Some Approaches to Teaching Physics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Some Approaches to Teaching Physics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney

Lecture: Richard Newbury 

Norminally, my expertise is in experimental properties of semiconductor nanostructures. In recent years I have invested time in looking at new ways of teaching physics, particularly for junior-year students, and those not necessarily going on to major in the subject. There have been several motivations for this, interest of course, but also financial constraints, falling student enrolments and a change in the expectations, needs and approaches of the students we see. It is sobering to think that the style of presentation of science to undergraduates has hardly altered over hundreds of years. The standard presentation of lectures, lab classes and tutorials probably looks much the same as it did in the times of Faraday, Maxwell and Bohr.In this brief presentation I should like to discuss some of the physics teaching approaches we have explored at UNSW, the successes - and failures. I aim to use this presentation as a starting point for an open discussion on exactly what ought to be in a Physics degree program. What are the indispensable essentials, and what are the constraints on how we present these essentials and assess student performance?