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Understanding and Encouraging Effective Collaboration in Introductory Physics Courses Documents

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Understanding and Encouraging Effective Collaboration in Introductory Physics Courses 

written by Geraldine L. Cochran and Mel Sabella

Anecdotal evidence from the introductory physics classrooms at Chicago State University suggests that our students view collaboration as an important tool in their learning.  Despite this, students often need additional instruction and support in order for collaboration to be effective.  In order to aid students in establishing effective collaborations we may be able to capitalize on the fact that students at CSU readily accept the inquiry approach to instruction.  In this paper, we present the initial stage of this work.  Specifically, we have begun to videotape student interactions in the classroom, interview students about the nature of learning, and develop and administer instruments that assess the value students place on the use of guided inquiry.   By utilizing a specific criteria and analyzing the occurrence of specific behaviors in the classroom we can determine the effectiveness of collaboration during group work.  Responses regarding how students value the use of questions in instruction indicate the level of feasibility in utilizing peer questioning to promote effective collaboration.

Published October 20, 2008
Last Modified May 21, 2009

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