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School of Physics and Astronomy

2.4 Aims and Learning Outcomes of Lectures, Tutorials, Laboratory Work and Workshops (16/17)

All the degree programmes have three main teaching and learning elements: lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. These are supplemented by self-motivated study, essay writing, computer-aided learning, project work, workshops and example classes.

The aims and objectives of lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory overlap, support and complement each other and contribute to achieving the aims and objectives of the degree programmes.

Lectures

The aims of lectures are:

· To develop understanding of a coherent body of knowledge of physics and mathematics.

· To develop the capability for logical analysis of complex phenomena.

· To develop the capability for independent learning from books and other sources of knowledge.

The following objectives are specific student learning experiences and achievements which go towards meeting the aims listed above:

  1. To identify key physical concepts and to appreciate how they account for phenomena
  2. To follow the essential steps in mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena
  3. To evaluate, record and summarise material presented in lectures for use as a basis for further study
  4. To seek understanding of material presented in lectures by:
    1. Asking questions of oneself, lecturers, tutors and other students
    2. Consulting books and other sources
    3. Solving qualitative and quantitative problems
    4. Doing laboratory experiments

Tutorials

The aims of tutorials are:

· To promote effective learning by providing feedback and guidance

· To enhance understanding of physics and mathematics

· To develop problem solving skills

· To develop skills in communication

The following objectives are specific student learning experiences and achievements which go towards meeting the aims listed above:

  1. To consolidate understanding of material presented in lectures by:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Explaining concepts to tutors and to other students
  3. Solving problems and having them marked by tutors
  4. Obtaining feedback on their current level of understanding

  1. To extend and deepen knowledge of physics by:

  1. Combining ideas and knowledge from different parts of the course
  2. Solving general problems in physics
  3. Discussing topics in advanced physics

  1. To improve communication skills by:

  1. Discussion
  2. Asking and answering questions
  3. Writing essays
  4. Giving talks

Workshops

The aims of workshops are:

· To promote effective independent learning

· To provide an environment where students can work on problems and guidance can be sought if needed

· To develop the ability to express physics problems in mathematical language

· To develop problem solving skills

· To develop the ability to work in a group

The following objectives are specific student learning experiences and achievements which go towards meeting the aims listed above:

1. To analyse and apply material from lectures by:

(a) solving problems individually

(b) solving problems in groups

2. To meet new material which is best learned by solving problems

3. To consolidate understanding of material presented in lectures and workshops by:

(a) asking questions (of other students and demonstrators)

(b) explaining methods of solution to other students

(c) obtaining feedback on their understanding in discussion with demonstrators (and other students)

Learning outcomes for Laboratory

It is expected that successful students will be able to:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Safety Awareness

Use apparatus safely.

Identify hazards associated with an experiment to minimise risks.

Identify hazards associated with apparatus developed by the student him/herself, and undertake a risk assessment.

Undertake a risk assessment.

Investigative/Problem

Solving Skills

(i) Conduct and Initiative

(planning, preparation, initiative)

Follow guidance on how to conduct experiments as explained in laboratory scripts and by laboratory demonstrators.

Demonstrate ability to think more widely than a given laboratory script, e.g., design an extension to an experiment in consultation with a demonstrator.

Develop and extend prescribed experimental procedures.

Develop and plan project in discussion with supervisor using original source material as a guide.

(ii) Technical Expertise

Use competently and safely a range of laboratory equipment.

Demonstrate technical competence in adjustment, calibration and use of experimental apparatus.

Be able to handle sophisticated apparatus with confidence.

Design and implement the steps necessary to undertake a project, i.e. acquisition and implementation of equipment, selection of appropriate theoretical tools and techniques, use of research level software and programming skills.

(iii) Recording and managing

data

Keep detailed records of investigations in a laboratory notebook.

Keep full and careful records of all measurements and analysis in a laboratory notebook.

Keep professional quality records of laboratory work. Use computer aided data acquisition systems as appropriate.

Keep professional quality records of laboratory work. Use computer aided data acquisition systems and analysis methods as appropriate.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Analytical skills

(i) Techniques

ii) Evaluation of errors

Analyse the results of an experiment, describing the results numerically and graphically.

Identify the major sources of errors and estimate the effects on the overall results of an experiment.

Critically evaluate the results of an experiment.

Describe the sources of random and systematic error calculating their effects on the results.

Critically evaluate the results of an experiment, assess the significance of the experimental results compared to expected outcomes and draw valid conclusions.

Describe the sources of random and systematic error, calculate their effects on the results and evaluate ways of reducing the dominant error.

Critically evaluate the results and analysis of an experiment, choose experimental techniques which improve the outcome.

Fully understand all sources of random and systematic error, minimise their effect and calculate the final errors on all results.

Physics knowledge

Link the experimental findings to underlying physics acquired in lecture courses and elsewhere.

Make connections between fundamental principles and laws from across courses to explain experimental findings.

Link the experimental findings to underlying physics in lecture courses, textbooks and scientific journals.

Describe experimental findings with reference to research papers and a thorough exposition of the fundamental laws and principles underlying the experiment.

Communication skills

(i) Oral presentation

(ii) Written presentation

Describe experiments clearly and concisely in a short, informal interview.

Describe experiments clearly and concisely in a formal written report using a 'template' that defines the Department's preferred style.

Describe experiments clearly and concisely in informal verbal presentations, defending procedures and analysis.

Describe experiments clearly and concisely in a formal written report using a 'template' that defines the Department's preferred style.

Describe an experiment in a formal presentation using visual aids, defending procedures, results and interpretation.

Describe experiments in the style of a scientific paper and/ or in the form of a conference report.

Discuss a project in the light of research developments as part of a question and answer session following a presentation in a formal interview.

Write a report to the standards of a scientific paper suitable for peer review including significant reference to primary sources.