Bozeman, MT
Jun 16-Jun 20, 2014
Credit: 2 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $627.00
Instructor(s): Gregory Francis

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Course Description

The goal of this five-day course is to prepare participants to teach an integrated mechanics course built around Tutorials in Introductory Physics (McDermott, et al.). This research-based curriculum was designed to be used in recitations to augment traditional lecture courses operating essentially independent of the lecture. As a test site for this curriculum, Francis has taken the next step by totally redesigning his courses so that the lectures in fact serve to supplement the tutorials. The course will model both the student-centered tutorial instruction and the supporting active-engagement lectures for a selection of topics from the first semester of the two-semester sequence. A special emphasis will be placed upon training of peer-instructors for the effective use of the Tutorials. Participants will receive 70 PowerPoint lectures, each with its own description and learning outcomes, designed to engage the students in active learning and provide the necessary links to the Tutorial experience. A complete description of supporting demonstrations will also be provided. Finally, participants will receive a large bank of research-based homework and exam questions designed specifically to elicit the common misconceptions addressed in the Tutorials.

Meeting Place and Times

MTWRF 9:00 am – 12:00 noon & 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: AJM Johnson Hall, Room 121


Gregory Francis, PhD. Dr. Francis is the director of the Conceptual Astronomy and Physics Education Research (CAPER) Team in the Department of Physics at Montana State University, where he teaches algebra-based physics in classes of up to 210 students per section. Over the last several years, he has developed a relatively low-budget, high-impact program of physics instruction that is producing gains on the Force Concept Inventory (a widely used test of conceptual understanding in basic mechanics) that are as good or better than lab-based programs that, by their design, require resources that are simply not available to many physics instructors. In addition, a study demonstrating a high long-term retention rate (“Do They Stay Fixed?” The Physics Teacher, 36(8), p. 488 (1998).) suggests that the program is doing much more than training them to give the right answers—it is changing their world view.


Graduate standing.

Target Audience

Teachers enrolled in Montana State University's Master of Science in Science Education program; teachers desiring graduate credit in physics for professional development purposes.

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $87.00
 Computer Fee$7.00
 Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Optional Books/Materials:

  • Author: McDermott and Shaffer
    Tutorials in Physics and Homework
    Publisher: Pearson
    ISBN: 9780130970695

Textbooks are available from Montana State University Bookstore at 1-888-247-2546. Ask to speak with the Textbook Department. It will expedite your order if you tell the sales representative:

  • the course number (PHYS 591)
  • the title of the text
  • that the course is offered through Extended University.

For More Information

contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

How to Register

Register Online