Current Learning Objectives for University Physics I and II

My colleague, Marlann Patterson, was kind enough to allow me to share her learning objectives for E&M. This is only her second semester using Learning Objectives Based Assessment so she is still tweaking them. I’ve also shared the current iteration of my learning objectives as well. I’ve made some changes since last semester. My first chapter is chock full of learning objectives, but I feel they are all very basic skills that students tend to not focus on. I wish I had more A-level learning objectives, but I couldn’t come up with any advanced skills that would fit nicely into the curriculum. If you end up using either of these sets of learning objectives we’d love to hear how they worked and learn what improvements you’ve made.
I’d like to point out that these learning objectives are based on something put together by Frank Noschese, who based his on a list of chapter topics put together by Robert Beichner.

Here is a link to Marlann’s current version (as of Fall 2012) of learning objectives for E&M in the 3rd edition of Matter and Interactions: Google Spreadsheet Link (each chapter has its own tab).

Here are my less organized learning objectives for mechanics in Matter and Interactions: Google Spreadsheet Link

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7 Responses to Current Learning Objectives for University Physics I and II

  1. Joss Ives says:

    Thanks for the great resources. Do you try to be really explicit in class about which LOs are related to a given activity? My topic learning goals in Mechanics are at roughly the same granularity as yours and I have found that the sheer volume of learning goals that I had made it really challenging to keep them at the forefront of our activities. I suspect that it is different when your entire assessment system built around the LOs (says the guy who still has yet to implement LOBA/SGB).

    • I’m doing a flipped class so almost all of my class time if focused on them working problems or doing activities, which gives me enough time to spend time on almost all learning objectives. I did find when I lectured more I couldn’t hit all the material, which is part of why I like the flipped classroom so much better

      • Joss Ives says:

        I was talking less about content coverage and more about the act of making the LOs explicit during each worked problem or activity. “If this problem showed up on a quiz, it would be assessing LOs x, y and z”

      • I see what you are saying. I’m not real good about doing that on a regular basis. I’ll occasionally mention which LO is related to a particular problem but I’m not good about doing it regularly. That might be a useful thing to do, so when students are studying they can look at the relevant examples.

  2. Joss Ives says:

    I’m wondering if you have a lab associated with your Physics I and II courses and, if so, how that lab fits into your overall LOBA/SBG scheme

    • Joss, I did have lab learning objectives for Physics I, but I don’t use them anymore. I wanted to focus more on content and less on writing lab reports so now all of my labs give students a chance to practice the skills for assessments (e.g. we do a terminal velocity lab involving steel spheres in corn syrup and then I put a question on the assessment relating to falling coffee filters). What it really comes down to is I don’t have enough time to give good feedback on lab reports and on all the reassessments and I felt focusing on the content was more important. I may work some of the lab learning objectives back into the course as I further refine the curriculum.

      Here are the lab objectives I had:
      – I can identify the phenomena to be investigated, the explanation to be tested, or the problem to be solved.
      – I can design a reliable experiment that investigates the phenomena, tests the explanation, or solves the problem.
      – I can communicate the details of an experimental procedure clearly and completely using words and pictures. Someone else would be able to reproduce my experiment using my description.
      -I can record and represent data in a meaningful way.
      -I can analyze data appropriately and show the analysis clearly and completely.
      -I can represent data graphically and determine the equation which models the data.
      – I can identify a pattern in the data and use the pattern to make predictions.
      – I can make a claim about the results of an experiment and support the claim with evidence and reasoning.
      – I can identify possible uncertainties, evaluate how they affect my results, and suggest ways to minimize them.
      -I can evaluate my work based on the class discussion and make improvements to my experiment and analysis.

      • Joss Ives says:

        It seems really tricky to use LOBA/SBG techniques in the lab when there are a bunch of skills that they are supposed to bring to bear on each lab. Most of the systems give a person credit for some combination of their best and most recent attempts at demonstrating competence in that skill. Did you assess each objective for each lab?

        On a side note, we’re looking at running a reformed lab section that breaks away from our traditional cookbook labs and I would be interested in seeing what your labs look like.

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