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Mid-Semester Feedback in Physics I

February 13, 2015

I always post these, because they help me to process when I write them, but it’s also interesting to share. I’ve been sharing these ever since I started, so I figured I keep it up.

What do we do in class that is helpful for your learning? Why specifically do you think it is helpful?

– The group work is helpful because it provides the input and collection of ideas, by solving the problems together.

– Whiteboard exercises and emphasis on showing all work and graphs. Good tool for working together and talking through each and every step. Coming around and questioning our methods and helping us understand why. The emphasis on showing work is great and help you learn more solidly. Before I used to zoom right to the answer, but I know I write out every formula, process, and graph and it has spilled over into my other classes, improving my grades.

– Test example questions are helpful because they give a clear view of what to expect.

– For me, having to work out problems step by step helps me because I can go home and have those guidelines to do HW. This is helpful b/c I have a hard time memorizing things quickly. The labs are helpful because I learn things better by doing hands on activities than from reading.

– Thorough explanations are good, needless to say.

– The amount of practice each class session we get. Working as a group helps other to catch up.

– Working out and explaining problems on the board, because it allows one to see if they actually understand the problem and if not they see where they don’t understand and can ask questions.

– Group work is good way that helps me a lot in this class. I always ask them when I face a problem I don’t understand and they help me out. It seems to me that the problems you give us to work are helpful.

– I don’t like group work, however I find it aids the learning process greatly. Group works puts everyone in that group in a teaching role at some point, which is a better way to learn something.

– Whiteboard problems, worksheets, reading quizzes. All these provide repetition, Practice makes perfect. With the LAs on Fridays we also have the ability to work problems with most of our questions answered.

– The most helpful thing is coloring the different quantities different colors.I

– Not only do we work problems on the board while you guide us, we also work in groups. This helps because any questions I am stuck on, someone who is learning something new can help me understand how they did it. All of the extra practice problems and being able to apply physics to real life in labs helpme

– Working in groups and whiteboard problems, we support each other and drawing is fun

– Working together for about 45 minutes is so helpful, save in time plus more and more things to learn from the group.

– Hands on Labs and working in groups. This is helpful because we help each other learn.

– Solving a lot of problems is one of the most helpful things. Also,the LAs who come to class to help on Fridays are so helpful.

– Group work seems to be helpful because you can get other people’s ways of solving problems. With different ideas, I think that is a helpful way for me to learn.

– Having problems worked out with the group is beneficial to me because if I don’t understand the problem or mess up one of the steps, I can turn and talk to one of them to figure what I did wrong.

– Working in groups is nice. Not just doing lab after lab as well, LA, time, and worksheets change the pace. I also think that the amount of work given is helpful.

– Working out problems on whiteboards are helpful, because it keeps the group on the same page and doesn’t let one be ahead of the everyone else of behind.

– When you go through problems step by step and then allow us to go back to our desk (to try to do it on our own). It allows us to break down a long problems into more “simple”steps.

– I enjoy working on practice problems in class, because it helps understand what different parts of the problems are and it’s more practice.

–Working in groups is helpful because it’s like a system of checks and balances.

– Group work, whiteboard problems, labs, etc.

– Worksheets help me because they give me problems to work in class, however, they also give me problems to work outside of class.

– The most helpful is when the instructor starts explaining  a problem and then he gives us a similar problems.

– I think when all of us roll up to the board, it’s very engaging.

What do we do in class that is NOT helpful for your learning? Why specifically do you think it is unhelpful?

– Nothing specifically I can think of… but a slower pace of problem-solving would be more effective. I think sometimes we are rushing.

– Everything is helpful. The only less-helpful thing is getting around the front board to watch your work a problem. I already understand most of the material, but I can see how it is needed in this class and will be helpful for me in the future.

–Color coding problems. I already have to remember how to solve the problem. I feel that trying to remember what each color means is just added stress.

–I am having a hard time in my new group–they are catching on quicker than I am and they rush through the problem. When I ask for clarification, the problem is explained, but too quickly. I felt like my first group worked much more as a team than my current group.

– Can’t think of anything.

– I cannot think of anything

– Whiteboarding and color-coding. I can’t work with others on the test, and I can’t use color pencils on the test, so it it seems like a waste of time and resources. I suggest everyone work by themselves.

–Everything we do in this class related to the main idea, so nothing is unhelpful.

– I feel like my first group had a great dynamic, and I can understand how others might not want to stay in their first group. I felt so comfortable with my first group, which for me helps the learning process.

– Sometimes we go at too fast of a pace than I can handle. I know we have  a  schedule that is set, but sometimes it’s hard to grasp certain concepts in the designated time.

– I find some of the labs to be less helpful, because the problems tend to explain themselves. But I guess I know some people learn more through actions and visualizations. So I guess they are helpful.

– Everything we do is helpful in some way.

– Switching groups. I can work easier with my first group, because I was accustomed to their way of thinking and working. That made for a good learning environment.

– We should have a quiz toward the end of class, so we can be more confident and have an indication of what we learned that day, or if there is still progress to be made.

– Working in groups can also not be helpful a times, because we don’t always work at the same pace. Some could work faster and sometimes people do not feel like slowing down.

– Counting off  a lot of points on labs is not helpful.

– Certain days, we rush through topics because we have too many activities to do. We buzz on from one thing to the next, and sometimes I hardly understood the first. Maybe we could only do one thing at a time.

– Everything that we have to do in lab in one class is too much to get finished before the end of class.

– Mandatory group changes. I had a real solid and helpful group at the beginning.

– Always doing group work is not helpful, because when I get home by myself, there is not one to get feedback. I know it’s my responsibility to work independently outside of class, but I feel group work is making me too dependent on others.

– Working in groups all the time. Sometimes my group understand something better than I do and finishes the work before I even know what’s going on.

– Nothing is unhelpful.

– I can’t think of anything.

– Nothing really.

– Sometimes working in groups is confusing. This can be unhelpful when I get home and have to work alone.

– Nothing is unhelpful, but we could work in groups a little less, because I feel I just want to finish the problem instead of understand everything.

– Nothing.

Is there anything you want to tell me? Something that’s been on your mind?

– Slow down a little sometimes?

– Nope

– (Blank)

– I am enjoying your class and it’s challenging me.

– It helps me when I am given deep, complete explanations as to “Why?” Once I understand something intimately, I know it. If we do not understand the murky depths, how could we hope to venture?

– This is the best lab I’ve had for a long time.

– I like the LAs, because I’ve appreciated having women in the classroom to teach us, they help keep our attention on topic a little more.


– I wish we had more coffee. Never ending coffee. This 8:00 AM business is crazy. Coffee.

– As of now, things are going well.

– This class does a good job of teaching to different learning styles. I happen to be fond of math, so I tend to pick up the problem without the extra help, but I’m still enjoying the class even if it sometimes seems repetitive.

– I wish you had more office hours.

– Nope

– You rock, Frank!.

– I understand why you grade labs the way you do, I just wish you didn’t.

– No

– Everything seems to be OK. I do enjoy the content and challenge of this class.

– Nothing is on my mind about how this class could be different.

– Group changes. I enjoyed working with my friends. Reading quizzes should start 10 minutes later, to give grace to those who are trying to get here, but are having one of those days. We also need morning incentives, like coffee. Once a week? We need more than a lab activity to get us here on Fridays.

– Nope!

– (Blank)

– Nope 😉

– No

– Nope =)

– I wish we had more problems solving, because that’s what the test consisted of.

– (Blank)

– I’m confused about LA activities versus Lab activities, so I sometimes get the reading quiz questions wrong when it’s about what we are doing today.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2015 1:52 pm

    How do you grade labs?

    • February 15, 2015 2:09 pm

      It’s rubric-based. For example, any (even minor) mistake in units, sig figs, graphs, writing equations of best fit in physics variables, or uncertainties lands a student a B, because A quality work meets all those criteria. We don’t take off points for each error. Or, for example, not including uncertainties at all would automatically default to a C.

      Students don’t like “losing” 25 points for forgetting to do uncertainties. But I say not attending to uncertainties is C level work.

      • February 18, 2015 11:14 pm

        Interesting. Is it the same rubric for every lab? Would you be willing to share your rubric?

      • February 19, 2015 12:04 am

        Yeah I’ll email you it tomorrow. It’s used group wide this semesters, developed by a colleague.

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