Presentation Title

Blended Learning in the Introductory Physics Lab

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Learning goals in the introductory physics lab can be summarized as: 1) reinforcing concepts and 2) developing laboratory skills. In 2017, blended learning components were added to Principles of Physics III at Denison. Short pre-lab videos gave students conceptual background and an overview of each week’s lab. Students engaged with material in online pre-lab quizzes, receiving automatic feedback. The instructor used pre-lab quiz responses to gauge students’ conceptual understanding, leading to more time for lab skills development in lab. Strategies for creating the videos and quizzes, how they led to modifications to lab, and assessment results will be discussed.

Start Date

5-24-2018 3:25 PM

Description

Learning goals for students in the introductory physics lab setting fall into two major groups: 1) reinforcing concepts learned in class and 2) developing laboratory skills. If students are given an overview of the experiment and an opportunity to engage with relevant background information prior to the lab session, then more time can be spent in lab on their experimental skills. This can include developing hands-on technical skills, learning data analysis techniques, understanding the effects of experimental uncertainties, and learning to effectively interpret results.

In the fall of 2017, blended learning techniques were added to PHYS 127: Principles of Physics III at Denison University. Typically taken in the sophomore year, PHYS 127 is the third and final course in Denison’s introductory physics sequence for majors and covers electricity, magnetism, and optics. PHYS 127 Lab was chosen as an opportune setting to increase the level of lab skills rigor before students move on to more advanced lab settings.

Two main blended learning components were added to the course: 1) short pre-lab videos covering relevant conceptual background and a synopsis of the lab, and 2) online pre-lab quizzes. Students received automatic feedback to pre-lab quizzes, allowing them to come to lab more prepared. The instructor, then, also had automatic feedback as to students’ understanding and misconceptions, leading to a more efficient and effective use of lab time.

The impact of the course redesign on students’ lab skills development was assessed in several ways. Students were given the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey for Experimental Physics (E-CLASS) at the beginning and end of the semester. The E-CLASS survey compares student responses to experts on questions about how they think about doing experiments. Students’ performance on the practical lab final in 2017 was compared to students in the same course in prior years without the blended learning components. Qualitative feedback from students about the effectiveness of the pre-lab videos and assignments were also gathered.

Strategies for developing the pre-lab videos and quizzes and how they led to modifications in the lab session will be discussed as well as results from the assessments and lessons learned for future iterations of the course.

Note: This project was supported by a Denison University Pedagogical Practice Project (PPP) grant.

Lott Blended Physics Lab.pptx (42178 kB)
BMC Vid1.mp4 (3715 kB)
BMC Vid 2.mp4 (11356 kB)
BMCVid3.mp4 (279 kB)
BMC End vid.mp4 (230 kB)

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May 24th, 3:25 PM

Blended Learning in the Introductory Physics Lab

Learning goals in the introductory physics lab can be summarized as: 1) reinforcing concepts and 2) developing laboratory skills. In 2017, blended learning components were added to Principles of Physics III at Denison. Short pre-lab videos gave students conceptual background and an overview of each week’s lab. Students engaged with material in online pre-lab quizzes, receiving automatic feedback. The instructor used pre-lab quiz responses to gauge students’ conceptual understanding, leading to more time for lab skills development in lab. Strategies for creating the videos and quizzes, how they led to modifications to lab, and assessment results will be discussed.