ERIC Number: ED390673
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Curricular Reformation in Undergraduate Physics Laboratories Via Action Research.
A dissertation study is described which employed action research methods and was conducted over four semesters of practice in a large first year undergraduate physics laboratory making extensive use of microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) technology. Three cycles of action research are recounted, along with the resultant changes in goals, methodologies, and curricular practices. The study included the pursuit of 10 students through the course by open-ended interviews, commentary, user observation protocols, and artifact analysis. The various curricular and instructional changes resulting from the study findings are reviewed. Findings include: (1) Study participants claim that they acquired previously unfamiliar technical skills, there was inadequate curricular feedback, and their laboratory experiences helped illustrate their lecture material; (2) Participants felt that the study itself was a valuable experience for them and led to an improvement in their physics learning; (3) Participants indicated that they felt that the preparation of joint lab reports made the reporting activity more worthwhile; (4) Participants appreciated the mental challenge of conceptual problems as opposed to the more typical algorithmic problems; and (5) Action research is not an appropriate method for pursuing student alternative conceptions research. Emergent knowledge claims, implications, and recommendations are also discussed. (Author/JRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Microcomputer Based Laboratories
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (San Francisco, CA, April 22-25, 1995).