Teaching and learning of Electromagnetism

Doughty, Leanne and van Kampen, Paul (2011) Teaching and learning of Electromagnetism. [Conference Proceedings]


At present, an intermediate level Electromagnetism module is offered to Second Year Physics and Electronic Engineering students and to Fourth Year Science Education students. Notwithstanding the diverse educational backgrounds of these students, the problems they encounter appear to be similar. Large gaps in the students’ conceptual development in physics and their ability to apply mathematical techniques such as differentiation, integration, and vector calculus have been observed. To address this issue, every lecture is accompanied by two tutorials characterized by Socratic questioning, which the students tackle in small groups. About half deal with conceptual problems; the other half integrate these concepts with the mathematical techniques required to solve intermediate-level problems in electromagnetism.In this talk, we will discuss our approach to teaching electromagnetism, namely via inquiry-based tutorials, in detail. In particular, we will describe how we build up to the Divergence Theorem from the very basics, showing relevant examples of various exercises completed by students throughout the process. We will outline the pre/post test method that we employ to identify the main problems students have with specific topics in the module, and to measure the effectiveness of our teaching method. We will also give examples of where results from the post tests have enabled us to make changes to the tutorials.

[thumbnail of NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf]
NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

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