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2007 ASELL Physics Workshop - Sydney

An ACELL-style workshop with First Year Physics experiments was held at the University of Technology, Sydney in November, 2007.  The workshop itself was an experiment, supported by the Australian Council of Deans of Science, to explore whether ACELL methodology and instruments were valid in the domain of Physics.

The workshop was a shortened, one-day version of an otherwise unchanged ACELL workshop (in the style of the 2006 Sydney workshop).   Eight experiments were conducted, 4 in the morning with staff-staff and student-student pairs, and 4 in the afternoon with staff paired with students (see photos tab).   Surveys of each experiment were carried out, and the results returned to submitters.  Two of these experiments have continued through until the next stage, where "real" students in the home institution are surveyed using the ASLE instrument.  These experiments will be featured in the database shortly.

Participants were surveyed with a similar workshop survey to that used in chemistry workshops.  Some of the survey results from the Physics workshop participants compared with 2006 Chemistry participants can be found under the "survey results" tab (when I get them up there :)

Overall, the Physics workshop showed many of the same effects as the Chemistry workshops, as judged by survey results (see below).  Some discipline difference was noted, and this is the subject of further research.


Survey Results

42 participants (22 staff and 20 students) completed a survey about the 2007 ACELL physics workshop at the University of Technology, Sydney. 

The survey

Delegates were asked 14 Likert scale questions and 4 open ended questions.

Likert scale questions:

1. The ACELL approach is applicable to physics.

 2. Participating in the ACELL-style workshop has increased my understanding of educational issues surrounding laboratory activities for students' practical work.

 3. Participation in this ACELL-style workshop has been a valuable experience for me.

 4. The design of effective laboratory exercises involves more than I had previously realised.

 5. In general, physics experimental work effectively promotes student learning.

 6. Student involvement added a valuable perspective to activities at the workshop.

 7. The ACELL Educational Template covers the important aspects of physics laboratory activities.

 8. The ACELL Educational Template is a useful tool for evaluating existing physics experiments.

 9. The ACELL Educational Template would be helpful in development of new physics experiments.

 10. The outcomes of an experiment are obvious to students from the student notes.

 11. Students should be provided with an explicit statement of intended educational outcomes.

 12. Participating in this ACELL-style workshop has reminded me of what it is like to be a student.

 13. This workshop has helped me to think about laboratory work in ways I have not often considered.

 14. Significant changes to the ACELL tools will be needed to make them applicable to physics.

Open ended questions:

1. What did you find to be the most valuable aspect of this ACELL-style workshop? Why?

 2. What changes or improvements would you suggest to make the process better suited to laboratory work in physics?

 3. What aspect(s) of the workshop did you find most surprising or unexpected?

 4. Please provide any additional comments on the workshop here.


Example Survey Responses

The responses to 4 of the Likert questions are below.  It seems clear that the ACELL workshop format is valuable for professional development in the Physics domain.  Equally, the ACELL Educational Template is, in the main, useful for the development of physics experiments. 

The full survey results can be obtained by clicking here.

 Example survey results from 2007 Physics workshop