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The role of research in improving instruction: New insights from introductory physics and upper-division analog electronics

Mackenzie Stetzer, University of Maine
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
PAA A-110
In recent years, large-scale undergraduate course transformation efforts have become an increasingly visible response to a well-documented need for improved STEM instruction at all levels. The role of research-validated instructional materials in such transformations, however, is sometimes overlooked. As the focus of these efforts shifts from introductory to upper-division courses, there is an increasing need for the kind of in-depth studies of student thinking that can inform the development of effective instructional materials. In this talk, two complementary studies aimed at improving instruction will be highlighted. The first is an ongoing, multi-year, multi-institutional investigation of student learning of analog electronics in the context of junior-level laboratory courses. While much of this investigation has focused on student conceptual understanding, recent work has begun to probe skill-based learning outcomes such as troubleshooting. The second study examines student reasoning skills and the complex interactions among reasoning, metacognition, and conceptual understanding that shape student responses to qualitative physics problems.​
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