In the physics and astronomy courses, faculty continue to implement and develop student-focused teaching techniques. We focus on research-based techniques that improve student learning.
Integrated Labs and Lectures
Fundamentals of Physics 1 and 2 feature integrated labs, lectures, and student directed activities. Professor Adler is currently teaching these courses: he is using a combination of group problem solving, warm-up questions, hands on activities and demonstrations, and computer simulations.
The “Flipped Classroom” Technique
Dr. De Pree generally uses the “flipped classroom” technique. This puts most of the introduction to the topic outside of class; this allows precious class time to be used working on problems, applying the material, or exploring more difficult complications of the topic at hand.
Lab and Project Presentations
Physics students hone their speaking skills with lab presentations in both Fundamentals of Physics 3 and Advanced Laboratory courses, as well as project presentations in many upper level courses.
Interactive questions are used in many classes, including Basic Physics, College Physics, and General Physics.
Professor Grossman introduced “clickers” to St. Mary’s College classes to facilitate Peer Instruction. This tool is now being used successfully in many other departments throughout the College. The clickers allow the professor to instantly see how many students choose each answer.
Professor Mita uses a variation of this technique interactive question and answers.
Professor De Pree also uses Peer Instruction in her classes – frequently her students use brightly colored cards that they hold up to indicate their answers. This allows Prof. De Pree to focus more on the material that the class does not understand.