Enhancing metacognitive readers for an open textbook in introductory Physics

Project TitleEnhancing metacognitive readers for an open textbook in introductory Physics
Principal InvestigatorSimon Bates
Co-ApplicantsMichael Salloum, BKin graduate
FacultyVP Academic, Science
Funding Year2021
Project Summary
One issue we have encountered with a move to an open text book in our introductory 100-level Physics course is that students often struggle with the large volume of material that is set as pre-class reading ahead of discussion in class. The text often contains very thorough sections on background and motivation, detailed mathematical approaches, worked examples and checks for conceptual understanding. This comprehensiveness is extremely useful, but can leave the novice student overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of material presented. How much time should I spend on each section? Are they all equally important? What should I focus on? Two years ago, in order to address this a small group of students who had previously taken the course developed what we called metacognitive readers for each assigned chapter; ‘Coles Notes’ for each chapter. Rather than summarize content, they highlight links between past and future course topics, key mathematical skills and techniques, and concepts that we know students struggle with. These have been successfully integrated into the course materials, but now require some further development beyond their original scope. Some students – particularly those with weaker preparation, English as a second language, or a gap of time between the course and their prior study of Physics – still struggle with how to navigate what is sometimes 70 pages of weekly assigned reading containing new concepts and mathematical content. This project aims to enhance the metacognitive readers previously developed by categorizing each sub-section of the text so as to highlight the function of a section and its importance. These enhancements will provide a more structured pathway through the textbook pre-reading for those students that need it, highlighting where to devote time.
Grant type OER Rapid Innovation
Funded Amount $2,000

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