Workshop on the Status of the Upper-Division Physics Curriculum Program

Organization of the Workshop:
Time Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
9 AM -
12 Noon
Arrival Electromagnetism Thermodynamics/
Statistical Mechanics
Departure
2 PM -
5 PM
Quantum Mechanics Whole Curriculum
Evening Welcome Banquet Next Steps

Three sessions on specific physics sub-disciplines ("Electromagnetism", "Quantum Mechanics", "Thermodynamics/Statatistical Mechanics"). Each session will begin with an hour long review of the current status of the sub-discipline, orchestrated by the Scientific Organizing Committee. Then, in facilitated small groups, the participants will address the following questions:

  • What are desired learning outcomes for this discipline?
  • What are common conceptual student difficulties in this discipline?
  • What curricular materials exist or are needed?
  • What relevant research exists or is needed? What research methods and theoretical perspectives are appropriate?

One session on questions that cross the physics sub-disciplines ("Whole Curriculum"). The session will begin with one or two invited talks summarizing what is known about conceptual themes, ideas, and skills that run across the upper-division curriculum as well as such topics as mathematical and geometric reasoning, representations, transfer, and the hidden curriculum. Then, in facilitated small groups, the participants will address the following questions:

  • What concepts, ideas, and skills cross the physics sub-disciplines?
  • What curricular and institutional structures can best scaffold student learning of these concepts, ideas, and skills?
  • What research exists or is needed to examine these topics? What research methods and theoretical perspectives are appropriate?

One session on dissemination, adoption, and community building ("Next Steps"). The session will begin with one or two invited talks about dissemination and adoption issues, particularly those that are unique to the upper-division level. Then, in facilitated small groups, the participants will address the following questions:

  • How can we make research-based curricular materials and the results of PER research at the upper-division level more available to the broader community?
  • What institutional structures and community-building practices could best support the adoption of research-based curricular materials?
  • How can we best build communities of adopters to facilitate the adaption of best practices curriculum to diverse local circumstances and to address the small N problem in upper-division PER?
Oregon State University Paradigms in Physics NSF APS AAPT ComPADRE