- Conference date: 29–30 July 2009
- Location: Ann Arbor (MI)
I discuss some observations from using interactive‐engagement instructional methods in an upper‐level thermal physics course over a two‐year period. From the standpoint of the subject matter knowledge of the upper‐level students, there was a striking persistence of common learning difficulties previously observed in students enrolled in the introductory course, accompanied, however, by some notable contrasts between the groups. More broadly, I comment on comparisons and contrasts regarding general pedagogical issues among different student sub‐populations, for example: differences in the receptivity of lower‐ and upper‐level students to diagrammatic representations; varying receptivity to tutorial‐style instructional approach within the upper‐level population; and contrasting approaches to learning among physics and engineering sub‐populations in the upper‐level course with regard to use of symbolic notation, mathematical equations, and readiness to employ verbal explanations.
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