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written by Guangtian Zhu
Learning physics is challenging at all levels. Students' difficulties in the introductory level physics courses have been widely studied and many instructional strategies have been developed to help students learn introductory physics. However, research shows that there is a large diversity in students' preparation and skills in the upper-level physics courses and it is necessary to provide scaffolding support to help students learn advanced physics. This thesis explores issues related to students' common difficulties in learning upper-level undergraduate quantum mechanics and how these difficulties can be reduced by research-based learning tutorials and peer instruction tools. We investigated students' difficulties in learning quantum mechanics by administering written tests and surveys to many classes and conducting individual interviews with a subset of students. Based on these investigations, we developed Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorials (QuILTs) and peer instruction tools to help students build a hierarchical knowledge structure of quantum mechanics through a guided approach. Preliminary assessments indicate that students' understanding of quantum mechanics is improved after using the research-based learning tools in the junior-senior level quantum mechanics courses. We also designed a standardized conceptual survey that can help instructors better probe students' understanding of quantum mechanics concepts in one spatial dimension. The validity and reliability of this quantum mechanics survey is discussed.
University: University of Pittsburgh
Academic Department:  Department of Physics & Astronomy
Pages 284
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Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Active Learning
= Peer Instruction
= Problem Solving
- Instructional Material Design
= Simulation
= Tutorial
- Technology
= Multimedia
Education - Basic Research
- Assessment
= Conceptual Assessment
= Instruments
Quantum Physics
- General
- Upper Undergraduate
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Thesis/Dissertation
PER-Central Types Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Thesis/Dissertation
- Researchers
- Educators
- Learners
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© 2011 Guangtian Zhu
interactive learning, peer instruction, physics education, quantum mechanics
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created July 11, 2011 by Guangtian Zhu
Record Updated:
March 23, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 1, 2011
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AIP Format
G. Zhu, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011, WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354).
G. Zhu, Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011, <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354>.
APA Format
Zhu, G. (2011, May 1). Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011). Retrieved August 21, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354
Chicago Format
Zhu, Guangtian. "Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics." Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2011. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354 (accessed 21 August 2014).
MLA Format
Zhu, Guangtian. "Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics." Ph.D.. 1 May 2011. University of Pittsburgh, 2011. 21 Aug. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354>.
BibTeX Export Format
@phdthesis{ Author = "Guangtian Zhu", Title = {Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics}, School = {University of Pittsburgh}, Type = {Ph.D.}, Month = {May}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Guangtian Zhu
%T Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics
%R Ph.D.
%D May 1, 2011
%P 284
%I University of Pittsburgh
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354
%O Department of Physics & Astronomy
%O application/pdf
%O Ph.D.

EndNote Export Format

%0 Thesis
%A Zhu, Guangtian
%D May 1, 2011
%T Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics
%B Department of Physics & Astronomy
%I University of Pittsburgh
%P 284
%8 May 1, 2011
%9 Ph.D.
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=11306&DocID=2354

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Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics:

References Key Document Quantum Mechanics Survey (QMS)

The Quantum Mechanics Survey, appendix C of Zhu's thesis, is provided separately in a password protected file to help ensure its integrity.

To obtain the password, please send a request with your name, email, institution, and a link to a page at your institution that confirms you are an instructor.

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