Making lab 'pre-work' work


  • Holly E. Trowland School of Physics The University of Sydney
  • John O'Byrne School of Physics The University of Sydney
  • Helen Johnston School of Physics The University of Sydney


Laboratory classes are a key part of first year physics but, for many students, the objective is to complete the task and get out! How do we engage students more effectively with the lab experience? One means of increasing engagement is 'pre-work' completed before the lab classes. We have begun a program to move our lab pre-work from a pen-and-paper exercise to on-line learning with the primary aim to offer students a much improved introduction to the apparatus and the physics of each session. Student surveys indicate that online pre-work is popular and a better introduction than its paper-based precursor, with 82% of students agreeing that the extra information in the pre-work module was useful to them. [a brief summary extracted from the full Abstract]