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Abstract Title: What Else (Besides the Syllabus) Should Students Learn in Introductory Physics?
Abstract: Course reform begins with a set of objectives. We started with a Delphi Study based on interviews with experts, developed orthogonal responses to "what should we teach non-physics majors besides the current syllabus topics?" AAPT attendees, atomic researchers, and PERC08 attendees were asked for their selections. All instructors rated "sense-making of the answer" very highly and expert problem solving highly. PERers favored epistemology over problem solving, and atomic researchers "physics comes from a few principles". Students at three colleges had preferences anti-aligned with their teachers, preferring more modern topics, and the relationship of physics to everyday life and to society (the only choice with instructor agreement), but not problem solving or sense-making. Conclusion #1: we must show students how old physics is relevant to their world. Conclusion #2: significant course reform must start by reaching consensus on what to teach and how to hold students' interest (then discuss techniques to teach it).
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Foundations of Course Reform for Introductory Physics

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: David E. Pritchard
and Co-Presenter(s)
Brian Belland, Utah State University
Analia Barrantes, MIT