Two-Year College Physics Workshops for the Twenty-First Century

A Project of Joliet Junior College (IL), Lee College (TX), and the National Science Foundation

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to help two-year college students develop a stronger understanding of science, with an emphasis on physics and its applications in industry. This goal is important because of the large number of students, particularly women and minorities, who are enrolled in technology or transfer programs at two-year colleges.

The vital task of updating and improving physics programs at two-year colleges is difficult due to the rapidly occurring changes in technology, the distribution of physics teachers, the heavy and complex workload of the faculty, and their lack of knowledge about the needs and applications of physics in the workplace.

This program addresses these issues by providing a series of faculty development workshops for two-year college teachers who teach core physics courses for technology programs and other programs. These workshops are designed to acquaint the participants with the integration and implementation of emerging technology and active learning strategies.These workshops provide extensive and intensive hands-on, collaborative experiences for participants with workshop materials that make it easy for participants to implement the workshop ideas, adopt or adapt them, and acquire necessary skills to use them effectively in their classroom.

Workshop Objectives

The objectives of these workshops are to provide TYC teachers, who serve students involved in advanced technology programs, with:

• a knowledge of, and solid experience with, recent major advances in the applications of microcomputers and curriculum developments in physics;

• a means to identify the appropriateness and role of these workshop ideas in meeting the needs of TYCs, and to see models of how it has been done at other TYCs;

• an opportunity to develop, adapt, share, and incorporate suitable materials into TYC physics courses and programs; and

• a chance to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the needs of students, educational programs, and workforce needs in areas dealing with advanced technology.

Workshop Fees

There are no fees or costs directly associated with participation during these workshops, due to the support of the National Science Foundation, Joliet Junior College, and Lee College.

Workshop Schedule

These workshops will consist of over 35 hours of scheduled activities over three or four days, of which most time will be spent doing hands-on activities in two or three hour work sessions. Workshop sessions start at 8:30 AM and will end each day around 9:30 PM, except for Saturday when the last session is scheduled to end around 4:00 PM. Participants are expected to attend all sessions.

Meals and Lodging

Participants will be provided a room (shared with another participant) for Tuesday through Saturday evenings at a nearby motel. Meals will be provided Wednesday morning through Saturday evening. If requested, individual rooms will be available at extra cost.

Workshop Materials

Participants will be given materials needed for each workshop. This includes background materials prior to the workshops, as well as a substantial amount of materials for use during and after the workshops. At the upcoming workshop, participants will receive the book, Physlets: Teaching Physics with Interactive Curricular Material (Prentice Hall, 2001) by Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni, from Davidson College.

As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be supported by a web-based networking system following the workshop. In addition, an annual newsletter will describe the progress of these and other approaches, as well as providing a vehicle for participants to share their work and experiences.


Travel costs to and from the workshop site are expected to be provided by the participants’ college. Joliet Junior College will attempt to provide transportation to and from O’Hare airport. Transportation is scheduled from O'Hare on Tuesday (July 31) from 6-9 pm for participants attending the HTML Pre-workshop, and on Wednesday (August 1) from 6-9 pm for participants attending only the Physlets workshop. Transportation back to O'Hare will be provided on Saturday (August 4) immediately after the workshop, and on Sunday morning (August 5) for flights departing after 7:30 am. Transportation will be provided between the motel and college each day.


There are no stipends for attending the workshops. However, workshop participants may receive support of up to $150 for related efforts and contributions completed and submitted to the project office following the workshop.

Eligibility and Selection of Participants

All instructors currently teaching full-time at a recognized two-year college in the United States are eligible for this program, if part of their teaching load involves physics. Participants will be selected from the pool of qualified applicants based on the following criteria:

• those who teach physics or physics-related courses serving advanced technology programs;

• those who teach significant numbers of women, minorities, and the physically disabled; and

• those who appear to be most likely to benefit directly from the workshop(s) in terms of using workshop materials based upon interest and/or institutional support.

This program is open to all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or educationally unrelated disabilities.

Application Selection Dates

Selection of participants will be announced at least 30 days prior to the start of the workshop (July 1). However, early submission is highly recommended since workshop participant selections probably will be made early for well-qualified applicants.

Supported in part by a grant from the Division of Undergraduate Education through the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program of the National Science Foundation (DUE #9950062)