided by the National Science Foundation (Due-0941899)
9-9:30 a.m. Physics for Non-Scientists Does Not
Mean ‘Physics Light’
Invited – Scott Calvin, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY 10708;
At Sarah Lawrence College, there are no formal majors, so there is not
a sharp distinction between classes for scientists and those for non-
scientists. This has led to the creation of a new type of class: the “open”
course, meant to appeal both to students with considerable scientific
experience and those with none. In order to do this, the subject matter
must be orthogonal to the standard physics curriculum, and students
need to be asked to draw on skills from a variety of disciplines. This
talk will describe both the general philosophy used in designing these
courses, and three specific courses of this type: Crazy Ideas in Physics,
Rocket Science, and Steampunk Physics. While the curricular struc-
ture at Sarah Lawrence is unusual, it is hoped that insights gained
from these courses can contribute to rethinking and reinvigorating
general education courses at other institutions.
9:30-9:40 a.m. Bridge Building to Non-Science
Majors and Helping Them Cross
Contributed – Jaime E. Demick, Huntingdon College, Montgomery, AL
Non-science students are the future industrial, business, political and
social leaders of the global society. The future of scientific research
depends on the willingness of these leaders to support it. Therefore, it
is imperative to successfully instill basic scientific knowledge in these
students and to cultivate a positive attitude of respect and under-
standing, which they will carry forward into their respective career
fields. The author has developed an undergraduate physical science
course that attempts to engage students by making science relevant
to their personal and professional lives. This is accomplished by 1.
Investigating scientific history and progress and the social, political,
and economic factors influencing them, 2. Examining the mathemat-
ics and principles involved in areas of science that students already
encounter in their daily lives, and 3. Facilitating the self-discovery of
the relevance of science to their fields through a series of short written
assignments pertaining to climate change.
9:40-9:50 a.m. Development of a Blended Physical
Science Course
Contributed – Sytil K. Murphy, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown,
WV 25443;
Jeff Groff, Shepherd University
A blended course combines both traditional and online course
content. In summer 2013, a blended physical science course for non-
science majors was developed. A majority of the lecture portion of the
course was online while the laboratory portion remained traditional.
The blended course was implemented during a summer session con-
current with course development. In this talk, the course, the materi-
als developed, the data obtained after their implementation, and the
subsequent refinements to the course will be discussed.
Session FG: Distance Labs
Location: Salon 10
Sponsor: Committee on Laboratories
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Educational Technologies
Date: Tuesday, January 7
Time: 8:30–10 a.m.
Presider: Steve Spicklemire
8:30-9 a.m. Interactive Online Laboratories
Invited – Mats Selen, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801; mats@
We have built an inexpensive battery-powered wireless laboratory
system that allows students to do hands-on physics activities outside
the classroom, guided by their own computer. The system, called
IOLab, combines flexible software with a wireless data acquisition
platform containing an array of sensors to sample and display real-
time measurements of position, velocity, acceleration, force, rotation
rate, orientation, magnetic fields, voltages, light intensity, sound
intensity, pressure, and temperature. In this talk I will demonstrate the
IOLab system and will show results from two clinical studies done at
the University of Illinois to assess the learning outcomes of students
performing Interactive Online Laboratories in an independent setting.
9-9:30 a.m. Do Labs Need to be Done in a
Invited – Curtis M. Shoaf, Parkland College, Champaign, IL 61821;
The Influence of Laboratory Delivery Method on Learning Outcomes.
Students in an introductory algebra-based physics laboratory course
were randomly assigned labs of different delivery methods. The meth-
ods where: Traditional, Virtual and Lab Kit. Each lab, despite using
different methodology, was designed to address the same learning
objective outcomes. Results of learning objective outcomes as well as
students’ satisfaction with each method will be discussed.
9:30-9:40 a.m. Lessons Learned Implementing
Online Laboratories at the University of Arkansas
Contributed – John C. Stewart, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
To increase access and to improve ease of transfer, the University of
Arkansas-Fayetteville will be offering its first-semester, calculus-based
physics class online to all 11 campuses of the University of Arkansas
system beginning in the spring 2014 semester. This requires imple-
mentation of online laboratory experiences that were piloted at the
Fayetteville campus during the fall 2013 semester. These laboratories
used a mix of simulations and video recording of experiments to
replace face-to-face laboratories. The interactive nature of the face-to-
face laboratory was partially replaced by inserting quiz questions at
points in the laboratory. A video recording of the instructor discuss-
ing each quiz question was made
available to the students. This talk will
report on the lessons learned in this
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