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Physics Lab Experiment Index and Review Process - November 17, 2011

Page history last edited by Gina Bennett 8 years ago

Physics Lab Experiments Index


The list below contains links to the original WASc curriculum. These labs are in the process of revision & the latest versions are available here: NEW course development PHYSICS


-----------------------for archive purposes only -----------------------------


  1. Introduction: Labs for Distance Version of PHY 100 and 120 Courses REVISED (still needs more as content evolves) Introduction: Labs for First Semester Physics
  2. Laboratory experiments
    1. Measurements and Experimental Errors (Lab Kit)  REVISED LAB: Lab 1: Measurements, errors and Experimental uncertainty
    2.  One Dimensional Motion (RWSL)
    3. Vector Addition of Forces (Lab Kit)
    4. Conservation of Energy (RWSL)
    5. Conservation of Momentum (RWSL)
    6. Torque and Rotational Equilibrium (Lab Kit)
    7. The Simple Pendulum (Lab Kit)
    8. Oscilloscope Speed of Sound (RWSL)
  3. Laboratory Reporting and Analysis Manual


Instructions for Review Process


Step A - View the table of contents above and download each lab for review. Associated course material may be available for review.


Step B - Complete your review of each lab. Leave comments on each lab wiki page indicating your satisfaction with each lab. Use the Satisfaction Scale seen below.


Work at the September conference will focus on resolution of outstanding issues identified in discussion of each lab.


Satisfaction Scale

1 - This lab supports first semester physics as defined by the physics panel and is approved as is.

Entering "1" means that this lab is fine as is and that you are satisfied with it.


2 - This lab supports first semester physics provided the minor change(s) identified in my comments are addressed by the team.  

Entering "2" means that there needs to be some discussion and agreement on specific items in the lab. Leave comments identifying the specific items for discussion, and offer a resolution for consideration by the panel.


           3 - This lab supports the 80%-20% rule* used to develop NANSLO open course content and is approved for use.

However, it would require significant revision for localization if it were to be used at our institution. Entering "3" means that this lab supports first semester physics for the NANSLO open course but would require specific (identified) alterations if it were to meet transfer and articulation requirements at your institution. Leave comments specifying what changes would be required.


4 - This lab does not support first semester physics as defined by the physics panel.

Entering "4" means that this lab needs some major changes or requires replacement in order to be used in the NANSLO open course. Comments about changes or recommendations for the design of a new lab need to be provided. Panel members will be asked to vote on the recommended change at the September workshop, or to develop an alternate lab.


* A reminder about the 80%-20% rule applied to NANSLO open course material

We discussed in our panel conference call that NANSLO open courses are intended to meet 80% of your institutions transfer and articulation requirements. In many cases the percentage will be higher. We anticipate that the localization process at any institution choosing to use NANSLO course material will require supplementation of the "Core" open course content with either "Optional" material defined by the panels or additional material brought to the course otherwise. This approval process is aimed at identifying "Core" material that meets the criteria of a first semester physics course as defined by the panel.


Below are the comments from our discipline panel meeting on 9/29/11. 


minutes 92911 panel.docx

Comments (7)

Lynnette Hoerner said

at 4:04 pm on Sep 29, 2011

Notes from discussion on Sept. 29th.

Here is the article, Goals of the Introductory Physics Laboratory

Todd Ruskell said

at 3:18 pm on Sep 6, 2011

I'll 'third' the credibility point. Strange as it may sound, I don't have much issue with an RWSL-type approach to labs. But my colleagues in the resident education business and I tend to be more concerned about knowing if "student x" is really doing the work or farming it out. At some level this is a concern for large face-to-face courses, too. But if you see a different person taking an exam, for example, than you saw in recitation or lab, it's pretty obvious. When considering on-line courses, this is a real hang-up for most faculty that teach in-residence courses. And it can be hard to figure out what process is used by any particular on-line course/campus to take care of this Many, but not all, institutions seem reluctant to discuss this. It often appears (whether true or not) that either (a) they haven't thought about it really hard, and just "trust" the students, or that (b) they have it so well under control that they don't think about mentioning it. Answers that sound a lot like (a) are pretty unsatisfactory and serve to turn faculty away from on-line courses. Might it be possible to come up with some recommendations or best practices for ensuring the identity of those submitting work in the course?

irene grimberg said

at 12:37 pm on Sep 5, 2011

This last point is well taken and applies to RWSL and kits as well, in fact to all remote interactions, either online teaching or labs. I think that a final test of the course should be face-to-face and should consist of paper-pencil and lab work.

irene grimberg said

at 12:34 pm on Sep 5, 2011

Simple Pendulum, Lab 7

“along with the relations for arc length and angular acceleration” introduce here alpha as angular acceleration.

Grammar: “You must include techniques reduce the experimental error” should say to reduce

“Measure the diameter of both of the large spherical lead fishing weights as precisely
as you can with the meter stick. Measure both of their masses.” There is no indication in the equipment list of the use of two lead fishing bob.

Gina Bennett said

at 11:22 am on Aug 26, 2011

(final review thoughts from Bernd, copied from email of Aug. 6)
• I think institutions will be more prone to articulate online labs that are 50% kit/hands-on, 50% RWSL (rather than 100% RWSL)
• The student lab notebook and formal report with be important evidence towards whether the labs are accepted.
• For me, the bottom line in articulating this lab would be if I feel the student could succeed in my second semester lab. This would be based on evidence of student’s overall first semester’s lab work. The NANSLO lab scripts, as they stand, do not provide this evidence.
• It is not clear how concerned receiving institutions will be on credibility of who actually did the lab and what help was received. I suspect Physics depts. will give some initial leeway, up until a service appears on a website to complete online labs for students at a price (hell, I might even set this up to make the point). Then all credibility will immediately be lost. This needs to be addressed early on.

Gina Bennett said

at 11:14 am on Aug 26, 2011

Hi Irene, sorry to be responding late to your question.

By all means, please add your comments as soon as they occur to you! The best place for your feedback is underneath each specific lab. To find those, look at the top of this page, click on the link to the lab, & look for the 'comments' space (similar to this area on this page) below each lab.

Hope this is clear

irene grimberg said

at 5:45 pm on Aug 17, 2011

Hi All,
Shall we keep our comments until September 3rd, or there is a place to discuss each lab in particular? BTW I find Paul's answers to Bernd questions very relevant, as make clear NANSLO role as pioneering something relatively new (RWSL) in education.
Cheers, Irene

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