CAREER: Identifying Barriers and Supports for Physics Students and Early Career Physicists with Disabilities

This project is funded through the NSF CAREER Program (Award #1750515) and aims to describe and improve the experiences of physics students and early career physicists with disabilities within the physics community. We take an “ability profile” view of impairment to recognize that all of us have variation across multiple dimensions. This project will build on the social model of disability to explain how physicists’ experiences vary based on other identities and specific physics research area. A major component of the project is the development and delivery of workshops at national American Physical Society meetings.

Simulated Practice: Using Socially-Responsive Avatars to Prepare STEM Graduate Teaching Assistants for Student-Centered Instruction

This project is funded through the NSF IUSE Program (Award #1725554) and is a collaboration between researchers in physics, chemistry, and computer science/simulation. This project aims to prepare GTAs for student-centered teaching through an existing mixed-reality simulator (TeachLive). We’ll design lessons for GTAs to rehearse with avatar students, track changes in teaching behaviors both in the simulator and the classroom, and look for improvements in student learning.

ACCESSS: Adapting Collaborative Classrooms to Equally Support Science Students

This project is funded through the NSF IUSE Program (Award #1612009) and is a collaboration between researchers in physics, chemistry and exceptional education at UCF. The project aims to explore learning of students with executive function disorders in active learning physics and chemistry courses. In later stages, cohorts of faculty and GTAs will work together to implement universal design for learning strategies in these courses and assess the impact on all students.

MATH-GAINS: Growing as Adaptive Instructors in Gateway to STEM Courses

This project is funded through the NSF IUSE Program (Award #1505322) and is a collaboration between the UCF Math Department and collaborators in physics, chemistry, math education and iSTEM. The project aims to identify strategies for changing the culture toward teaching in university math departments by coupling year long training and support for participating faculty, enhanced GTA training and increased discussion around math education topics. Additionally, the project offers the chance to test several evidence-based science teaching practices in calculus courses, with more multi-faceted analysis of their implementation to clarify previous findings.

Investigating Institutional Success at Overcoming Challenges in Algebra-based Studio Physics

This project is funded as a collaborative grant with Josh Von Korff and Brian Thoms at Georgia State University and Gerry Feldman and Larry Medsker at George Washington University through the NSF WIDER program (Award #1347515). Motivated by the difference in success of studio-mode introductory at different universities, specifically for the algebra-based sequence, we seek to identify and learn from institutions that have experience with this course. Because teaching and learning are complex, we make use of a variety of research tools to study the students, instructors and classroom interactions.

Active Learning Strategies for Algebra-based Introductory Physics at UCF

This project is funded through the NSF TUES program (Award #1246024.  While studio-mode courses have proven effective for student learning at various institutions, not all institutions are able to transform all of their courses to the studio-mode. In this project, we are merging previously developed research-based curricula to create “lecture-supported mini-studios”, or mini-studios for short, which maintain the existing room and scheduling requirements but recreate the positive learning outcomes from studio-mode courses. The mini-studios are run by graduate teaching assistants, so we are also analyzing the training needed for high fidelity implementation of the transformed curriculum. Our initial results indicate high learning gains on the Force Concept Inventory in the mini-studio than in either the full-studio or traditional courses.

Pedagogical Training with a Mixed-reality Simulator: TLE™ TeachLivE

Researchers at UCF created a mixed-reality classroom simulator that allows teachers to rehearse their skills in the same way pilots rehearse with a flight simulator. A paper exploring how Learning Assistants used the simulator has been published.