OPTYCs SPOTLIGHT 2023 Issue 19

November 16, 2023 Issue #19

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
  • Journal Club November 2023
  • PER Results About Labs (Journal club December 2023) In this presentation-discussion, we’ll discuss how research – and experience – can inform our instructional decisions for lab instruction. Facilitator: Natasha G. Holmes, Cornell University

  • ISLE 2024 Workshop 

  • Energy First 2024 Workshop 

  • SPOTLIGHT is seeking contributions to its new section "Reader's corner" that features 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

Reader's Corner

Joe Hefner shares one of his recent book finding

I recently bought a copy of A Student's Guide to Newton's Laws of Motion by Sanjoy Mahajan and found therein a reference to a book of which I had never previously heard. It is Understanding Force by J. W. Warren (John Murray, 1979) and immediately searched for a copy and fortunately found one. This little book, with only sixty-four pages, is a gem of insight in what we would now call Physics Education Research. Warren examines the difficulties and subtleties in teaching Newtonian forces. The writing reminds me of that of Arnold Arons, a founder of PER in America. One chapter is devoted to questions (Warren calls them tests) that probe students' understandings of velocity and acceleration in various contexts. There are five appendices devoted, respectively, to Vectors and Pseudovectors, Tension and Surface Tension, Long-range and Short-range Forces, Tides, and Significant Quotations. That last appendix consists of extracts from physics textbooks and their critique by Warren, and he does not hesitate to take authors to task. I highly recommend this rare and apparently little known (at least here in America) book because it includes references from the 1970s mostly from UK publishers.





National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Regular Updates on Higher Education Enrollment

October 26, 2023



Books, Articles, and Media

Comparing students’ learning and development of scientific abilities with apparatus-based versus video-based experimentation

The authors of this paper conducted a detailed study to address the following research questions:

  1. What are the differences in how students develop scientific abilities when experimenting with videos versus apparatus in ISLE-based labs?
  2. How does experimenting with video affect student learning of normative physics concepts in an ISLE-based course such as (for example) Newton’s second and third laws as compared to students who learn the same physics ideas by experimenting with apparatus?



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