Presentations

    Gauging What Students Understand -- In Class, at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting (New Orleans, LA), Monday, January 5, 1998
    In Peer Instruction, the instructor of a large lecture class periodically poses questions to the students; the students think about these questions individually and then discuss them in small groups. A student described this method as ""turning a large lecture into a seminar."" For Peer Instruction to be successful, the instructor needs a way to gauge the students' understanding of a particular question. Instructors around the country have used a show of hands, flash cards, and electronic techniques to learn students¹ answers. We will present our latest findings on the implementation of Peer... Read more about Gauging What Students Understand -- In Class
    Confusion: Students' Perception vs. Reality, at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter 2000 Meeting (Kissimmee, FL), Tuesday, January 18, 2000:
    Should an instructor be discouraged when students say ""I'm confused""? This is a crucial issue for educational reform, because students often report feeling more confused when they are asked to think more for themselves. We report on an analysis of the relationship between perceived confusion and understanding in introductory physics. We asked 200 students during one semester to indicate what, if anything, they found difficult or confusing in their pre-class reading assignment and correlated their responses to answers they provided on questions on corresponding topics. Preliminary results... Read more about Confusion: Students' Perception vs. Reality
    Classroom demonstrations: education or entertainment?, at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter 2000 Meeting (Kissimmee, FL), Tuesday, January 18, 2000:
    Classroom demonstrations have two important purposes: to increase student understanding of physical concepts and to enhance interest in the subject matter. Do demonstrations in fact achieve the first of these goals? Does the manner of presentation determine the effectiveness of demonstrations as teaching tools? To answer these questions, we presented several demonstrations to different sections of an introductory physics course in different ways: (1) students were asked to predict the outcome before the demonstration, (2) students were shown the demonstration and told how it works (... Read more about Classroom demonstrations: education or entertainment?
    Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?, at Physics Colloquium, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), Thursday, September 27, 2001
    Classroom demonstrations in science courses are intended to serve two important purposes: to increase students’ interest in the material being covered and to improve students’ understanding of the underlying scientific concepts. Student end-of-semester evaluations typically praise demonstrations as one of the most interesting parts of a course, suggesting that demonstrations accomplish the first objective. What about the second? Do demonstrations effectively help students learn the underlying concepts? We examined whether the manner of presentation of demonstrations affects their... Read more about Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?
    Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?, at Physics colloquium, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), Thursday, September 27, 2001:
    Classroom demonstrations in science courses are intended to serve two important purposes: to increase students’ interest in the material being covered and to improve students’ understanding of the underlying scientific concepts. Student end-of-semester evaluations typically praise demonstrations as one of the most interesting parts of a course, suggesting that demonstrations accomplish the first objective. What about the second? Do demonstrations effectively help students learn the underlying concepts? We examined whether the manner of presentation of demonstrations affects their... Read more about Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?
    Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?, at Physics Colloquium, Worcestert Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA), Monday, November 19, 2001
    Classroom demonstrations in science courses are intended to serve two important purposes: to increase students’ interest in the material being covered and to improve students’ understanding of the underlying scientific concepts. Student end-of-semester evaluations typically praise demonstrations as one of the most interesting parts of a course, suggesting that demonstrations accomplish the first objective. What about the second? Do demonstrations effectively help students learn the underlying concepts? We examined whether the manner of presentation of demonstrations affects their... Read more about Classroom Demonstrations: More Than Just Entertainment?
    Classroom Demonstrations: Learning Tools or Entertainment?, at Physics colloquium, Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA), Friday, April 19, 2002:
    Classroom science demonstrations are intended to serve two important purposes: to increase students’ interest in the material being covered and to improve students’ understanding of the underlying scientific concepts. Student end-of-semester evaluations typically praise demonstrations as one of the most interesting parts of a course, suggesting that demonstrations accomplish the first objective. What about the second? Do demonstrations effectively help students learn the underlying concepts? We examined whether the mode of presentation of demonstrations affects their effectiveness as teaching... Read more about Classroom Demonstrations: Learning Tools or Entertainment?
    Below-band gap absorption in microstructured silicon, at Optical Society of America Annual Meeting (Providence, RI), Tuesday, October 24, 2000:
    We report two remarkable properties of silicon surfaces that are microstructured with laser-assisted etching: the absorptance for wavelengths between 0.25 and 2.5 micrometers is 97% or more, and photoelectrons are produced at 1.3 micrometers. We also report chemical and structural analysis of the microstructured material.
    Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at Forum on Education, Optical Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, MD), Thursday, October 8, 1998
    With Peer Instruction, the instructor of a large lecture class periodically poses conceptual questions to the students. Students answer these questions individually and then discuss them in small groups. A student described this method as ""turning a lecture into a seminar."" This approach enhances student learning by confronting and correcting student misconceptions and generates student enthusiasm in the process.
    Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at NSF Engineering Education Scholars Workshop, Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), Tuesday, July 20, 1999:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and students take down as many notes as they can. This lecture format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining a new way of thinking. In fields such as physics, in which learning does consist primarily of developing new thinking skills, this is disastrous. Students get frustrated because they are not succeding, in large part... Read more about Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar
    Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at Physics Colloquium, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA), Wednesday, July 21, 1999:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is mostly what happens in large introductory courses – instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and students take down as many notes as they can. This format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining new ways of thinking. In fields such as physics, in which learning consists primarily of developing new thinking skills, this is disastrous. Students get frustrated because their study strategies are inappropriate, and thus... Read more about Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar
    ConcepTests in Introductory Physics: What Do Students Get Out of Them?, at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter 2000 Meeting (Kissimmee, FL), Tuesday, January 18, 2000:
    ConcepTests (conceptual questions asked during class) are designed to allow the students to think about material that has just been presented, as well as to help the instructor assess students' understanding. Ideally, roughly half of the class answers a ConcepTest correctly on their own; after next discussing their answers with their fellow students, many more agree on the correct answer. We report on students' ability, long after a ConcepTest is asked in class, to explain the answer to a free-response exam question different from the ConcepTest, but involving the same underlying ideas.... Read more about ConcepTests in Introductory Physics: What Do Students Get Out of Them?
    Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at Colloquium, Department of Physics, Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC), Thursday, January 20, 2000:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is mostly what happens in large introductory courses -- instructors present material and students take down as many notes as they can. This format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining new ways of thinking. In undergraduate science, however, learning consists primarily of developing new thinking skills; this mismatch between instruction and learning leads to students misunderstanding what science is, as well as frustration for both students and instructors. The problem has a... Read more about Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar
    How To Get to Know 200 Students (Almost) Overnight, at American Association of Physics Teachers Winter 2000 Meeting (Kissimmee, FL), Monday, January 17, 2000:
    Direct interaction between students and teacher is essential to effective teaching. Unfortunately, it is often lacking in large classes. We have developed a system which facilitates efficient asynchronous communication between teacher and students. Students' questions are stored in a database, and the contents of the database are accessed via the Web in various forms. For example, the teacher can review all student questions on a particular topic, prepare a single answer to a common question, and store the answer in the database. Students' grades and pictures are stored with their questions (... Read more about How To Get to Know 200 Students (Almost) Overnight
    Comparing properties of femtosecond and nanosecond laser-structured silicon, at Materials Research Society Fall Meeting (Boston, MA), Monday, December 2, 2002:
    Sharp microcones form on crystalline silicon surfaces upon irradiation with either femtosecond or nanosecond laser pulses in a sulfur hexafluoride environment. While the general shape and aspect ratio of femtosecond and nanosecond laser cones are similar, several features (such as size and position relative to the original surface) suggest that different mechanisms may be involved in the formation of these structures. The microscopic structure and optoelectronic properties of surfaces covered with nanosecond or femtosecond laser cones could therefore differ as well. We compare the optical... Read more about Comparing properties of femtosecond and nanosecond laser-structured silicon
    Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at Physics colloquium, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), Wednesday, February 9, 2000:
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is mostly what happens in large introductory courses -- instructors present material and students take down as many notes as they can. This format tends to reinforce the idea that learning is about acquiring information rather than gaining new ways of thinking. In undergraduate science, however, learning consists primarily of developing new thinking skills; this mismatch between instruction and learning leads to students misunderstanding what science is, as well as frustration for both students and instructors. The problem has a... Read more about Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar