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Using multiple-possibility physics problems in introductory physics courses

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TypeOfResource
Text
TitleInfo (ID = T-1)
Title
Using multiple-possibility physics problems in introductory physics courses
Identifier
ETD_1475
Identifier (type = hdl)
http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.000051068
Language
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eng
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
Subject (ID = SBJ-1); (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Physics and Astronomy
Subject (ID = SBJ-1); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Physics--Study and teaching
Subject (ID = SBJ-1); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Problem solving
Abstract
I have explored the instructional value of using multiple-possibility problems (MPPs) in introductory physics courses. MPPs are different from problems we most often encounter in textbooks. They are different from regular problems since 1) they have missing information, vaguely defined goals or unstated constrains, 2) they possess multiple solutions with multiple criteria for evaluating the solutions, 3) they present uncertainty about which concepts, rules, and principles are necessary for the solution or how they are organized.
Real-life problems and professional problems are MPPs. Students rarely encounter such problems in introductory physics courses.
Kitchener (1983) proposed a three-level model of cognitive processing to categorize the thinking steps one makes when faced with such problems (cognition, metacognition, epistemic cognition). The critical and distinctive component of MPP solving is epistemic cognition. At that level individuals reflect on the limits of knowing, the certainty of knowing, the underlying assumptions made. It is an important part of thinking in real life.
Firstly, I developed and tested a coding scheme for measuring epistemic cognition. Using the coding scheme I compared the epistemic cognition level of experts and novices by conducting think-aloud problem-solving interviews with them. Although experts had higher epistemic cognition level than novices, I documented some instances where a novice showed an expert-like epistemic cognition. I found that prompting question during interviews were 50% effective for students.
Secondly, I tested the following two hypotheses by conducting two experimental design and one pre-post treatment design investigations in an algebra-based physics course at Rutgers University: Hypothesis 1: Solving MPPs enhances students' epistemic cognition;
Hypothesis 2: Solving MPPs engages students in more meaningful problem solving and thus helps them construct a better conceptual understanding of physics.
I found supporting evidence for both hypotheses. Although not all of my studies produced the results that would unquestionably support the hypotheses strongly, I can say that they show much promise for the use of MPPs in introductory physics courses. I have also created a bank of MPPs freely available for use.
PhysicalDescription
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electronic resource
Extent
xvi, 185 p. : ill.
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Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 178-184)
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by Vazgen Shekoyan
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Shekoyan
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Vazgen
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Vazgen Shekoyan
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Eugenia
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Etkina
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chair
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Advisory Committee
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Etkina Eugenia
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Kalelkar
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Mohan
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Advisory Committee
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Mohan Kalelkar
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Matilsky
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Terry
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Advisory Committee
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Terry Matilsky
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Rabe
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Karin
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Advisory Committee
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Karin M. Rabe
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Finkelstein
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Noah
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outside member
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Advisory Committee
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Noah Finkelstein
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Rutgers University
Role
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degree grantor
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
Role
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school
OriginInfo
DateCreated (point = ); (qualifier = exact)
2009
DateOther (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2009-01
Location
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NjNbRU
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TitleInfo
Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
ETD
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore19991600001
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3H13276
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
Copyright
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Copyright protected
Availability
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Open
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Permission or license
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Non-exclusive ETD license
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Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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