Graduate attributes in the undergrad physics curriculum

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					Graduate attributes in the undergrad
        physics curriculum


                 David Mills
        with thanks to Susan Feteris
              and Mario Zadnik
What they’ll need
-




     Skills used in
   workplace by US
    Physics majors

Adapted from an
American Institute of Physics
   Work-place study (1997)
Physics know ledge, concepts

              Problem solving                   What we do:
       Written communication
                                                Australian physics dep’ts
                                                priorities (AUTC Report
          Computational skills                  2005 Fig 4.4)
                   Teamw ork

        Informational retrieval                                student time spent

          Oral communication                                   assessment w eighting

      Research methodology

              Project planning

     Ethical and social issues

                                  0   10   20        30        40           50         60
                                                  Percentage
 “What we got…”- our u/g physics students view
        Laboratory skills

         Problem solving

    Experimental design                                                    60%
  Written communication
                                                           40%
              Teamw ork

    Information retrieval
                                                                                a lot
     Computational skills                                                       some
                                                                                a little
 Research methodology                                                           not at all

        Project planning

     Oral communication
                                          20%
Ethical and social issues

                            0   10   20    30       40      50        60   70           80   90
                                                Number of responses
The Graduate Careers Australia take –

Physics … “On a Personal Level:
A physics education emphasises problem-solving and abstract thinking
   …very desirable employees in a wide variety of areas... work in high tech
   companies, … training in practical subjects such as optics, lasers …image
   processing,
Personal qualities ...(required) include
   curiosity, imagination, inventiveness and, above all, honesty in dealing
   with data, theory and colleagues.

An ability to communicate one's ideas in spoken and written form is
   essential … The enjoyment of problem-solving & working with maths &
   computers …..
     Typical science graduate outcomes …
A quick list of key generic skills
• I T / computer literacy
• Numeracy/ Data analysis
• Problem solving
• Critical thinking
• Communic’n & presentation
• Team work
3rd year                                         4th year
             Students’ fortune lines for prac

    Data Analysis
                                           Group work

                    Data from Susan
                    Feteris, Monash Uni.




      Flexibility                          Independent planning
     Typical Science Graduate Outcomes
We would want to add:      Quick list of key generic skills
• Ethics                   • IT
• Cultural awareness       • Numeracy/ Data analysis
• Internat’l perspective
                           • Problem solving
• Experimental design
                           • Critical thinking
• Planning, Flexibility
                           • Communic’n & presentation
• Multidisciplinary
                           • Team work
• Self-evaluation
• Life-long learning
• Time management
• … more
                          Who says?
Grass roots up or top-down approach? E.g.
Engineer’g Australia requirements for BEng course/grads
 Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering
 In-depth technical competence in one engineering discipline.
 Ability to communicate effectively (peers & community)
 Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, solution.
 Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operation
 … effective as an individual and in multi-disciplinary & multi-
  cultural teams … as leader/manager as well as team member.
 Understand social, cultural, global environmental responsibilities
 Understand principles of sustainable design/development.
 Commitment to professional and ethical responsibilities.
 Expectation and capacity to undertake lifelong learning.
Velcro             Things stick when:
            * Tasks are close to real life/work


            * Hooks & eyes are designed into task
   skill e.g                                       Self-
                  Communic’n      Teamwork
task e.g.                                        evaluation

   Poster

  Interview

 Miniproject
     Getting it right & Showcase examples

• Style of assessment needed
  – differ from usual assignment/test/report
  – Staff / demonstrators need explicit training
• Good models can often be drawn from other
  disciplines
  – E.g. Uniserve Science conference proceedings.
• Several showcase examples follow
  – more in the Projects and Assessment workshops
  – & resource booklet to be provided by end of 2005
        1. Experimental Design & Inquiry Skills

Outcomes R Millar (ICPE 1997-8)
•   ...become more expert in selecting productive questions
•   design suitable experiments; data reliable, accurate, valid?
•   analyze / interpret data, draw conclusion
•   evaluate quality of support for their conclusion
In our programmes
• Are these outcomes achieved?
• How are they assessed?
• How do students get feedback (to improve)?

Examples: projects, miniprojects, micro-projects, ….
2. Student Conferences
    used at ANU & UWA, and at Curtin in past

Various versions possible. As the central activity of a
  semester-long subject at Curtin this included:
• Whole class prepares & stages a scientific
  conference, e.g. for a high school audience
• Realism – Task & Roles
• Peer review, Publication, Finances
• Planning, time management, accountability
   3. Teamwork in Project component, 3rd Yr
       Observational Astronomy, Monash
                (Susan Feteris)
Project = 35% of assessment of this unit,
Hence care needed for fair marks. Key elements are:
• Team selection- students can’t choose their friends
• Peer- & self-assessment of their contribution
• Monitoring: 3 progress reports sent in by email on
   • How many times they’d met
   • which phase were they at (forming, storming, norming,
     performing…)
   • any difficulties being faced
 4. life long earning project in Faculty of Science,
            Univ of Sydney (Chris Stewart)

A faculty initiative
• Helping students see the relevance of the broader
   generic skills … e.g. when compiling a CV
• Giving a practical tool to build awareness. On line, a
   student can construct a portfolio and see the
   contribution made by each subject undertaken.
• www.lifelongearning.science.usyd.edu.au Chris is the
   project officer.
                  Making sure it sticks

• Whose responsibility? Wait for top-down directives or
  be proactive from grass-roots up?
• Reality check – new modes of activity/assessment
  need planning & students need time to take it in
• Resources – only works well when adequately
  planned and staffed (including training for sessionals)
• Sharing ideas & resources
   – Key references adjacent, on the AUTC project website
   – Including samples mapping Physics physics discipline &
     subject outcomes against faculty/university graduate
     learning outcomes.

				
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