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Category archives for learning

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,…

Does everyone need math?

This is a question that comes up every now in then. But I would like to ask a few similar questions with my first order approximation answers. I would love to hear some other ideas on these questions. Do people need a functional understanding of math to function in this world? I say no. Maybe…

It is good to be wrong

I have one more comment about the previous MythBusters episode where they compared two cars crashing into each other at 50 mph vs. one car crashing into a wall at 100 mph. At the end of the episode, Jamie reflected on the experiment. He said something like (regarding how he incorrectly thought one car at…

My Two Jobs

Really, I have many jobs. But in this case, I am talking about my two jobs inside my one job as learning facilitator. I like to call myself a learning facilitator rather than a teacher or a professor because I can’t make people learn (that would be teacher). Professor would imply that I am professing…

I don’t know. One the one hand, it would seem that teachers (and really I am talking about grade school level and maybe middle school) need to be good an managing students. What should a teacher have to help students? I think the first big question is “what is going to happen in the classroom?”…