The Sydney University Physics Education research (SUPER) group was formed in 1992 by members of the School of Physics to coordinate efforts towards understanding more about the processes of teaching and learning in physics. Since that time, new members have joined the group, several PhD students have completed their degrees in physics education research and many collaborations within and outside the university have been forged.
What does SUPER do?
Members of SUPER are doing research into a wide range of questions
about the way physics is learned.
- We have developed Interactive Workshop Tutorials that encourage students to explore physics concepts through working in small groups with hands-on activities and carefully-designed worksheets that confront common misunderstandings.
- The SUPER group is researching the ways that students approach their studies in undergraduate physics, how they conceive of the subject matter (what do they think physics is about?) and their perceptions of the way physics is taught. We need this kind of picture of student learning to understand how best to meet the needs of the huge student numbers entering university each year.
- We are continuing a series of investigations of how students understand various concepts in physics. In the past SUPER members have examined students' conceptions of quantum mechanics and thermal physics. We are currently looking at the ways in which students try to make sense of gravity.
- The undergraduate laboratory units of study are being examined to ensure that the aims and goals of the many lab classes are all aligned in a common direction.
- Computers are being used more frequently in education, though the value of computer-based education depends greatly on the design of the content being delivered. We are exploring the use of web-based course material in the physics-component of an Agrucultural Science unit of study.
When the SUPER group was formed, the original members put together a document outlining their argument for pursuing physics education research in an academic physics context. That text lives on today as the SUPER Group Manifesto.
|Download the SUPER
in PDF format
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