We are a PER group founded in 2005. Group members have interest in computation, visualization, and standard comparison in a variety of contexts (K-12, introductory mechanics and electricity and magnetism, Massively Open Online Courses).
The Georgia Tech School of Physics teaches three different introductory physics courses, a standard course based on “Physics for Scientists and Engineers” by Knight and a reform course based on “Matter and Interactions” (M&I) by Chabay and Sherwood.
Beginning summer 2013, Georgia Tech will be offering a Massively Open Online laboratory physics Course (MOOC). This provides our group with the unique opportunity to perform comparative analysis of problem solving performance by students in each course as well as conceptual understanding of physics.
Group members have recently completed a comparative analysis of FCI performance by over 5000 students in introductory mechanics. M&I students underperform on this assessement relative to students in the traditional students. Think-aloud protocols performed with students in both the M&I and traditional curricula revealed reasons for this underperformance.
Recent work has shown M&I students outpeform traditional students on a stadardized assessment for electromagnetism (BEMA). This colcusion is supported by the shear number of students tested, over 3000. M&I students outperform traditional students across all topics of E&M tested on the BEMA.
Elementary numerical problem solving is an essential part of the M&I course. New homework assignments are being developed to include these numerical routines. These assignments will discourage student shortcuts and will develop physical intution. Currently, these assignments are being developed for force and motion problems.
This group is supported by National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education.
(Awards: DUE0618504, DUE0618519, and DUE0618647)