LONG LIVE TRADITIONAL TEXTBOOK PROBLEMS!?—CONSTRAINTS ON FACULTY USE OF RESEARCH-BASED PROBLEMS IN INTRODUCTORY COURSES
- 448 Downloads
Though many research-based problem types have been shown effective in promoting students’ conceptual understanding and scientific abilities, the extent of their use in actual classrooms remains unclear. We interviewed and surveyed 16 physics and engineering faculty members at a large US Midwest research university to investigate how university instructors value and use different types of problems in teaching their introductory courses. Most of these instructors valued traditional textbook problems as a useful building block and used them frequently. They also valued non-traditional problems but seldom used them in their introductory courses. The divergence between value and use in part is due to limited resources and experience, time constraints, student reactions, and personal preferences. It is, however, also due to the fact that the beliefs held by some instructors regarding the nature of problem solving deviate from commonly accepted views in educational research. Although on average instructors were hesitant to reduce more than 20 % of course content for research-based materials, they showed great interest in collaborating with educational researchers at a more personal level to increase the use of non-traditional problems in teaching. Our study indicates that instructors need not only research-based problems suitable for their introductory classes, but also assistance in how to effectively implement these problems.
Key wordsfaculty beliefs and practices introductory engineering introductory science problem solving research-based problems values and use of non-traditional problems
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Addy, T. M. & Blanchard, M. R. (2010). The problem with reform from the bottom up: Instructional practices and teacher beliefs of graduate teaching assistants following a reform-minded university teacher certificate programme. International Journal of Science Education, 32(8), 1045–1071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Angelov, M. A., Friedman, M. B. & Renshaw, A. A. (1999). Introducing engineering design into the first year curriculum. Paper presented at the Frontiers in Education Conference, 1999. FIE’99. 29th Annual.Google Scholar
- Dancy, M. & Henderson, C. (2007). Framework for articulating instructional practices and conceptions. Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, 3(1), 010103.Google Scholar
- Dancy, M. & Henderson, C. (2009). Pedagogical practices of physics faculty. Paper presented at the 2009 Physics Education Research Conference, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
- Ding, L., Reay, N. W., Lee, A., & Bao, L. (2011). Exploring the role of conceptual scaffolding in solving synthesis problems. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 7(020109), 1–11.10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.020109
- Ding, L., Reay, N. W., Heckler, A. & Bao, L. (2010). Sustained effects of solving conceptually scaffolded synthesis problems. 2010 Physics Education Research Conference. AIP Conference Proceedings, (1289), 133–136. doi: 10.1063./1.3515179.
- Ding, L., Reay, N. W., Lee, A. & Bao, L. (2009). Using conceptual scaffolding to foster effective problem solving. 2009 Physics Education Research Conference. AIP Conference Proceedings, (1179), 129–132. doi: 10.1063/1.3266695.
- Etkina, E., Van Heuvelen, A., White-Brahmia, S., Brookes, D. T., Gentile, M., Murthy, S., et al (2006b). Scientific abilities and their assessment. Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, 2(2), 020103.Google Scholar
- Gerace, W. J. & Beatty, I. D. (2005). Teaching vs. learning: Changing perspectives on problem solving in physics instruction. Paper presented at the 9th Common Conference of the Cyprus Physics Association and Greek Physics Association.Google Scholar
- Henderson, C. & Dancy, M. H. (2007). Barriers to the use of research-based instructional strategies: The influence of both individual and situational characteristics. Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, 3(2), 020102.Google Scholar
- Henderson, C. & Dancy, M. H. (2009). The impact of physics education research on the teaching of introductory quantitative physics. Paper presented at the 2009 Physics Education Research Conference, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
- Henderson, C., Yerushalmi, E., Kuo, V. H., Heller, K. & Heller, P. (2007). Physics faculty beliefs and values about the teaching and learning of problem solving. II. Procedures for measurement and analysis. Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, 3(2), 020110.Google Scholar
- Janesick, V. J. (1994). The dance of qualitative research design: Metaphor, methodolatry, and meaning. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 209–219). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Maloney, D. P. (1982). Fill-in problems. Journal of College Science Teaching, 12, 104–106.Google Scholar
- Maloney, D. P. (1987). Ranking tasks: A new type of test item. Journal of College Science Teaching, 16, 510–514.Google Scholar
- Maloney, D. P. (1994). Research on problem solving: Physics. In D. L. Gabel (Ed.), Handbook of research on science teaching and learning (pp. 327–354). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Petcovic, H. L., Fynewever, H., Henderson, C., Mutambuki, J. M. & Barney, J. A. (2012). Faculty grading of quantitative problems: A mismatch between values and practice. Research in Science Education. doi: 10.1007/s11165-011-9268-8.
- Redish, E. F. (2003). Teaching physics with the physics suite. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Schwartz, B. B. (1997). New and effective techniques in physics courses for non-science majors and the training of pre-college teachers. In AIP conference proceedings, vol. 399 (pp. 113–132). American Institute of Physics.Google Scholar
- Sunal, D. W., Sunal, C. S., Mason, C. & Zollman, D. A. (2007). Undergraduate reform in science courses: A review of the research literature. National Study of Education in Undergraduate Science.Google Scholar
- Wlodarsky, R. (2005). The professoriate: Transforming teaching practices through critical reflection and dialogue. Teaching & Learning, 19(3), 156–172.Google Scholar
- Yerushalmi, E., Henderson, C., Heller, K., Heller, P. & Kuo, V. H. (2007). Physics faculty beliefs and values about the teaching and learning of problem solving. I. Mapping the common core. Physical Review Special Topics–Physics Education Research, 3(2), 020109.Google Scholar