Cal Poly Pomona

Physics and Astronomy Seminar

Thursday, November 15th

Introducing Interactive Learning into French University Physics Classrooms

Alexander Rudolph

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Cal Poly Pomona

I spent my sabbatical in Winter and Spring 2012 in Paris, France, working at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), one of the leading science universities in France, and at the Observatoire de Paris. While there, I gave workshops to over 20 UPMC faculty in physics and other related fields on how to implement interactive learning in their classrooms, and then worked closely with selected faculty in their classrooms to mentor them in their classroom implementation.

Altogether, instructors in over 20 classrooms, enrolling almost 1000 students, implemented Think-Pair-Share questions and Peer Instruction in the main lecture classrooms, and University of Washington Tutorials for Introductory Physics in recitation sections. In two of these classes, a second semester mechanics class, and an introductory E&M class, enrolling 500 and 300 students respectively, pre- and post-instruction assessments (FCI and CSEM respectively) were given, along with a series of demographics questions. Not all lecture or recitation sections in these classes used interactive learning, allowing us to compare the results of the FCI and CSEM between interactive and non-interactive classes taught simultaneously with the same curriculum. We also analyzed test results and course grades, as well as the results of student and instructor attitude surveys.

I will describe my experiences working in Paris in a French university, including photos and video, and will present the preliminary results of our assessment of interactive learning in the French physics classrooms, which shows that interactive learning strategies improve student learning and were well-received by both faculty and students in that setting. If there is time, I will also present photos and video of a kinesthetic activity I developed while working at the Observatoire de Paris, to help high school teachers explain to students how astronomers can measure the rotation curve of the Milky Way Galaxy from our location in the plane of the Galaxy.


Refreshments at 10:50 AM. Seminar begins at 11:00 AM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014

Last modified on Sept 25, 2012
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