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First year physics practicals in distance education in South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Basson, Ilsa
dc.contributor.advisor Kirschener,P. A.
dc.contributor.advisor Rutherforth, M. Cilliers, Johanna Albertha 2010-05-17T09:09:30Z 2010-05-17T09:09:30Z 1999-11
dc.identifier.citation Cilliers, Johanna Albertha (1999) First year physics practicals in distance education in South Africa, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract Although the merits of practical work in physics are often questioned, it remains part of physics curricula world-wide. In distance education the incorporation of practical work into the curriculum is considerably complicated by the unique logistics of the setting and the high cost involved. The research reported in this thesis emanated from the need to improve the practical work module for first year physics at the University of South Africa, one of the largest distance education universities in the world. Specifically, the home-based component which, up to the commencement of the research had been entirely text-based, needed to be addressed. To this end it was necessary to identify a valid and attainable set of objectives and to determine the characteristics, abilities and needs of the students in the target group. A survey polling the viewpoints of South African physics lecturers and students about the objectives of practical work was conducted and an extensive student profile comprising a biographic, cognitive and affective component was compiled. Biographically, the target group is unique in the sense that it consists mainly of adult learners, a large percentage of whom study in a second language. The cognitive component of the profile covered aptitude, proficiency in English, mathematics and the integrated science process skills and level of cognitive development, all of which were investigated for possible influence on performance in practical work. On an affective level, students displayed a very positive attitude towards practical work, seated mainly in their need for concrete exploration of the theory. A practical work module structured around an experiential learning cycle adapted to the distance education environment was subsequently designed. The study material developed for the module comprised an interactive study guide on data processing and experimental procedure, a home experiment kit with accompanying workbook and a laboratory manual. From the pilot study forming part of the development process, it was found that students performed significantly better in an assignment based on home-experimentation than in any of the pen- and paper assignments preceding it. Based on the results of the pilot study, a full home experiment kit was designed, evaluated, refined and implemented. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xix, 408 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Practical work en
dc.subject Distance learning en
dc.subject Student profile en
dc.subject Distance education students en
dc.subject Biographic information en
dc.subject Language proficiency en
dc.subject Learning cycle en
dc.subject Mathematics proficiency en
dc.subject.ddc 530.071168
dc.subject.lcsh Physics -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Distance education -- South Africa
dc.subject.lcsh Physics -- Experiments -- Study and teaching (Higher)-- South Africa
dc.title First year physics practicals in distance education in South Africa en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Physics D.Phil. (Physics)

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