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InstructionGuide_v1 - Brief guide to instructors TUTORIALS...

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Brief guide to instructors TUTORIALS IN UPPER DIVISION Steven Pollock, Spring 2009 Please feel free to add comments and improve this document. Week by week materials available in the "Tutorials" folder at http://www.colorado.edu/sei/departments/physics_3310.htm http://www.colorado.edu/sei/departments/physics_3220.htm
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What are tutorials? Tutorials are weekly student sessions, modeled after research- validated curricula developed at the University of Washington. UW Tutorials are largely for the introductory level, but now also exist in upper-division Quantum Mechanics. They are designed to change the way study sessions/recitation sections work: from teacher- centered to student-centered. Students work in small groups, and the role of the instructor becomes that of a learning coach. Materials are designed to target known student difficulties, to elicit and develop conceptual understanding and math/physics connections. They also serve as a powerful tool to help faculty listen in on student reasoning, to get a clearer sense of student ideas, and where they are still struggling. What is the pedagogical theory behind tutorials? Education research indicates that passive learning, in which students listen to an expert explain ideas, is rarely as effective as active learning, in which the responsibility for learning is shifted to the students. Tutorials are designed to shift the focus of learning to the students, a "constructivist" view of education. Tutorials often follow an "elicit-confront-resolve" cycle. The Tutorial guides them through logical steps, encouraging them to utilize multiple representations, confront possible internal inconsistencies in their initial beliefs, and to make sense of topics which might otherwise appear purely formal. Tutorials place a large emphasis on the process of problem solving - eliciting conflicting ideas, encouraging discussion and debate, requiring explanation and consistency rather than merely "answers". They tend to focus on powerful and common pre-conceptions. UW Quantum materials build on student interviews and extensive pre-post testing. At Colorado, we are just starting this process for E&M (and a few additional Quantum) Tutorials. Running Tutorials: You will want a room with small tables for four. Groups should be given a white board and markers. This allows students to easily communicate their ideas to each other and with the Learning Assistant (LA) or instructor.
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