- This project is developing a comprehensive set of learning materials to implement Modeling Instruction in introductory university mechanics in order to enable faculty at other universities to adopt Modeling Instruction. Modeling Instruction for Universities (MI-U) has transformed Florida International University's (FIU's) introductory physics sequence over the past 8 years, as evidenced by significantly improved conceptual understanding, a reduction of the DFW rate in introductory physics, and an increase in favorable attitudes as measured by the CLASS. MI-U is also one of several coordinated efforts that has contributed to a large increase in the number of intended and declared physics majors.MI-U is distinct from other course transformations in introductory physics because the content of the course is organized around the fundamental models in physics and implements an explicit Nature of Science theme. MI-U engages students as scientists by replicating the model-building and model-based reasoning experiences of practicing scientists. MI-U incorporates Modeling Discourse Management (MDM), which is a set of tools for structuring student-centered discourse that is essential for promoting student-centered instruction. Further, MI-U has evidence to support the claim that the MI-U learning environment is inclusively supportive of students from historically underrepresented groups. Materials developed include: in-class labs and worksheets to enable model development, homework and assessment activities, and instructor implementation materials (including a comprehensive teaching guide and video training library). The project is augmenting the existing collection of student activities and teacher notes and transforming the materials into a collection suitable for dissemination to adopting faculty. There is also a video library of student learning episodes so that faculty may easily envision and model the pedagogical approach. The project is developing the complete curriculum for the first semester of introductory physics, provided online in an editable format. Local dissemination is supported, in part, through the HHMI FIU Faculty Scholars project. National dissemination is through partnerships with established physics reform networks including PhysTEC and the AAPT/APS/AIP New Faculty Workshops, as well as through conferences. Intellectual Merit: The intellectual merit is to create dissemination-ready learning materials that enable faculty to adopt and implement Modeling Instruction that has been shown to establish an inclusive learning environment. Students in MI-U courses have shown improved content knowledge, better attitudes toward learning science, and improved success rates. These materials draw on the broad knowledge base of research on teaching and learning and many years of implementation experience by the project team. The project is also continuing to advance the knowledge base in physics education research through peer-reviewed research publications. Broader Impacts: The broad impacts of this project are to establish, for wide adoption, Modeling Instruction learning materials which have been shown to be effective at creating supportive, inclusive learning environments with historically underrepresented student groups. In partnership with the Director of Education and Diversity at the American Physical Society, the course materials are being distributed to faculty at AAPT-APS-AIP-sponsored New Faculty Workshops. These workshops have a demonstrated record of success of faculty implementing reformed teaching practices, and thus the MI-U curriculum materials can reach a broad base of new faculty impacting large numbers of students.
- July 15, 2012 - June 30, 2017
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- Brewe, Eric Principal Investigator