Active learning resources

Below, you will find a series of link to resources that can be useful in teaching physics, and to adapt classes to active learning objectives. 

Education is an important aspect of my work and something that I take very seriously. In both my teaching or when supervising students, I always try to explain what is the meaning of the concepts under study, what are the connections between theoretical ideas and experimental results or instrumental apparatus, and what are the conditions of applicability of a given concept or formula. These elements are, I believe, keys to develop scientific thinking and to understand how physics is structured. Being able to see these connections also helps developing responsible scientific attitudes. Becoming a good physicist does not only mean being able to solve complicated equations…

In my class, I try to engage the students as much as possible, forcing them to think about the concept being taught, and not just passively listening to me. Teaching strategies using active learning techniques have been demonstrated to be superior, in terms of student knowledge acquisition, than traditional teaching. There are numeros techniques and tools that can be used to engage students in a class, and not all of them fit my teaching style. They also depend on the level of the course being taught. I am trying to improve my teaching in each of the class I am giving, by reviewing how I deliver the course material and how I can make use of some of these techniques to improve the impact of my class on student learning. Some of the tools that I find useful are accessible to wider public. I listed a few of them on the margin bloc.

Tufts resources

This is a list of links that are useful to Tufts students and faculties:

Below, you will find the material that I developed for some of the courses I gave. This is a work in progress, but I am glad to share it with you. If you have questions or comments about it, please, do not hesitate to email me. For Tufts students, this material plus some other things related to the class you are taking are on Trunk. This page will obviously grow with time. 

Electricity & Magnetism (PHY042)

Electricity and magnetism are two aspects of one of the four fundamental interactions of Nature: electromagnetism. In its classical version, it is described by Maxwell's equations. This course provides a quantitative introduction to electrostatics and magnetostatics, as well as to the tools needed to understand the fundamental concepts of electromagnetism. At the end of the term, students are able to derive all Maxwell's equations and to understand their physics content and meaning. Students are also able to use advance mathematical techniques to solve typical physics problems involving electric charges at rest or in motion. These techniques are introduced or revised as needed during the course. They are often used in many other branches of physics. 

Particle Physics for Humanists (PHY006)

Elementary particle physics has made enormous progress in humankind's understanding of the World in the last 100 years, and continue to do so. This branch of physics provides a fascinating view of Nature, giving new perspectives on the concepts of symmetry, time, space, matter and interaction. Not only does it provides impressively accurate understanding of the phenomena happening at the very small scale, but it also explains those occuring at the scale of the entire Universe. This course provides an introduction to some of the most recent developments in particle physics, together with a survey of the historical developments that led to the key concepts. This implies introducing quantum mechanics, and special relativity. In this course, we will also see how these ideas lead to outsanding unsolved problems particle physicists are now dealing with, anticipating further discoveries in the next few years. 

© Pierre-Hugues Beauchemin 2014