University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, February 12th 2016
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Binod Nainabasti, Florida International University, Leon
Subject: Role of students’ participation in learning physics in an active learning environment

Students’ interactions can be an influential component of students’ success in an interactive learning environment. From a participation perspective, learning is viewed in terms of how students transform their participation. However, many of the seminal papers discussing the participationist framework are vague on specific details about what student participation really looks like on a more fine-grained scale. As part of a larger project to understand the role of student participation in learning, we have gathered data that allowed us to quantify students’ participation in three broad areas of two student-centered introductory calculus-based physics classes structured around the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) philosophy: in-class learning activities, class review sessions that happened at the beginning of every class, and the informal learning community that formed outside of class time. Using video data, classroom observations, and students’ self-reported social network data, we quantified students’ participation in these three aspects of the class throughout two semesters. We investigated the relationship between behaviors of students’ engagement in these aspects of an active learning environment and (a) their conceptual understanding (measured by FCI gain) and, (b) academic success in the courses as measured by exam scores and scores on out-of-class assignments. We also considered the following research questions: (1) does prior students’ physics knowledge of conceptual understanding bias their participation in an interactive learning environment, (2) does the overall participation pattern change over time in an Interactive Learning Environment, (3) is the benefit of participation in an interactive learning environment extended equally to both female and male students, and (4) does participation in an interactive learning environment increase the problem solving ability through teamwork? Our results revealed that different aspects of the class play distinct roles in students’ learning and pattern of students’ participation does not change significantly over time.

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