Physics education research seeks to find the most effective methods for teaching physics. The resources listed here highlight some of the key developments in this field. They have been selected to help a physicist unfamiliar with PER to begin using research-based teaching methods with a minimum amount of effort. Links are provided to strategies and materials developed at other institutions to promote borrowing and adaption (rather than re-invention) of best practices.
The body of literature in this field is vast, so this list is by no means exhaustive.
PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH OVERVIEWS
In the fall of 2008, the physics department sponsored a series of seminars on physics education. Slides and video are available for Joe Redish's talks on using math in physics classes and reinventing discussion sections. Video for Eric Mazur's seminar, "Confessions of a Converted Leturer," is also available (through iTunes).
Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite, Joe Redish This is the "Bible" of PER. A great resource that gives an overview of the field, describes successful implementation strategies, and cites key papers.
LESSONS FROM OTHER UNIVERSITIES
MIT: Physics Courses MIT's workshop-based TEAL courses. Faculty Newsletter, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Carnegie Foundation magazine, Powerpoint Articles by John Belcher, who helped develop MIT's TEAL course. The TEAL course showed increased normalized gains compared with the traditional course, but TEAL generated substantial resistance from the student body.
Illinois: How U. Ill. adopted widespread reform in its intro courses. This presentation I found particularly insightful, along with this paper and this summary.
Maryland: Reinventing College Physics for Biologists: Explicating an epistemological curriculum, how U. Md. changed its algebra-based physics course. Learning how to Learn Science final report, an earlier evaluation of the course.
Student Tutorial FAQs, handout developed for Stanford Physics 20/40 series students, fall 2008
Tutorial FAQ's for students (click on "FAQ's about Tutorials (why do we do these things?)" in left sidebar), from Steve Pollock, CU-Boulder
Tutorials in Introductory Physics, L. C. McDermott and P.S. Shaffer, 1998. Research-based tutorial problems, developed at U. Washington.
Activity-Based Tutorials, M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, E.F. Redish, and the University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group (Wiley, 2004 and 2005).
D. Sokoloff and R. Thornton The Physics Teacher, v.35 (1997) Using interactive lecture demonstrations to create an active learning environment
C. Crouch, et al., Classroom demonstrations: Learning tools or entertainment? Am. J. Phys. 72 (2004) 835-838. Examines how much students learn from traditionally presented demonstrations
Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, David Sokoloff and Ron Thornton, 2001. Sample ILDs and how to use them.
Peer Instruction: A User's Manual, Eric Mazur, 1997. A guide to interactive techniques in lecture.
Just In Time Teaching Strategy to use web-based materials to collect out-of-class feedback to inform lecture content.
Real Time Physics, David Sokoloff, Ron Thornton, and Priscilla Laws, 1995. Computer-based lab activities, following the guided-inquiry method of predict-observe-explain.
R. Thornton and D. Sokoloff, Am. J. Phys., 66 (1998), 338. Data showing substantial gains made by RTP labs and ILD's over traditional instruction.
Article on careers in PER, "Education Research: A New (Tenure) Track for Scientists", Science, 5 Oct. 2007.