Dr. Qing Xu Ryan

Assistant Professor

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Cal Poly Pomona

C3PO: Customizable Computer Coaches for Physics Online

Solving complex, non-routine problems in context has been recognized as essential for all citizens of a modern society, but nowhere are they more important than for scientists and engineers. In collaboration with the University of Minnesota, the C3PO project is working towards helping physics students develop a generalizable, expert-like, problem-solving framework by creating a set of online coaching programs that supports problem solving. We are also collaborating with the Univeristy of Central Arkansas on a project to design these coaches for high school physics. An important first step in developing the caoches for high school is to align the coaches with the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS).

Research-based Assessments for Upper-division Physics

Research-based conceptual assessments play an important role in physics education research. Research-validated instruments are used to characterize common and persistent student difficulties, as well as to support curricular transformation. This project is trying to develop such an assessment for upper-division electrodynamics course, using an objectively-gradable format to improve scability.

Student Difficulites in Upper-division Physics

Student difficulties at both the introductory and upper-division level have been broadly investigated by the PER community. Upper division problem solving involves more complicated math and more sophisticated physics topics. A growing body of research suggests that upper-division students continue to struggle with problem-solving in these advanced physics topics. This project investigates student difficulties in upper-level physics courses, with a focus on topics appear several times in different contexts across the advanced undergraduate physics curriculum.