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How can we improve problem-solving in undergraduate biology? Applying lessons from 30 years of physics education research  [PDF]
Anne-Marie Hoskinson,Marcos D. Caballero,Jennifer K. Knight
Physics , 2012,
Abstract: If students are to successfully grapple with authentic, complex biological problems as scientists and citizens, they need practice solving such problems during their undergraduate years. Physics education researchers have investigated student problem solving for the last three decades. Although physics and biology problems differ in structure and content, the instructional purposes align closely: explaining patterns and processes in the natural world and making predictions about physical and biological systems. In this paper, we discuss how research-supported approaches developed by physics education researchers can be adopted by biologists to enhance student problem-solving skills. First, we compare the problems that biology students are typically asked to solve with authentic, complex problems. We then describe the development of research-validated physics curricula emphasizing process skills in problem solving. We show that solving authentic, complex biology problems requires many of the same skills that practicing physicists and biologists use in representing problems, seeking relationships, making predictions, and verifying or checking solutions. We assert that acquiring these skills can help biology students become competent problem solvers. Finally, we propose how biology scholars can apply lessons from physics education in their classrooms and inspire new studies in biology education research. (To appear in Cell Biology Education - Life Sciences Education)
Role of beliefs and emotions in numerical problem solving in university physics education
Madelen Bodin*,Mikael Winberg?
Physical Review Special Topics. Physics Education Research , 2012,
Abstract: Numerical problem solving in classical mechanics in university physics education offers a learning situation where students have many possibilities of control and creativity. In this study, expertlike beliefs about physics and learning physics together with prior knowledge were the most important predictors of the quality of performance of a task with many degrees of freedom. Feelings corresponding to control and concentration, i.e., emotions that are expected to trigger students’ intrinsic motivation, were also important in predicting performance. Unexpectedly, intrinsic motivation, as indicated by enjoyment and interest, together with students’ personal interest and utility value beliefs did not predict performance. This indicates that although a certain degree of enjoyment is probably necessary, motivated behavior is rather regulated by integration and identification of expertlike beliefs about learning and are more strongly associated with concentration and control during learning and, ultimately, with high performance. The results suggest that the development of students’ epistemological beliefs is important for students’ ability to learn from realistic problem-solving situations with many degrees of freedom in physics education.
"The Physics of Life," an undergraduate general education biophysics course  [PDF]
Raghuveer Parthasarathy
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1088/0031-9120/50/3/358
Abstract: Improving the scientific literacy of non-scientists is an important goal, both because of the ever-increasing impact of science and technology on our lives, and because understanding science enriches our experience of the natural world. One route to improving scientific literacy is via general education undergraduate courses -- i.e. courses intended for students not majoring in the sciences or engineering -- which in many cases provide these students' last formal exposure to science. I describe here a course on biophysics for non-science-major undergraduates recently developed at the University of Oregon (Eugene, OR, USA). Biophysics, I claim, is a particularly useful vehicle for addressing scientific literacy. It involves important and general scientific concepts, demonstrates connections between basic science and tangible, familiar phenomena related to health and disease, and illustrates that scientific insights develop by applying tools and perspectives from disparate fields in creative ways. In addition, biophysics highlights the far-reaching impact of physics research. I describe the general design of this course, which spans both macroscopic and microscopic topics, and the specific content of a few of its modules. I also describe evidence-based pedagogical approaches adopted in teaching the course, and aspects of its enrollment and evaluation.
Effects of problem-solving strategies teaching on the problem solving attitudes of cooperative learning groups in physics education
Tolga G?K,?lhan SILAY
Journal of Theory and Practice in Education , 2008,
Abstract: In this research, the effects of teaching cooperative problem solving strategies on physics students’ achievement, strategy levels, and problem solving attitudes were investigated. In this research, experimental procedures were carried out on second year upper secondary school students who attended a lower socio-economic status secondary school in the fall semester of 2005-2006 academic year in %zmir, Turkey. In this study, the pretest-posttest research model with control group was used. The research was performed on two groups. One group was the experimental group and the other was the control group. Research data were collected by means of a Physics Achievement Test, Scale of Problem-Solving Strategies, Scale of Problem-Solving Attitude, and problem solving sheets. During this study, cooperative problem-solving strategies were used with the experimental group (the strategy teaching group) and the control group was instructed with traditional teaching methods. In conclusion, it was found that the average of the strategy teaching groups’ achievement, attitude and problem solving was much higher than control groups’ achievement.
Micro-Cognitive-Processes at the Interface Research-Education-Problem Solving
Josiane Caron-Pargue
Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics , 2013,
Abstract: A first part of this paper gives a rough picture of some difficulties encountered in research, in education, and in problem solving, for integrating them to one another. One can notice a much too global characterization of cognitive processes and a lack in the characterization of semiotic aspects. A second part analyses some theoretical limits to this integration. They are mainly due to the current conception of memories unable to take into consideration the micro-cognitive-processes at work under the reorganizations of knowledge when actualized within the situation. A third part presents a way toward the integration research-education-problem solving, relying on a cognitive approach of Culioli's enunciative theory of language, and presents some of the author's data. Micro-cognitive-processes are depicted in terms of the construction of aggregates (declarative versus procedural ones, standing at different levels of internalization and externalization), and of different processes of detachment from the situation. Then several kinds of interactions allow an on-line identification of the constraints of the task. The characterization of these constraints seems basic for each of the considered areas, research, education, and problem solving.
Selahattin GONEN,Bulent BASARAN
The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education , 2008,
Abstract: ABSTRACT In this article, two basic purposes are presented. First, taking effective feedbacks in the electronic learning environment about the learning level of students at the problem solving which are told in physics lessons and laboratories. Second, providing a possibility for students to repeat the subjects and solved problems by watching and listening, which are told in lessons and laboratories, whenever or wherever they want. For this purpose, in the first step, the problems solved in classroom and laboratories about physics and subject expressions are transferred to digital environment and e-learning materials are developed. In the second step, these materials are converted to standard SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) package and integrated to Course Management System (CMS).
Factors Affecting the Integration of Information Literacy in the Teaching and Learning Processes of General Education Courses  [PDF]
Therdsak Maitaouthong,Kulthida Tuamsuk,Yupin Tachamanee
Journal of Educational Media & Library Sciences , 2011,
Abstract: This article presents the factors affecting the integration of information literacy in the teaching and learning processes of general education courses at an undergraduate level, where information literacy is used as a tool in the student-centered teaching approach. The research was divided into two phases: (1) The study of factors affecting at a policy level – a qualitative research method conducted through an in-depth interview of the vice president for academic affairs and the Director of the General Education Management Center, and (2) The survey of factors affecting in the teaching and learning processes, which is concluded through the questioning of lecturers of general education courses, and librarians. The qualitative data was analyzed on content, and the quantitative data was analyzed through the use of descriptive statistics, weight of score prioritization and percentage. Two major categories were found to have an impact on integrating information literacy in the teaching and learning of general education courses at an undergraduate level. (1) Six factors at a policy level, namely, institutional policy, administrative structure and system, administrators’ roles, resources and infrastructures, learning resources and supporting programs, and teacher evaluation and development. (2) There are eleven instructional factors: roles of lecturers, roles of librarians, roles of learners, knowledge and understanding of information literacy of lecturers and librarians, cooperation between librarians and lecturers, learning outcomes, teaching plans, teaching methods, teaching activities, teaching aids, and student assessment and evaluation.
China’s physics education reform in the new century: Opportunities and challenges  [cached]
HU Bing-yuan
Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching , 2007,
Abstract: The education theory, curriculum and practice around the world have undergone several waves of change. In China, the most recent curriculum reform of basic education began with the National Congress of Education held by the Chinese Central Government at the beginning of this century after a long period of preparation and review. It offers tremendous opportunities for physics education reform in response to the new economic context of China, and also faces new challenges. Starting from 1980s up to the 21st century, there are many new ideas and methods emerging in the physics education field and the quality and effectiveness of the classroom instruction have improved so much because of the advancement in the modern information and experimental technology. This change inevitably called for a relevant rectification of the old physics educational system which is facing various challenges. Hence, it is crucially important to know about the responses to the challenges, problems in practice, and commitment for taking up the responsibility in the future. In some sense, the next stage of China’s curriculum reform in physics education will largely depend on the theoretical base founded by the empirical research and it will take into practice gradually. Therefore, the current state of physics education, and of its processes of development and practices are outlined together with the main future trends and challenges. To depict the developmental process in China’s physics education, it is necessary to go back to the “discipline pedagogy” in the early 1920s in normal schools, and which has then been retitled as a curriculum for “discipline teaching methods”. Up to now, it has evolved through several developmental periods: Firstly, the text book and instruction period, i.e. “textbook and instruction methods”, “discipline instruction methods” or “discipline teaching methods” in 1950’s. Secondly, the discipline instruction period since 1980, under the guidance of instructional theory, established disciplinary instructional theory, called “physics instruction theory” which was a great leap in the theoretical basis. Thirdly, many research workers explored the direction of physics education since 1990. They established basic theoretical framework on physics education which includes the aims and objectives of discipline education, personal ability standards, subject curriculum, teaching and learning, modern technology in discipline education, subject-specific assessment. Focusing on China’s physics education as pilotted in practice, the reform in the recent years is being ca
Emerging technologies in physics education  [PDF]
Zosia A. C. Krusberg
Physics , 2007, DOI: 10.1007/s10956-007-9068-0
Abstract: Three emerging technologies in physics education are evaluated from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science and physics education research. The technologies - Physlet Physics, the Andes Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS), and Microcomputer-Based Laboratory (MBL) Tools - are assessed particularly in terms of their potential at promoting conceptual change, developing expert-like problem-solving skills, and achieving the goals of the traditional physics laboratory. Pedagogical methods to maximize the potential of each educational technology are suggested.
The course of general physics in the system of professional education of engineers of the institute of marine technologies, power engineering and transport  [PDF]
Skripko Ludmila Petrovna
Vestnik of Astrakhan State Technical University. Series: Marine Engineering and Technologies , 2010,
Abstract: The capabilities of education of students of the Institute of Marine Technologies, Power Engineering and Transport in Astrakhan State Technical University to generalized methods of professional task solutions requiring the application of physical knowledge are examined. During the investigation nine types of professional tasks are defined; the requirements for arranging professional tasks and the technique of teaching students to perform separate actions of the generalized method of tasks solution, connected with the operation of the technical object by the example of special exercises are developed. The technique to teach students some generalized methods of tasks solution is demonstrated on the example of the professional task "Elimination of deviations from the norm of parameter values describing the object condition". It is theoretically defined that the basic course of general physics allows formation of professionally significant skills of students of the institute of marine technologies, power engineering and transport.
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