2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||Assessment and Upgrade of Upper Level Undergraduate Laboratory Instruction
||The physics department at Concordia College has just completed its first of three years in the implementation of an integrated studio instruction model for all algebra- and calculus-based introductory classes. Our intermediate and upper level physics laboratories are in need of considerable upgrade, having been put 'on hold' as significant resources are devoted to modifying entry-level courses.
For our majors in their second year, we offer a two-semester introductory modern physics sequence with associated laboratories. Historically, activities in these labs have mirrored the topics covered in the lectures, including relativity, atomic, statistical, condensed-matter, nuclear physics and electronics. Current consensus of our staff is that these students would benefit more from activities targeting broader experimental competencies, such as computer interfacing of instruments, computational modeling, error analysis and technical writing. If necessary, we will abandon the assumption that each experiment must pertain to the specific subject of that week's lecture.
Majors in their junior or senior year take a one-semester dedicated advanced physics laboratory course that requires them to carry out a half dozen or so experiments of significant complexity, and prepare formal papers. This course is also in need of modernization, and we are seeking ways to effectively team teach it in order to draw upon the diverse experimental expertise from among our faculty.
The poster outlines our proposed trajectory of laboratory reform and solicits ideas and suggestions from workshop colleagues.
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