2009 Advanced Laboratories Conference Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Research Group Model for Advanced Lab
Abstract: I present our model for the course structure for our two-semester Advanced Lab.  As a small liberal-arts college, we have small class sizes that enable us to approach the advanced lab in much the same way that graduate research groups are often managed.  Students work side-by-side with faculty mentors on the research experiments, providing an apprenticeship-like experience.  Experimental techniques are taught in a one-on-one setting, modeling much more closely the kind of interaction found in graduate research groups.  We hold a weekly "group meeting" where each research team regularly presents a status report and/or data from their experiment.  The entire class then participates in a general discussion about the experiments, modeling a collaborative research environment.  Group meetings are also used for oral presentations at the end of each experiment cycle, instruction on general experimental techniques, and regular evaluation of student performance in the course.  Finally, we invite students to design and execute their own experiments during the course of the year.  These experiments are either modifications of existing experiments in order to make new measurements, or totally new experiments based on student interests.  This provides a constant in-flux of new experiments and equipment in the lab as well as allowing students to focus on a specific field of interest.
Abstract Type: Poster
Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster
Session: Session II - Syllabi Poster Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Martin Madsen
Wabash College