Physics Education Faculty

Ken Heller

The research of this group emphasizes the connection between education at all levels and the role of the University. We concentrate on undergraduate and graduate student education with a primary emphasis on developing the role of metacognition in problem solving. To facilitate students using metacognition when problem solving, we have developed problems that facilitate developing general problem solving skills (Context-rich problems), a peer coaching pedagogy using a cooperative group framework (Cooperative problem solving), a student problem solving framework emphasizing the role of metacognition, a laboratory framework that emphasizes problem solving, a program of educating and supporting teaching assistants in their role of problem solving coaches, and computer problem solving coaches for students to use online. The group also develops research methodology such as techniques to effectively determine the goals of non-physics faculty for physics courses, the interactions of individuals solving problems in groups, techniques to determine the beliefs and values of physics faculty teaching introductory physics, a measurement rubric to assess student problem solving proficiency, and a measurement rubric to determine the difficulty of introductory physics problems for students. We have also begun to investigate the factors that influence the success of graduate students in their PhD programs.
Physics Education Flow Chart
Course Components