Course Reports

Category archives for Course Reports

As mentioned a few times previously, the class I’m teaching this term is a “Scholars Research Seminar” on time and timekeeping. As this is an entirely new course, and will be consuming a lot of my mental energy, I plan to post occasional reports on what I’m doing to the blog. Today was the first…

Academic Poll: Day One

It’s the first day of class today (for me, anyway– classes technically started yesterday, but I don’t teach on Tuesdays this term). This, of course, means that something will go horribly wrong. The question is, what? What will go wrong on the first day of class today? This is a class for first-year students, so…

My class this term is a “Scholars Research Seminar” with the title “A Brief History of Timekeeping,” looking at the science and technology of timekeeping from prehistory through modern atomic clocks. This is nominally an introduction to “research methods,” though the class operates under a lot of constraints that fully justify the scare quotes, at…

The Problem With Lectures

Yesterday’s physics education post kicked off a bit of discussion in a place I can’t link to about the usefulness of lectures. Something in that reminded me of an anecdote from my grad school days, that I think is useful, so I’ll post it here. When we were working on the spin-polarized collision experiment, we…

Active Learning Experiment: The Aftermath

As I said last week, I recently wrapped up a term experimenting with “active learning” techniques in the two intro courses I was teaching. The diagnostic test results were a mixed bag– one section showed really good improvement in their scores, the other was no better than the same class with traditional methods– and the…

As noted in previous posts, I’ve been trying something radically different with this term’s classes, working to minimize the time I spend lecturing, and replace it with in-class discussion and “clicker questions.” I’m typing this while proctoring the final exam for the second of the two classes I’m teaching, so it’s not exactly the end,…

Tuesday was the last day of the fifth week of classes (out of ten; for reasons that passeth all understanding, we started on Wednesday, so all the week-based deadlines fall on Tuesday). Accordingly, it seems like a decent time for an update on the active learning stuff I’ve been doing in my classes. Each class…

As mentioned a while back, I’m experimenting with “active learning” techniques in my intro courses this term. Specifically, I’m doing a variant of the “Peer Instruction” method developed by Eric Mazur and others. There are a few complications imposed by our calendar/ class schedule, but I’m giving it a shot, and I thought I’d report…

As previously noted, I’m planning to do more active-learning stuff in my intro mechanics courses this fall (starting next Tuesday), and as a result have been reading/ watching a lot of material on this (which, by the way, includes far too many slickly produced sales videos and not nearly enough “here’s an example video of…

The week before last, I finished writing up a pedagogical paper I’ve been meaning to write for some time, and sent it off to The Physics Teacher. A couple of days ago, it occurred to me that I could probably post that to the arxiv. So I did, just before I left town for an…