Transforming the advanced lab: Part I - Learning goals Documents

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Transforming the advanced lab: Part I - Learning goals 

written by Benjamin M. Zwickl, Noah D. Finkelstein, and H. J. Lewandowski

Within the physics education research community relatively little attention has been given to laboratory courses, especially at the upper-division undergraduate level. As part of transforming our senior-level Optics and Modern Physics Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder we are developing learning goals, revising curricula, and creating assessments. In this paper, we report on the establishment of our learning goals and a surrounding framework that have emerged from discussions with a wide variety of faculty, from a review of the literature on labs, and from identifying the goals of existing lab courses. Our goals go beyond those of specific physics content and apparatus, allowing instructors to personalize them to their contexts. We report on four broad themes and associated learning goals: Modeling (math-physics-data connection, statistical error analysis, systematic error, modeling of engineered "black boxes"), Design (of experiments, apparatus, programs, troubleshooting), Communication, and Technical Lab Skills (computer-aided data analysis, LabVIEW, test and measurement equipment).

Published February 6, 2012
Last Modified April 26, 2012

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