Prof. Dr. Gary Gladding

Prof. Dr. Gary E. Gladding

Department: Physics
Visiting time at TU Darmstadt: Mai 2013 – Juli 2013
Teaching and research area:

Teaching: Physics Education

Teaching awards:

• APS Excellence in Education Award 2013

• AAPT Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching, 2005

• Collins Award for Innovative Teaching 2004

• BP Amoco Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Instruction 2001

• UIUC College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award 2000

• Rose Award for Teaching Excellence 1998

Research: Video Coding Software Development, Mathematical Communication in Physics, The Role of Metacognition in Physics Instruction,

Last academic station: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, U.S.A
Most important academic stations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, U.S.A
Teaching offer in the summer semester 2013: Physik II (Co-teaching with Prof. Dr. Thomas Walther), “Reforming Introductory Physics Courses: The Illinois Experience”(Kolloquium)

1.Why should students of TU Darmstadt attend your lectures and/or seminars?

My lectures are non-traditional; they are an attempt to engage the students in understanding the material using the method of peer instruction. That is, traditional lecturing forms only a small part of the lecture time. Most of the lecture time is spent posing questions to the students, and then giving them some time to discuss the questions amongst themselves before responding using a clicker system. This approach allows the students to engage with the material and improve their understanding more than they would in a traditional lecture in which they are passive receptors. This approach is made possible through the use of a “flipped classroom” model in which students are asked to view narrated animations (pre-lectures) that present the content to be discussed during the lecture time. These pre-lectures then prepare them for learning during the lecture experience.

2.Why did you choose TU Darmstadt for your KIVA Visiting Professorship?

The physics department invited me to come to share my experiences on recent developments in Physics Education Research.

3.At TU Darmstadt and especially in the context of KIVA interdisciplinarity has a high importance. Which are the connections between your area of teaching and research to other thematic fields and disciplines?

My current research field, Physics Education Research, is inherently interdisciplinary. In particular, we study student learning of physics with the goal of creating innovative materials which can effectively help the student to learn physics. As this is discipline-based education research, we must start from a good understanding of physics. To this we must add some understanding of how people learn. Here we try to learn from the fields of cognitive science and educational psychology.

4.What is your perfect balance to a stressful working day?

A cool beer in a nice Biergarten or a good jazz concert in Frankfurt.