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Flipping the Physics

What does the term “flipping the classroom” mean? Quite simply, it means that instead of sitting in class listening to lectures and going home to do problems or write essays, students view what used to be thought of as usual classroom presentations at home on video. They do what used to be “homework” during the class period in collaboration with their student colleagues and occasional help from their instructor. Professor Timothy Good, The Dr. Ronald J. Smith ’72 Professor of Applied Physics, firmly believes and has some strong evidence that this approach to learning is an effective way to conduct a class. He came to this conviction after using this approach in his Physics 211: Electricity and Magnetism class during the 2013 Fall Semester. In end of term evaluations, students stated that this class had “The best use of class time of any of my classes at Gettysburg.” Other students said that because they did not have to get homework done between the end of the previous class and the beginning of the next class, they had time to read their text more thoroughly. Still others noted that since presentations were on internet video, they could rewind them and go over points they missed or did not understand as often as they needed. Other evidence supporting Tim’s claim is that he used problem solving questions similar to those he asked in tests given four years ago (the last time he taught the class), the lowest scores on questions asked to the students last fall were higher than the class averages on the corresponding questions he asked on the tests from five previous offerings of the course. The Fall ’13 class averages on these questions ranged from 10 to 20 points above those from previous years. Not statistically significant evidence, but certainly worth noting. Tim also employed a standardized pre-and post-course assessment test to gauge conceptual gains. Though conceptual gains were robust at 40%, this outcome was similar to previous methods that sought active learning through concept questions interspersed within a classroom lecture. Full Story

Materials from Fall ’13 E&M Class:
Column 1 - A Lecture Demonstration;
Column 2 - Two Screen Captures From a Video Lecturer;
Column 3 - Two examples of completed student homework

Student e-Mail To Be Switched
To A Cloud Based System

Microsoft 365 will be the new host for student mailboxes

When the first electronic messaging system began, the Advanced Research Projects Network, ARPA Net, was one of the first to implement packet switching. Messages on ARPA Net and its immediate followers were mostly ASCII Text Messages. The network was basically for communication between scientists and other academics. They may have been several hundred Kilo Bytes (kb) in size. That is miniscule by today’s standards! Today e-mail is used by almost everyone of all ages and may contain very large and complex data files as well as multimedia files including sound and video. The size of many e-mails may be several Mega Bytes (mb) in size. Such large e-mails are important for Gettysburg College students for both academic and social purposes. It is simply the way our world works today. IT has provided students with individual mailboxes of 150 mb in size for their e-mail. While that seems quite large and requires a great deal of space on the on-campus servers, many students are finding that they are running out of space in their mailbox. The current system is simply not adequate for today’s usage of the service. Full Story

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