About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5860-5865
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

CHALLENGES OF TEACHING TO AUDIENCES WITH DISPARATE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUNDS – USING WEB BASED TECHNOLOGY TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTY

C. Brisson

Ramapo College of New Jersey (UNITED STATES)
There are many challenges in teaching physics to non-physics majors. To start with, students are usually reluctant to take mandatory physics classes. They may worry that the material is too difficult, may not feel comfortable with their mathematical skills, and may not be motivated to study a subject they sometimes believe is too distant from their main area of study. However, these challenges can be overcome with the implementation of a good teaching methodology. For example, using concrete examples that apply to everyday life helps the students to relate better to the material taught. Also, developing some demonstrations in class assists in illustrating the lectures.

The above challenges are well understood and researched. However, the challenge I often find overlooked and which maybe is the hardest to overcome, lies when students in a classroom come from very different high school backgrounds and their previous knowledge of physics is very disparate. This situation is difficult to handle since it becomes complicated for the instructor to reach out to the needs of every student. The goal is obviously to level off the knowledge and skill sets of the students as soon as possible. But how do we reach this goal? Choosing the right teaching pace is not easy. It can neither be too fast as the weakest students will become overwhelmed and maybe discouraged, nor too slow as the strongest students will loose interest in the material because they won’t be sufficiently challenged.

This paper discusses how web based technologies offer ways that help solve the problem without giving up on setting high standards or leaving behind the weakest students. Indeed, using online assignments wisely could be seen as a free real time tutoring resource rather than an assessment tool for the instructor. For example, allowing multiple submissions helps the weakest students to overcome their difficulties at their own pace while some difficult extra credit questions allow for more advanced students to remain challenged and focused. This paper describes in more details how technology that uses online assignments helps to tailor the students’ needs individually. The key to good teaching, I believe, is to keep every single student motivated in learning: no one should either feel too overwhelmed or blasé.

@InProceedings{BRISSON2010CHA,
author = {Brisson, C.},
title = {CHALLENGES OF TEACHING TO AUDIENCES WITH DISPARATE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUNDS – USING WEB BASED TECHNOLOGY TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTY},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5860-5865}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Brisson
TI - CHALLENGES OF TEACHING TO AUDIENCES WITH DISPARATE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUNDS – USING WEB BASED TECHNOLOGY TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTY
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 5860
EP - 5865
ER -
C. Brisson (2010) CHALLENGES OF TEACHING TO AUDIENCES WITH DISPARATE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUNDS – USING WEB BASED TECHNOLOGY TO OVERCOME THE DIFFICULTY, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 5860-5865.
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