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ERIC Number: ED568248
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 195
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-3864-4
ISSN: N/A
Improving Student Learning and Views of Physics in a Large Enrollment Introductory Physics Class
Shan, Kathy J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Toledo
Introductory physics courses often serve as gatekeepers for many scientific and engineering programs and, increasingly, colleges are relying on large, lecture formats for these courses. Many students, however, leave having learned very little physics and with poor views of the subject. In interactive engagement (IE), classroom activities encourage students to engage with each other and with physics concepts and to be actively involved in their own learning. These methods have been shown to be effective in introductory physics classes with small group recitations. This study examined student learning and views of physics in a large enrollment course that included IE methods with no separate, small-group recitations. In this study, a large, lecture-based course included activities that had students explaining their reasoning both verbally and in writing, revise their ideas about physics concepts, and apply their reasoning to various problems. The questions addressed were: (a) What do students learn about physics concepts and how does student learning in this course compare to that reported in the literature for students in a traditional course?, (b) Do students' views of physics change and how do students' views of physics compare to that reported in the literature for students in a traditional course?, and (c) Which of the instructional strategies contribute to student learning in this course? Data included: pre-post administration of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI), classroom exams during the term, pre-post administration of the Colorado Learning Attitudes About Science Survey (CLASS), and student work, interviews, and open-ended surveys. The average normalized gain (=0.32) on the FCI falls within the medium-gain range as reported in the physics education literature, even though the average pre-test score was very low (30%) and this was the instructor's first implementation of IE methods. Students' views of physics remained relatively unchanged by instruction. Findings also indicate that the interaction of the instructional strategies together contributed to student learning. Based on these results, IE methods should be adopted in introductory physics classes, particularly in classes where students have low pre-test scores. It is also important to provide support for instructors new to IE strategies. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado