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PER-Central Frequently Asked Questions

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What material will I find on PER-Central?

PER-Central contains information about and links to a wide range of materials for the use of people conducting research on the teaching and learning of physics. Some of these materials are also useful to teachers and administrators interested in applying the findings of PER. Links to articles describing physics education research along with links to instructional materials based on that research are the heart of the site. News and other items of interest are also available. The editor depends on the community sending in current materials, so if you have something that others in the PER community would want to hear, please send it in!

How do I find materials on PER-Central?

You can search PER-Central by keyword, author, or organization. The "Advanced Search" allows searches to be filtered by subject, grade level, cost, and item type.

How can I participate in PER-Central?

Users who join PER-Central can submit suggestions for materials to add to the database and can provide comments and join discussions about the materials.

If I submit an item, will it show up on PER-Central?

Member submissions of items to PER-Central are reviewed by the PER-Central editor. If accepted, more detailed information may be collected about the items before posting. Acceptance depends on the item's suitability for meeting needs of producers and users of PER.

How can I add comments about an item on PER-Central?

For members who are logged in, there is a link to add comments about an item on search lists and the detailed information page for the item. Links to these comments appear on the detailed information page.

Do I need to join PER-Central?

No, you may search and browse the database without joining PER-Central.

What are the benefits of joining PER-Central?

Members of PER-Central have additional tools that improve their use of the site. These include the ability to set preferences that sort materials according to their needs, a filing cabinet to store resources they find useful, discussion forums with other community members, and the ability to recommend resources for inclusion in the database.

How do I get a picture to appear with my username?

Picture icons can be uploaded by editing your personal profile. This can be done by clicking on the "edit profile" link on the front page, and then clicking on the "edit personal profile" link. This provides the link for uploading icon pictures. Icons must be 50x50 gif files.

What is required to join PER-Central?

To join, users must provide their name and email. Further information can be provided, if desired, to personalize PER-Central for the user and enhance interactions with others.

Why do pages on PER-Central change?

PER-Central is a dynamic collection, meaning the information provided depends on a user's requests and the information that exists in the database. As the database grows, the displayed pages will change. A Filing Cabinet is provided to registered users for storage and simple recovery of information that they find important.

Is there a cost for PER-Central?

PER-Central is a free and open resource provided as service by the American Association of Physics Teachers. It is supported, in part, by funding from the National Science Foundation and is part of the NSF National Science Digital Library.

How do I access the discussion forums?

The discussion forums can be accessed through the "Discussion Forums" link on the left hand navigation. You must be logged in as a registered user in order to access the discussion forums.

What types of discussion forums are there?

There are a variety of forums on topics that are of interest to both teachers and researchers. Some are related to research methodology, curriculum implementations and innovations, assessment, etc.

How are discussion forums organized?

Forums are organized into "threads," which contain user posts on a particular topic. When you click on the link for a particular forum, the threads in that forum, along with their titles will be displayed. Click on a particular thread to view the posts to that thread.

How do I post a message in a thread?

There are actually two ways to post. If you want to post a response to an existing post, click on the "reply to this post" link in the lower right corner of the window in which the post appears. If you want to post a new message to thread, click on the "post to thread" link in the same location. In both cases, a new window will appear that will allow you to type in your post subject and text.

How can I create a new thread in a forum?

A new thread can be created by clicking on the "create thread" link in the upper right corner of forum windows. A window will then open up that provides space for a thread title, and the first post in the thread.

Can I create a new forum?

Only site administrators can create new forums. Suggestions for new forums can be submitted to site administrators for consideration.

What types of material can be posted in discussion forums?

Any appropriate material may be posted. A discussion of what constitutes appropriate material can be found in the "Terms of Use" for PER-Central. Forums will be monitored and any inappropriate posts will be removed.

Who can I contact for further information?

You can contact the PER-Central staff using the feedback form.

Additional Information can be found on the About PER-Central page.