Student Learning in Upper-Division Laboratory Courses
In all upper-division laboratory courses (including those on analog electronics), there are many important learning goals (e.g., the development of experimental design skills and troubleshooting expertise); many of these are neither assessed nor articulated explicitly, and, in general, relatively little is known about the extent to which these goals are being met. To date, there has been little research by the PER community in these areas, despite the fact that many of them are highlighted in the 2014 “AAPT Recommendations for the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory Curriculum.”
For this reason, in the context of analog electronics, we have begun to investigate student skills in the areas of circuit troubleshooting and circuit design and chunking. An ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder (Heather Lewandowski and Dimitri Dounas-Frazer) has led to an in-depth analysis of interviews in which pairs of students were asked to repair a malfunctioning operational-amplifier circuit. We have employed complementary theoretical frameworks of experimental modeling (Zwick et al. 2015) and socially mediated metacognition (Goos et al. 2002) in order to gain greater insight into the nature of students’ authentic troubleshooting practices. It is hoped that our findings may inform instruction in troubleshooting and may guide the development of research-based instructional strategies.
Researchers on project:
MacKenzie R. Stetzer
Kevin Van De Bogart (Ph.D student)
- D. R. Dounas-Frazer, K. L. Van De Bogart, M. R. Stetzer, and H. J. Lewandowski, “Investigating the role of model-based reasoning while troubleshooting an electric circuit,” Phys. Rev. Phys. Educ. Res. 12, 010137 (2016). (Note: Editors’ Suggestion.)
- K. L. Van De Bogart, D. R. Dounas-Frazer, H. J. Lewandowski, and M. R. Stetzer, “The role of metacognition in troubleshooting: An example from electronics,” 2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings (College Park, MD, July 29-30, 2015), edited by A. D. Churukian, D. L. Jones, and L. Ding, 339-342 (2016). (Note: 2015 PERC Notable Paper.)
- D. R. Dounas-Frazer, K. L. Van De Bogart, M. R. Stetzer, and H. J. Lewandowski, “The role of modeling in troubleshooting: An example from electronics,” 2015 Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings (College Park, MD, July 29-30, 2015), edited by A. D. Churukian, D. L. Jones, and L. Ding, 103-106 (2016).