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Abstract Title: The use of concept tests and peer instruction in upper-division physics
Abstract: Many upper-division courses at the University of Colorado now regularly use peer instruction in the form of clicker questions during lectures. Particular attention has been paid to developing and implementing clicker questions in junior-level E&M and Quantum mechanics. These transformed classes are moderate in size (~20-60 students), and largely follow traditional local norms of syllabus and content coverage. However, our faculty have recently articulated broader learning goals (e.g developing math-physics connections) expected for physics majors in these courses. The design and use of concept tests is aligned with these goals, and has altered the dynamic of our classes. Coupled with other course transformations, we find measurable improvement in student performance on targeted conceptual post-instruments. Here, we discuss classroom logistics of upper-division clickers, design of clicker questions, aspects of student engagement facilitated by concept-tests, and measures of and challenges to sustainability of this activity.  This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE 0737118.
Abstract Type: Targeted Poster
Targeted Session: Upper-division activities that foster "Thinking like a Physicist"

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Steven Pollock
University of Colorado
and Co-Presenter(s)
Katherine Perkins, Stephanie Chasteen, Michael Dubson, University of Colorado