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Institutionalizing Reform in Introductory Physics Documents

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Institutionalizing Reform in Introductory Physics 

written by Chandra Turpen and Noah D. Finkelstein

We examine how the University of Colorado at Boulder has created the sustained the use of a research-based curriculum in the introductory calculus-based physics sequence, despite the significant increases in cost and time commitment.  The adoption of the University of Washington Tutorials in Introductory Physics curriculum required significant pedagogical shifts in the students' role, educator's role, and student-educator interactions.  We discuss how the wide-spread adoption of this curriculum was achieved at our institution.  We analyze the commitment of funding and resources over time from external agencies, institutional levels, and the physics department.  We then examine the reasons given by six individual faculty members for adopting the curriculum and find that key reasons for adoption include: the recognition that the old mode of lecturing in recitation was not effective, locally collected data on student learning was compelling, specific aspects of the Tutorials curriculum were convincing and the availability of additional resources for the implementation was persuasive.

Published October 20, 2008
Last Modified May 22, 2009

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