February 3, 2023 Issue #1

Welcome to the first issue of SPOTLIGHT, the OPTYCs bi-weekly newsletter. This letter will bring you updates on the activities of OPTYCs, highlights from recent publications related to physics education, physics education research, and general news related to Two-Year colleges as well as links to various resources. Learn more about OPTYCs here.


Upcoming events

  • Panel discussion: History of TYC contributions to PER. February 3, 2023: This Zoom session will highlight contributions to PER from the TYC community.
  • Workshop: Deeper Learning with PhETs. February 11,2023. Participants will spend time collaboratively designing an activity sequence using PhET’s suggested strategies and reflecting on guidelines for effective worksheet creation (including pre-labs, challenge prompts, and post-labs).
  • Virtual conference: What is PERC? February 24, 2023. This session will provide some background into the  Physics Education Research Conference, organized every year in conjunction with the AAPT summer meeting, and ways in which the TYC community can participate.
  • Workshop: Team Up Together & TYCs. March 11,2023. Team up Together is a collective action initiative of the AIP federation, led by American Institute of Physics, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Astronomical Society, American Physical Society and the Society of Physics Students to support the scientific community to take the next bold step in doubling the number of African American students earning physics and astronomy bachelor’s degrees annually by 2030. Join this workshop  to learn more and find out how you can be involved in making physics a more inclusive endeavor!



The PER-Interest group of OPTYCs conducted a survey of TYC physics faculty during the fall of 2022. When asked about the assessment tools they used in class the respondents indicated this:

Here is how they responded when asked about their awareness and or connection to physics education research.

For more details click on the “Faculty Interests and Needs” tab here.

Books & Articles

Published in 2021 by José P. Mestre (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)  and Jennifer L. Docktor (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) this book provides, as the subtitle indicates, “Cognitive strategies for improving Instruction”. The book is of reasonable length at 200 pages and expands on a review paper published in 2014 Synthesis of discipline-based education research in physics
Read a review of the book from the CERNCOURIER.

How media hype affects our physics teaching: A case study on quantum computing: The article proposes to “explore the phenomenon of media hype from a theoretical and practical perspective: how media rhetoric of current topics in science and technology evolves, and how it affects students and instructors”.

Physics instructors knowledge and use of active learning has increased over the last decade but most still lecture too much: The paper compares the results of a 2019 survey of physics instructors to the results obtained in a similar survey in 2008.

Physics education research for 21st century learning: A position paper from 2019 outlining future goals for PER.



The work of OPTYCs is supported by NSF-DUE-2212807.