education

Dot Physics

Category archives for education

“I hate math”

I don’t hate math, that is just the title of the post – notice that I put it in quotes. As you may know, I teach this physics course for elementary education majors (using Physics and Everyday Thinking – which is awesome). The curriculum has very little math in it. That is not necessarily a…

Allegory of the Grade

I have been thinking about grades lately and I am pretty sure they are dumb. The main problem is that it seems that many many many people (politicians, parents, students, administrators, some other faculty, and zombies) think that the grade is the THE THING to worry about. Really, it is just a pale representation of…

Performance Based Funding

The Louisiana Board of Regents is promoting a ‘performance-based’ funding model for the universities in the Louisiana system. In short, the funding each university will receive is based on: The percent of students that graduate Graduating more non-traditional students and minorities Accepting and graduating more students that transfer from community colleges Here is my main…

I imagine that would be silly

Suppose there was an imaginary university. (is that statement redundant?) Let me call this TIU (The Imaginary University). Also, suppose TIU offers summer courses. Further, suppose there is an instructor teaching 2 sections of lab during the summer. Here is a communication that instructor might have received. Dear Person Teaching a Summer Course: It appears…

Low Completer Programs

This idea comes up every once in a while. The idea that an institution should remove its physics degree program because it doesn’t produce enough majors. Right now, it is up again due to budget problems in our state. I think the idea of removing low-completer programs is dangerous. It comes from administrators who like…

Thinking about teaching physics

Sometimes (ok – just once) I get asked for recommendations about reading material on the ideas of teaching physics. I used to recommend Arnold Arons book on teaching introductory physics. Still, that is a classic and a great resource. However, there is a better one. Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite – Edward Redish Originally,…

Tell and Repeat courses

Even though I have taught courses like this before (in a sense, my last physical science course was like this), I really don’t like these courses. I will classify a “tell and repeat” course as one where the instructor tells the students stuff and then the students repeat this on the test. Look around, it…

A note about the end of the semester (I really should have posted this a few weeks ago): sometimes I get students that come in and say they are not happy with their grade. It is not unusual for them to come in right before the test, but it seems more common to come after…

What is a grade?

Grades are all over the place, but what are they? Well, I guess there are a few questions. What is a grade? What is the grade supposed to be? Why do we give grades? I think the grade is supposed to be a measure of a students’ understanding of the material. Probably everyone would agree…

Spring 2010 Course Reflections

And lo and behold. Another semester has ended. I was going to post about somethings from my physical science course (for non-science) majors. Then I noticed that both Ethan at Starts With a Bang! and Farady’s Cage posted about their semester reflections. I vote that the academic blogging community make this a tradition. This semester,…