Physics colloquium-“Taxonomy of Teaching Practices During Group Projects in Lab Courses”
November 10 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dimitri Dounas-Frazer and Ira Ché Lassen
Western Washington University
Abstract: Compared to other formal learning environments in undergraduate physics programs, multiweek group projects in lab courses give rise to unique interactions between students, their peers, their instructors, and apparatus. What does teaching look like in these contexts? How do instructors change their teaching practices as students transition from proposing project topics to carrying out experiments and reporting on results? To answer these and related questions, colleagues and I conducted a multiple case study of group project implementations in upper-division labs at five universities. In this presentation, I draw on data from interviews and surveys with instructors and students to identify a variety of teaching practices. I further describe the intended purposes and perceived impacts of these practices. Preliminary data analysis suggests that group projects may be a shared endeavor in which students and instructors have asymmetric apprenticeship-style roles and responsibilities.
All lectures are via Zoom.
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Dr. Dimitri Dounas-Frazer is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy and of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at Western Washington University. He has interdisciplinary expertise in experimental atomic physics and education research. He primarily studies three aspects of physics laboratory coursework: students’ use of model-based reasoning in experimental physics contexts, instructors’ beliefs and practices regarding teaching and learning laboratory skills, and classroom factors that cultivate student ownership of research projects. Additionally, Dr. Dounas-Frazer is an active member of local and national physics diversity initiatives. He is a Mines alum (classes of ’06 and ’07). He completed his Ph.D. in 2012 at the University of California Berkeley, where he performed high-precision measurements of weak nuclear effects in atomic systems. His postdoctoral experience includes teacher preparation at the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and education research at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Ira Ché Lassen is an undergraduate student at Western Washington University (WWU) and Fairhaven College. He expects to complete a BS in Physics and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies by June 2022. Lassen’s interests include acoustics, rhetoric, and physics education research (PER), and he has professional experience with 3D sign manufacturing, CNC laser operation, and IT support. In his roles as a Teaching Assistant in the WWU Physics & Astronomy Department and Research Assistant in the WWU PER Group, Lassen is building expertise in both teaching and studying physics laboratory courses.