Innovations in university physics teaching: There’s no silver bullet


  • Helen Georgiou The University of Sydney
  • Manjula D. Sharma The University of Sydney


At a time where University lecturers are facing unprecedented pressure from stakeholders to embrace innovative teaching and technologies, it is important to refer to and conduct educational research to ensure these innovations have the best chance at success. This poster presents findings from the second of two iterations of a trial involving one type of innovation- an Active Learning technique known as the Interactive Lecture Demonstration- that was implemented in the same thermodynamics module of a large first year physics cohort but by two different lecturers. A comprehensive assessment of the trial and a comparison between the two implementations took place and included comparisons of learning outcomes as measured by a Thermal Concepts Survey (TCS) and student engagement as measured by a newly developed tool known as the Lecture Activity and Student Engagement (LASE) tool. Results showed that each lecturer delivered the program in measurably different ways and that this had an effect on student learning outcomes, student attitudes towards the course, and their views on their own achievement. That the outcome of the two implementations varied in this way has consequences for almost all educational levels and highlights the role of academic educational research in lecturer support and development.

Author Biographies

Helen Georgiou, The University of Sydney

PhD student, School of Physics

Manjula D. Sharma, The University of Sydney

Director, IISME Associate Professor, School of Physics