Drew Rosen · SM 20
Rethinking the value of remote undergraduate physics laboratory work
The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has provoked an abrupt disruption of postsecondary education on an unprecedented scale. The present study reviews the nature of laboratory work and demonstrates how remote labs provide a viable alternative to in-person learning. Nearly every college in the U.S. has transitioned to remote learning in a short time frame. Regardless of when students return to higher education institutions, this disruption will influence the way laboratory-based coursework is conceptualized. With over half a million undergraduate physics students, the advantages of remote learning may expand STEM access to students who may have been traditionally underrepresented. Physics faculty have been generally hesitant to implement online labs for various reasons such as time, inexperience, and questionable rigor. This paper reviews the historical progression of laboratory work in the U.S., with a critique of the evolving nature of its purpose and relationship to students’ performance in physics.
Drew Rosen · PERC Summer Meeting 2020
Epistemological, socialization, and help seeking views of students taking in-person and online undergraduate physics laboratories
Undergraduate physics laboratory course structures have been identified in policy reports for novel design innovations to meet the needs of a diverse and growing student population. To this end, an at-home laboratory option was implemented at a large, public university for introductory physics students. A quasi-experimental, observational quantitative study was undertaken to understand students epistemological views, socialization, and help seeking behaviors in in-person and at-home laboratory environments. Students in introductory physics (N=998) were surveyed to elicit their epistemological beliefs about physics laboratory work and their views on social engagement and academic help-seeking. Students showed no statistically significant differences in attitudes related to epistemological beliefs and help-seeking behaviors when compared to students in traditional laboratory courses. In-person students valued socialization higher than at-home students. This study provides insights into the feasibility of at-home, hands-on laboratory work to meet students needs, and institutional recommendations for student advisement.