Physics Education Seminar

semester, 2019


Friday, February 8th 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Miranda Pihlaja Straub, University of Minnesota
Subject: To be announced.
The seminar has been cancelled.

Friday, February 15th 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Kaylee Ganser, University of Minnesota
Subject: Student Conceptual Understanding of Newtonian Physics Across Different Introductory Courses at UMN

Engineering based introductory physics differs from biology based introductory physics in the UMN Physics department in both content and class makeup. Performance on a concept inventory was tested across 23 classrooms with a total of 2290 students, and it was found that, after controlling for student gender, initial concept inventory score, and initial math proficiency, there was no difference in student performance on the post-test of the concept inventory between classes. A gender gap was found in the data- the performance of women was, on average, less than men on the post-test, though the gap varied significantly, suggesting that there is variation in how the gender gap manifests in different classrooms. This talk will go through the data collection, analysis methods, and implications of these results.


Friday, February 22nd 2019
3:35 pm:
There will be no seminar this week.

Friday, March 1st 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Kaylee Ganser, University of Minnesota
Subject: Student Conceptual Understanding of Newtonian Physics Across Different Introductory Courses at UMN

Engineering based introductory physics differs from biology based introductory physics in the UMN Physics department in both content and class makeup. Performance on a concept inventory was tested across 23 classrooms with a total of 2290 students, and it was found that, after controlling for student gender, initial concept inventory score, and initial math proficiency, there was no difference in student performance on the post-test of the concept inventory between classes. A gender gap was found in the data- the performance of women was, on average, less than men on the post-test, though the gap varied significantly, suggesting that there is variation in how the gender gap manifests in different classrooms. This talk will go through the data collection, analysis methods, and implications of these results.


Friday, March 8th 2019
3:35 pm:
Subject: Discussion of three papers

"Examining and contrasting the cognitive activities engaged in undergraduate
research experiences and lab courses" by N. G. Holmes and Carl E. Weinman

"Introductory physics labs: We Can Do Better" by N. G. Holmes and Carl E. Weinman

"Teaching Critical Thinking" by N. G. Holmes, Carl E. Weinman, and D. A. Bonn


Friday, March 15th 2019
3:35 pm:
To be announced.

Friday, March 29th 2019
3:35 pm:
To be announced.

Friday, April 5th 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Richard Diurba, University of Minnesota
Subject: A quantitative investigation of NSF science funding as it relates to US partisan politics with some notes on qualitative big science project observations.

Friday, April 12th 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Phil Buhlmann, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Minnesota
Subject: Addressing Stress and Mental Health in a PhD Program

Our department makes stress and mental health a major point of attention for our graduate program. Our approach is not to lower the bar for the PhD degree. Instead, we strive to eliminate unnecessary sources of stress and create conditions in which students feel engaged, supported, and empowered. The key to our initiative lies in contributions from students, staff, faculty, and the university health services. While only professionals can provide therapy, three chemistry faculty members serve as Mental Health Advocates and help to direct faculty, staff, and students to relevant resources. Students formed the group Community of Chemistry Graduate Students (CCGS), which organizes regular events on physical and mental health and stress management. To reach out to students outside the department, the CCGS also prepared a range of insightful videos on the topics of mental health in graduate school, academic success, and the transition into a job after graduate school. CCGS representatives and the
director of graduate studies also worked with university health services to develop biannual surveys that help us better understand sources of stress. The survey taught us a lot about our students and, within a relatively short time, allowed us to improve a range of graduate program procedures.


Tuesday, April 16th 2019
11:15 am:
Speaker: Joe Redish, University of Maryland, College Park
Subject:  Learning Each Other's Ropes: Negotiating interdisciplinary authenticity
Please note the date, time and room change of this seminar for this week only.

Very few students who take introductory physics are physics majors.
They major in Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or
Architecture to name a few of the many disciplines represented in the
introductory physics class. All of these students are required to
take physics which is viewed by the faculty of those disciplines as
useful, an outlook often not shared by their students. This seminar
will discuss the communication difficulty between physics and other
STEM fields that impacts any attempt to redesign introductory physics
courses that build closer links to students’ major fields. My recent
experience has been in building a physics course for Biology majors.
In doing so, I have been engaged in a multiyear conversation with a
biologist interested in including more physics in his biology course.
These extended discussions have led us both to a deeper understanding
of each other's discipline and to significant changes in the way we
each think about and present our classes.

Faculty Host: Kenneth Heller

Friday, April 19th 2019
3:35 pm:
The seminar will be on Tuesday this week. Note change of time and date next week only.

Friday, April 26th 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Autumn Brower, University of Minnesota
Subject: How computer coaches impact math anxiety in introductory physics students
PLEASE NOTE THE SEMINAR IS IN ROOM PAN 130 THIS WEEK

Math anxiety is a multidimensional construct that can
manifest at cognitive, affective, behavioral and physiological levels.
With the increased use of technology in our society, there has been an
increased need for more technology in educational settings. This
presentation looks at the role of technology—in the form of online
physics computer coaches—to better understand math anxiety patterns in
introductory physics students. It considers the limitations of the
data collected on the coaches in the context of math anxiety. It also
looks at how math anxiety can be turned into a positive quality
through the use of a model on human performance and how that can be
applied to learning, teaching, and education.


Friday, May 3rd 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Mandy Straub, University of Minnesota
Subject: Frameworks of physics problem solving: An empirical distribution of physics instructors

I will present results of a state-wide survey of post-secondary physics instructors. The survey probed the ideas of physics instructors regarding various aspects of solving physics problems in the context of homework. This talk will focus on the frameworks of problem-solving of the physics instructors correlated with the modality of institution.


Friday, May 10th 2019
3:35 pm:
There will be no seminar this week.

Friday, May 17th 2019
3:35 pm:
There will be no seminar this week.

Monday, September 9th 2019
2:30 pm:
There will be no seminar this week.

Monday, September 16th 2019
2:30 pm:
Speaker: Professor Hisao Suzuki, Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics, Director of General Education, Deputy Director General Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education Hokkaido University
Subject: Physics Education in Japan and Hokkaido University

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