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The Fourth Decade … and my introductory physics class this fall – Robert Brown

Date: Thu. September 2nd, 2004, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

A lecture given on the occasion of receiving the national 2004 AAPT Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
I describe the beginning of my fourth decade of undergraduate teaching, a story that has astonished me with how fast it is changing. In the first decade, frantic memories abound of realizing just how much I did not know about the class material I was slated to teach (sometimes the next day!). The second decade taught me how even very young undergraduates could contribute to even very theoretical research programs and could understand even very fancy nonlinear physics. The third decade found me using e-mail, bulletin e-boards, simulations, computer movies, and daily questionnaires in my freshman courses. It also found me partnering with seniors, juniors, and even sophomores, as teaching assistants, who lectured right along with me. Now I have turned my teaching on its head, as I look to reverse and de-compartmentalize my previous ways, and I try to test the effectiveness of these changes.

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