Minds on Physics Internet Modules
What are the Minds on Physics Internet Modules?
The Minds On Physics Internet Modules (affectionately known as Minds on Physics or MOP) consists of more than 1300 carefully-crafted questions designed to improve student conceptions of common physics topics. Minds On Physics is 135 challenging assignments, each of which address one or two student learning outcomes. Minds On Physics is a collection of 15 modules that are designed to provide students with a learning opportunity, an exercise in thinking, and a chance to reflect and review.
Minds On Physics is hard to describe because Minds On Physics is like nothing else. At first glance, it appears to be an exercise in answering questions. But it is indeed much more than that. Students will certainly answer questions and they will definitely get an exercise. The exercise is an exercise in thinking, an exercise in pondering the meaning of a concept, an exercise in probing the relationship between ideas, and an exercise in making sense of the language that is used to express a physics principle. Students will get a mental workout as they think about how they conceive of a topic. Common misconceptions are often targeted. Superficial thinking is quickly challenged. And a deeper understanding of a concept is most often the end result of this exercise in Minds On Physics.
"Minds on Physics is about cultivating an active mind in order to engage in active learning."
= Quote from Author
How Do the Minds on Physics Internet Modules Work?
The Minds On Physics Internet Modules were designed to be a learning and assessment tool. Each module is broken down into a collection of short assignments. The assignments focus on one or two specific objectives or learning outcomes. When working on an assignment, a collection of questions is presented to a student in consecutive fashion and in a random order. Student's answers are immediately evaluated and feedback regarding their correctness is given. Students continue to answer questions in an effort to progress through the assignment. Behind the scenes, the program is constantly analyzing student answers, looking for patterns of missing. When a pattern is observed, students are alerted of the pattern and provided links to online help that is specific to the questions that are being missed. When a student completes the assignment, a success code is rewarded; the success code allows a student to earn credit for the assignment if MOP is assigned by a teacher.
That's the one-paragraph explanation of how it works. But the best explanation of how it works occurs when you give it a try. Please do.
"My students read the material at The Physics Classroom. We discussed the topics in depth. My students thought they understood it well. And then they did the MOPs. They quickly learned that they didn't understand the material until they made an active effort to do something with the material."
= Quote from Teacher
Who can use the MOP Internet Modules?
Anyone and everyone can use the Minds On Physics Internet Modules. Logging on is an easy process and registration information is not needed. Simply enter a Teacher Code (4-6 letters) and a Student ID number (4-6 numerical characters) and you will be ready to start MOP-ping away. Don't have a Teacher Code or a Student ID number? No problem! Simply use GUEST as the Teacher Code and 1234 as the Student ID Number.
"Minds On Physics forces me to think about what a physics concepts means. The assignments are difficult. But when I finish an assignment, I know that I understand ... really understand."
= Quote from Student
I am a teacher. Can I assign MOP as homework?
The Minds On Physics Internet Modules do NOT use a database to store information about the student and the student's experience. Instead, MOP acquires a Student ID number and a Teacher Code each time that the student begins a session of MOP-ping. If the student completes an assignment, MOP uses this information to create a success code. The success code is a collection of 8 characters that is unique to the student and the assignment that the student has completed. Minds On Physics encrypts this information into the success code so that it is unique for every student and highly improbable that a student could make it up. Using encrypted success codes allows teachers to assign MOP as homework and to check that students have completed the assignment. Teachers can collect students' success codes and check them online to validate that they have indeed completed the assignment.
In order to check students' success codes to validate that they have completed the assignment, teachers must acquire a Minds On Physics teacher account. Registration includes a small, annual service fee. The outcome of the registration is that teachers acquire an account that allows them to easily decrypt student success codes. With this newest version of MOP, checking success codes is an easy process that takes approximately 15 minutes for a unit's worth of work for a typical class. As an added bonus, registered teachers have the ability to preview all questions within an assignment with the option of customizing the assignment. Without registration, your students can still use Minds On Physics but there will be no means of validating their success codes and holding them accountable for the completion of the work. (NOTE: Registration for teacher accounts for the 2012-1013 school year has begun. Join now.)
"MOP is very different than other homework that I do. With most homework, I just do it to get it done. But with MOP, I have to concentrate and think in order to get it done. MOP forces me to learn."
= Quote from Student
I heard that Minds on Physics was revised. What's new in version 4?
Version 4, the latest revision of the Minds On Physics Internet Modules, was introduced in the Fall of 2011. The newest version includes many new features that will make MOP-ping better than ever. The program was coded using the latest version of Adobe Director, leading to fewer bugs and making it more compatible with modern browsers. Besides the obvious increased font size in both the graphics and the text, the new version sports many student friendly features such as …
There are now two levels of success - gold medal and silver medal.
Patterns of missing are detected and reported to the student and question-specific help for those troubling questions is provided in a pop-up window.
There are two student usage modes: For Credit and For Practice modes. The For Credit mode is the recommended usage mode as it provides students with more regular and detailed feedback and a more challenging mental workout. But the For Practice usage mode allows students an opportunity to answer each question on an assignment without having to restart due to a high frequency of missing.
Success codes are stored as cookies on the user's personal computer. Students can easily fish for that lost code that was stored on a missing piece of scratch paper.
There is a Teacher Preview option for teachers who are registered. Teachers can quickly navigate through all the questions within the bank of questions for any given assignment.
Registered teachers have the ability to customize an assignment by deleting up to two questions on any given assignment. Students use a unique Start Code with information regarding the deleted questions.
Checking of success codes by registered teachers is significantly easier than the previous versions; it truly makes grading MOP a considerably easier task than grading homework.
There is no more Scoreboard and no more Must Do It! questions. A progress bar and a health bar are used as reporting tools of student progress on an assignment. The new progress-tracking tools will allow students to stay on an assignment longer before starting over due to a high frequency of misses.
Students log in by an ID number and a teacher code (student names are no longer required). This reduces the number of errant success codes resulting from incorrect log in information.
The system is more user-friendly than ever. Visual screencasts are available to guide students and teachers through the details associated with using the program.
Adobe Shockwave Player
Having difficulties getting Minds On Physics to work from home? MOP uses the Shockwave Player plug-in to deliver questions to your browser window. Perhaps you need to install the Shockwave Player. Visit the Adobe website and download the player. It is free ... and fast ... and easy. In a couple of minutes, you'll be MOP-ping
A Message for Students
Students: don't get frustrated. Don't get discouraged. Learning physics - really learning it - can be a difficult task. But it's not a task you have to do alone. The Minds On Physics Internet Modules offers an exhaustive collection of help. Every question is accompanied by a discussion of helpful information, formulas and concepts which are pertinent to the question. Simply click the textbook icon and receive the help you need.