ACELL for Physics?

Kate Wilson, David Mills, Manjula Sharma, Les Kirkup, Alberto Mendez, Dale Scott


This paper considers the use of the chemistry laboratory work evaluation process ACELL (Advancing Chemistry by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory) as a tool for evaluating and improving physics laboratory work. In November 2007 an ACELL-style workshop for physics was run at the University of Technology Sydney as part of the Forging new directions in physics education in Australian universities project, funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). One stream of this project is looking at undergraduate laboratory work in physics, and the ACELL process is a means of evaluating laboratory work developed by the chemistry eduction research community, hence it may be of great value in physics also. The purpose of this workshop was to consider the ACELL evaluation process as a model for evaluating undergraduate laboratory exercises in physics. The workshop was attended by more than 50 delegates, from 19 universities, and eight physics experiments were presented for evaluation using ACELL templates. The delegates were surveyed during and after the event on how appropriate they found the ACELL evaluation process for physics experiments, and what modifications would be needed to implement such a process for physics. The results of these surveys are presented with recommendations for modifying the ACELL process for application to physics experiments.

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