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The Workshop Physics project at Dickinson College represents an attempt to redesign the teaching methods in introductory physics courses to take advantage of recent findings in physics education research and introduce students to the use of modern computer tools. Students meet in three two-hour sessions each week. There are no formal lectures. The course content has been reduced by about 25 percent as compared with the normal curriculum. Each section has one instructor, two undergraduate teaching assistants, and up to twenty-four students. Each pair of students shares the use of a microcomputer and an extensive collection of scientific apparatus and other gadgets. Among other things, students pitch baseballs, whack bowling balls with rubber hammers, pull objects up inclined planes, attempt pirouettes, build electronic circuits, explore electrical unknowns, ignite paper with compressed gas, and devise engine cycles using rubber bands. The Workshop labs are staffed during evening and weekend hours with undergraduate teaching assistants.
Successful Approaches to Teaching Introductory Science Courses, William J. McIntosh and Mario W. Caprio, editors, Society for College Science Teachers, 1992.
This monograph contains descriptions of eleven unique introductory science courses. These courses are taught at a wide variety of institutions, from community colleges to research universities, and cover all of the sciences. Each paper contains an in-depth discussion of a particular course as well as some theoretical background about why the course was changed and de signed. Some of the techniques described in the papers include having students design their own lab experiments, using computers to link lectures and laboratories, and requiring students to complete individual research projects.
RESOURCES ON UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
In addition to the organizations listed below, many professional societies (Appendix A) have committees or programs on undergraduate research in their field, and we urge you to contact them for specific information.
CUR'S goal is to promote research in the sciences and mathematics at predominately undergraduate institutions. CUR publishes directories of departments whose faculty and students are involved in undergraduate re search, holds regional and national conferences, publishes a newsletter, and has a National Information Center for Undergraduate Research at its national office in Asheville, N.C.