15-20 June 2014
Laurentian University / Université Laurentienne
America/Toronto timezone
Welcome to the 2014 CAP Congress! / Bienvenue au congrès de l'ACP 2014!

Changing students' approach to learning physics in undergraduate gateway courses

19 Jun 2014, 14:15
C-112 (Laurentian University / Université Laurentienne)


Laurentian University / Université Laurentienne

Sudbury, Ontario
Oral (Non-Student) / orale (non-étudiant) Physics Education / Enseignement de la physique (DPE-DEP) (R2-2) Curriculum Development and Revitalization - DPE / Développement et revitalisation des programmes - DEP


Prof. Calvin Kalman (Concordia University)Dr Marina Milner-Bolotin (University of British Columbia)Dr Tetanya Antimirova (Ryerson University)


This study investigated if and how a combined set of specially developed activities; reflective writing, critique-writing activities, & reflective write-pair-share combined with the collaborative conceptual-conflict group exercises can help students change their approach to learning physics and their actual learning. The study was conducted over a three year period and supported by SSHRC. Each of these activities was previously successfully tested as a stand-alone activity. We also developed new rubrics for evaluation of the impact of the activities. Data were collected at two different institutions. At each institution the same instructor taught students in two sections. At the first, a comprehensive university, classes were relatively large sections in a typical calculus-based course in mechanics. At the second, a community college, there were relatively small classes of a typical algebra-based introductory course in mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. The two institutions used different textbooks and had different formats. Measured outcome variables included student interviews and writing products. Students identified key concepts, related concepts to their own prior understanding of the same and other concepts, and used a paradigm- rather than template-based approach to solving new problems. These differences were more clearly apparent than in stand-alone studies of the learning activities

Primary author

Prof. Calvin Kalman (Concordia University)


Dr Ahmed Ibrahim (McGill) Prof. Bruce Shore (McGill) Dr Gul Coban (Dokuz Eylul University) Prof. Gyoungho Lee (Seoul National University) Ms Mandana Sobhanzadeh (University of Calgary) Dr Marina Milner-Bolotin (University of British Columbia) Dr Tetanya Antimirova (Ryerson University) Ms Wahidun Khanam (Concordia University) Dr Xiang Huang (Marianopolis College) Ms Xihui Wang (McGill)

Presentation Materials