Throughput and inclusivity in physics

Claudia Grindlay and Shilpa Ranchod will present a the Physics Colloquium with a talk entitled, "Throughput and inclusivity in physics". 

In order to inform ongoing transformation conversations in the department, Claudia Grindlay and Shilpa Ranchod have been invited to present their third year projects in more detail, since these projects generated considerable interest in short presentations last year. The background to these presentations is that over the period 2013-2016, two changes in curriculum structure were introduced in an attempt to improve throughput in physics, based on data analysis and pedagogical considerations. The first was the change of the senior courses from semester to whole year courses. The second is that PHY1004W students who elect to ‘decant’ to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP) physics course (after the first test) re-enter PHY1004W in their second year at university, instead of spending another year in a separate EDP course. By viewing individual students’ progression through physics by means of Claudia’s visual representation, the impact of these two changes can be appraised. In addition, demographic differences in students’ progression become apparent in the visual representation. These differences merit interrogation. Shilpa’s project investigated demographics differences in PHY1004W students’ perceptions and preferences with regard to the following factors affecting student success: treatment by lecturers and peers, self-efficacy, role models, questions and whiteboard tutorials. The results suggest that the physics department is not as comfortable an environment for female students, students of colour, and those from a disadvantaged background, as it is for others. The Physics Department’s Strategic Plan for Transformation, Inclusivity and Curriculum positions diversity as a “benefit which should be harnessed for the advancement of all staff and students in Physics”. This colloquium is intended to contribute helpful data towards this goal.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 12:00

RDuncan Elliott Seminar Room, RW James Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus, UCT