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Physics Education Research Conference 2015

July 29, 2015 - July 30, 2015 in Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Greenbelt

Critical examination of laboratory-centered instruction and experimental research in physics education

Physics, as a disciplinary community, strongly values the pursuit of theoretical, computational, and experimental lines of research.  The goal of PERC 2015 is to explore ways PER can investigate and support students' development around skills, abilities, and attitudes that foster success in experimental endeavors.  

For over a century, the physics curriculum has emphasized laboratory-centered instruction, and more recently, undergraduate research experiences are becoming an integral component of the curriculum (see the 2014 APS Statement).  Laboratory classrooms and undergraduate research environments are well-equipped for hands-on learning that involves the practices of scientists and engineers in ways that integrate conceptual and mathematical understanding.  Beyond technical abilities, traditional and reformed laboratory courses often emphasize teamwork and oral and written communication skills.  The breadth and diversity of goals and strategies that can be employed in lab courses is remarkable.  The physics education community needs to better understand the impact of these courses on students' professional development, their identity, their retention in STEM fields, and their development of specific abilities around scientific practices.  Lab-centered classroom instruction and undergraduate research experiences are relatively unexplored by the PER community. There is an expanse of intellectually fascinating and practically significant research questions that would benefit from the breadth of research expertise and methodology represented in the PER community.

The goal of PERC 2015 was to highlight key areas of existing lab-focused research and to establish priorities for new PER related to laboratory and research experiences. Not only do these efforts support students' success, but they also help instructors and physics departments craft their curriculum for a holistic physics learning experience that values the broad range of abilities necessary for both theoretical and experimental physics.

The 2015 PERC Proceedings are now available.

Authors who submitted an abstract may attach an electronic copy of their presentation now.


The PERC 2015 conference was located at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in College Park
3501 University Blvd, East Hyattsville, Maryland 20783 USA

Organizing Committee

Benjamin Zwickl - Rochester Institute of Technology
Eugenia Etkina - Rutgers University
Heather Lewandowski - University of Colorado Boulder
MacKenzie Stetzer - University of Maine


Contact the organizing committee at perc.planningcommittee@gmail.com