Research as a guide for the development of tutorials to improve student understanding of geometrical and physical optics
AbstractThesis (Ph. D.)--University of Washington, 1996
This dissertation reports on an in-depth investigation of student understanding of geometrical and physical optics. The research and curriculum development was conducted both in the context of the introductory calculus-based physics course and a course to prepare precollege teachers to teach physics and physical science as a process of inquiry. Research methods included pretests, post-tests, and individual demonstration interviews as well as informal observations of and discussions with students in the classroom and study center. The results guided the design of two types of instructional materials to address the conceptual and reasoning difficulties that were identified. The first is a set of tutorials to supplement lecture and laboratory instruction in the optics portion of a traditional introductory course. The second consists of a set of modules on optics suitable for use in an inquiry-oriented laboratory-based course. Ongoing assessment of student learning indicates that these materials are effective at addressing many of the student difficulties that were found to persist after instruction in a typical physics course.