Courses at Univesity of Iowa

Below are current and past courses in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Iowa:

Teaching Interests

My primary interests in teaching are:

  • Improved lower division undergraduate teaching through interactive learning techniques such as peer instruction
  • Upper division or graduate plasma physics
  • Upper division or graduate electromagnetism
  • Space and Astrophysical Plasmas
  • Parallel Programming for Scientific Applications
  • The Practice of High-Performance Computing

Experiments with Interactive Learning Techniques

In teaching the College Physics I course (029:011), a first semester physics course for pre-health science majors, I adopted a number of modern methods for science teaching, in particular the peer instruction methods pioneering by Eric Mazur and others. Punctuating standard lecture time with qualitative interactive questions and gauging student comprehension using Personal Response Systems (clickers) was quite popular with students, gave students an opportunity to apply the material just presented to a real problem. In addition, when student comprehension was poor, I used the Think-Pair-Share strategy to enable them to learn from each other, giving the students a chance to learn the material from a different perspective. In addition, I employed online homework through Wiley-Plus to give the students the opportunity to try numerical problems many times to achieve full credit. Overall, I believe my first full-fledged attempt to use interactive learning in the classroom was highly successful, and I received some of the highest student evaluation scores in the department that semester.

Previous Teaching Experience

I have taught at Occidental College as an Adjunct Assistant Instructor for three semesters, Fall 1996, Spring 1997, and Fall 2000. Below I give a brief description of the courses I taught.

Physics 105- Light

  • An introductory course on optics, waves, relativity, and quantum mechanics.
  • Intended as the first course for Physics majors as well as a course open to non-science majors as fulfillment of the laboratory science requirement.
  • As this newly developed course had only been offered once previously, a large part of my job involved refinement of the curriculum.

Physics 105- Light Laboratory

  • Standard optics labopratory experiments.

Physics 110- Mechanics

  • An introductory, calculus-based course on classic mechanics.

Physics 110- Mechanics Laboratory

  • Standard optics labopratory experiments.

Physics 140- Light and Modern Physics Laboratory

  • Experiments on optics, waves, and nuclear physics.