Phys 500: Introduction to Physics Teaching

Meets Mon. 9:00–10:20 AM in MHA 2623 Fall quarter, 2017

The Goal

This seminar is mandatory for UCSD Physics graduate students who have teaching responsibilities. Beyond the burning-priority topics covered in the TA training before Fall quarter, this course explores various aspects of effective teaching at a more leisurely pace (with food!). We will cover not only philosophy and techniques, but also sharpen our knowledge of tools (like TED, LaTeX, Excel) useful for TAs. Guest speakers and panels will flesh out topics in being an effective Lab TA, problem solving strategies, etc. Toward the end of the quarter, students will each present a selected problem as if to students of a Physics 2 class for constructive feedback from other students (and self).



The assignment load is light, but still constitutes a basis for establishing a course grade. Consult the table below for tasks and deadlines.

Due DateAssignmentForm of Submission
Oct. 9Paragraph or two on most impressionable take-away(s) from
Lecture 1: Take time to reflect and submit a considered response
Hand in paper
Oct. 23Paragraph or two summarizing key/impressionable points from
LTAC discussion panel & lab TA considerations
Hand in paper
Nov. 6Paragraph or two summarizing key/impressionable points from
the problem-solving strategies session on Oct. 23
Hand in paper
TBDProblem solving in class settingLive performance
Dec. 15LaTeX solution to problem used in performancee-mail PDF and TeX source to tmurphy
Dec. 15Write-up reflecting on your problem demonstration/performance,
based on review of video
e-mail or hand to me


Lecture 1: Introduction and Pitfalls (PPT | PDF)