Physics 390T is now Physics 361

At the December 6th meeting of the UMass Faculty Senate, the experimental course Physics 390T was approved and became Physics 361. The feedback from this course was uniformly positive with several other departments in the College of Natural Sciences reaching out to get more information with an eye to starting a similar version of such a course for themselves.

Congratulations to Brokk Toggerson on this accomplishment.

If you would like to read more about the new Physics 361, you can read more about an Introduction to Physics Education for Physics Majors here.

Application of Active Learning Techniques to Upper Division Courses

Today, I led the discussion for the new(ish) 5-College PER Lunch which co-convened with the bi-monthly UMass Physics Teaching Lunch. The topic was the application of active learning techniques to upper division courses.

Much of the research literature has been on the application of active learning techniques to lower-division and introductory courses. The unique challenges of upper division courses often result in feelings that similar techniques will not work for these more advanced offerings. However, we know that actively is how people actually learn. The purpose of this session was to brainstorm the challenges and then, for break into groups to explore ways of implementing these techniques in the upper division.

The slides which guided today’s session can be found here.

Addendum: Gary Felder, from Smith College, wanted to share his active exercises for Math Methods which can be found at