Researching Implementation of Instructional Change in the Advanced Physics Laboratory

Presentation Date: 

Saturday, July 17, 2010


American Association of Physics Teachers Summer Meeting 2010 (Portland, OR, USA)
Abstract Body: Although physics education research on the implementation of instructional change in introductory physics laboratories is on the rise, dissemination of research on such change in advanced undergraduate laboratory courses is still lagging. This gap presents a problem for faculty seeking to improve students’ learning in advanced laboratories by using research-based pedagogies. In this study, we analyzed interview, observational, and course data to investigate four instructional changes implemented for the first time in an advanced physics laboratory course at one major research university (MRU). Using a mixed-method approach, featuring a qualitative and ethnographic design, we responded to the following research question: How do research-active faculty implement instructional changes in a traditional, advanced physics laboratory course at one MRU? This poster will outline our results, including the resources that facilitated, and the barriers that stymied, faculty efforts toward instructional change.

Abstract Footnotes: 1. Etkina, E., Murthy, S., & Zou, X. (2006) Using introductory labs to engage students in experimental design. American Journal of Physics. 74, 979 and Etkina, E., Karelina, A., and Ruibal-Villasenor, M. (2008) How long does it take? A study of student acquisition of scientific abilities. Physical Review, Special Topics, Physics Education Research, 4, 020108. 2. The AAPT places special attention on improving advanced laboratories through the Advanced Laboratory Topical Conference, although these sessions primarily emphasize dissemination of syllabi and workshops on the teaching of specific topics.