Physics at Virginia

UVA Physics Idol!

Wednesday, December 15 2021

Chris Neu's course assessment innovation has recently been recognized by a very nice article in UVAToday (https://news.virginia.edu/content/physics-idol-offers-students-alternative-method-assessment-popular-course).

Prof. Neu used social media to advertise this component of his course design (using “gamification to optimize positive learning outcomes”). Here's the social media post:

Do you have the talent and knowledge to be UVA’s next top physicist? If so, then you should audition for UVA Physics Idol!

Chris Neu, Professor of Physics and teacher of the popular PHYS 1050 course How Things Work, has designed this innovative assessment for students.

Physics Idol! is an oral exam where students come prepared to speak on a list of topics related to the content of the How Things Work course. Responses have a time limit and are judged on accuracy and completeness. “What better way for students to demonstrate mastery of How Things Work than to stand in front of a panel of judges and tell us, in their own words, how things work,” said Neu. 

Neu and the Learning Assistants for the class serve as judges. This year’s Learning Assistants for PHYS 1050 are undergraduate 4th-year physics major Rose Gigliotti, 2nd-year PhD student Jessica Pascadlo and visiting scholar Dr. Lihong Yao. The Learning Assistants’ work is essential to the success of this program, which covers evening appointments with 120 students over three weeks in November.

Physics Idol! is part of Neu’s course design that uses gamification to optimize positive learning outcomes. “Demonstration of learning doesn’t have to be dry. We can do more than homework and exam problems to show we understand the concepts from class.”

And who knows, through Physics Idol! we might find our next physics superstar!

Tags: Chris Neu