OPTYCs SPOTLIGHT 2023 Issue 14

September 6, 2023 Issue #14

SPOTLIGHT is the OPTYCs bi-weekly newsletter. It brings you OPTYCs activity updates, highlights from recent publications related to physics education, and news & resources for Two-Year colleges.


Upcoming events
  • SPOTLIGHT is planning to add a section named "Reader's corner" that will feature contributions from readers. Please consider sharing comments, tips, ideas, resources you have come across or anything that you think might benefit your physics TYC colleagues.
    Contact me directly if you have any question or suggestion: karim.diff@sfcollege.edu
OPTYCs Programs
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Change Teams: The goal for this two-year-long program is to create a capacity-building learning community among two-year college physics-related teaching instructors to support efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion for our students. We are now accepting applications for Cohort 1 (until Oct. 20, 2023).
  • OPTYCs Leadership Institute 2024: The TYC Leadership Institute is an innovative fellowship specially designed for Two-Year College Physics faculty, aiming to develop and enhance their leadership skills. The application deadline is October 20, 2023.


Kris’ corner

Tips, summaries, and musings from Kris Lui (OPTYCs Director)

Is your classroom a ‘thinking’ classroom - one where students’ brains are engaged in the hard task of learning? Chances are high that it is not. In his book Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics (Corwin - Sage Publishing, 2021) education researcher Peter Liljedahl summarizes years of research into K-12 math classes, and offers radical approaches to disrupt the status quo. The first few chapters of this book highlight the uniformity of classroom experiences. Nearly all classrooms look the same: neat rows of desks all facing a ‘front’, where the educator and visual aid devices are located. This triggers automatic responses in students: studenting behavior. 

Changing the structure of your space helps. As much as possible, group students together, preferably standing, around vertical non-permanent writing surfaces, and be sure you are not standing at the designated front of the classroom. Even simply by not being at the front of the classroom signals to students that this is a different space than they were expecting, and is likely to disrupt their habitual behaviors. 

You can listen to Peter Liljedahl in these Math Moment Interviews

Physics and TYC Community 


Committee on Physics in Two-Year Colleges

First zoom gathering of Fall 2023 for friends and members of the AAPT Committee on Physics in Two-Year Colleges.
opic of discussion "Increasing the sense of belonging in Physics students, a few strategies.”
Time: Sep 8, 2023 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join the Zoom Meeting: https://smc-edu.zoom.us/j/84668010285
Meeting ID: 846 6801 0285

Collaboration opportunity

Benjamin Pollard from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute is interested in finding collaborators from the TYC community on research on alternative grading strategies in physics. If you missed his presentation at the TANDEM meeting this summer in Sacramento on Ungrading you can watch this short video. You can contact him at bpollard@wpi.edu

Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)

Community college students are highly encouraged to apply to the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) on January 19-21, 2024. Applications are now open and will close on October 23, 2023.
For more information Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Books, Articles and Media



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