Jun 13 – 19, 2015
University of Alberta
America/Edmonton timezone
Welcome to the 2015 CAP Congress! / Bienvenue au congrès de l'ACP 2015!

The design, implementation and continuous improvement of "Introduction to Graduate Studies: Research and Teaching in Physics" at SFU

Jun 18, 2015, 2:15 PM
CCIS L1-160 (University of Alberta)

CCIS L1-160

University of Alberta

Oral (Non-Student) / orale (non-étudiant) Physics Education / Enseignement de la physique (DPE-DEP) R2-4 Curriculum Development and Revitalization (DPE) / Développement et revitalisation des programmes (DEP)


Daria Ahrensmeier (Simon Fraser University)


When students start their graduate studies, they face new challenges: managing their time between course work, research and teaching, learning new skills such as reading research papers and writing research proposals, or dealing with difficult undergrads in their tutorial. Since all our new graduate students are affected by these issues to some degree, in 2012 the SFU Physics Department introduced a new mandatory course to not only handle the learning curve in a more efficient manner, but to also create a sense of community among the students coming to SFU from various parts of the world and to clarify the department’s expectations. We will present the course design and the ideas that shaped it. Then, we will show how we included student and instructor feedback in updating the course, with a focus on specific topics including structure and content of a journal article, teaching undergraduates, and research planning. The feedback we received over three iterations of the course illustrated how some topics are much harder to “teach” than others, and helped clarify some of our assumptions – perhaps misconceptions - about teaching graduate students.

Primary authors

Daria Ahrensmeier (Simon Fraser University) Erin Barley (Simon Fraser University) J. Steven Dodge (Simon Fraser University) Malcolm Kennett (Simon Fraser University)

Presentation materials

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