Science learning environment—outside-class experience: design, evaluation and challenge

Marian W. Radny


Traditional university science (physics) teaching is based on the lecture-laboratory/tutorial delivery scheme. Also, this type of training is usually in the form of puzzle-solving strategy on a particular class of problems which comprises successful aspects of a topic/discipline (textbook-science). In addition to that the segmentation of teaching where the knowledge transferred has been broken up into separate courses (topics) increases tendency to omit as much as possible of the material that does not fit exactly the course objectives. As a result, some important in teaching and practice of science topics falls between and are not presented at all. This is especially true for issues related to contemporary, cutting-edge science.

Science and science-oriented students enrolled in two introductory physics courses presented by the Discipline of Physics at the University of Newcastle were/are exposed to a number of diverse topics (fundamental physics) with little time for expanding and overlapping their course-based knowledge with more and more multidisciplinary science environment. In order to encourage students to test and expand their knowledge a two-A4-page format bulletin was designed and widely distributed among about 450 students in these two level-one introductory physics courses (Figure 1). Qualitative evidence regarding student’s perceived value of the bulletin shows that the proposed design was as a successful and valuable learning experience for a vast majority of the first year students.

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