Active learning in intermediate optics through class tutorials and concept building laboratories Documents
Mark F. Masters and
Timothy T. Grove
We have been modifying our intermediate optics class and laboratory with a focus on improving student learning through the use of active engagement. To facilitate this process we developed a two pronged solution. For the classroom we created a series of tutorials to help the students use the mathematics and techniques of derivations, apply these solutions to other problems, and develop a stronger conceptual foundation in intermediate optics class. In the optics laboratories we developed an approach that relies upon direct confrontation of misconceptions, predictions, collection of data to support or refute the predictions, reconciliation, discussion, and leading questions rather than a series of detailed, cookbook-like instructions as might be found in a traditional laboratory. Through the class and laboratory we build conceptual understanding in subjects like image formation by lenses and mirrors, ray optics, and ultimately elliptical polarization while fostering laboratory independence and helping students erect a new paradigm for learning.
Published July 25, 2009
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