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November 2011

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The Open Source Physics Project is supported by NSF DUE-0442581.

Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics Documents

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Improving Students' Understanding of Quantum Mechanics 

written by Guangtian Zhu

This thesis uses a number of Open Source Physics simulations to explore 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. The thesis 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, the thesis 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. The thesis author also includes 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.

Published March 2, 2011
Last Modified July 30, 2011

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