Development and Evaluation of Interactive, Research-oriented Teaching Elements for Raising the Students' Interest in Research and for Facilitating the Achievement of Educational Objectives within the Lecture "Atomistic Materials Modeling"
The lecture "Atomistic Materials Modeling" is a core qualification of the master program "materials science" at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Within the lecture, various modern methods for atomistic materials modeling are presented. Originally, the course was conceived as a traditional lecture. That didactic-methodical conception, however, does not seem to be ideal to support the students in reaching the educational objectives and to foster the students' interest in the covered topics. A new didactic concept based on interactive engagement is designed to allow for a more individual and research-oriented learning experience of the students. To this end, team-work units involving worksheets and computer exercises are established replacing traditional lectures. Additionally, the students get the possibility to sketch research proposals in small teams during their individual study time. The students are supposed to apply, discuss, and immerse themselves in selected topics of the lecture via those new elements. The effects of these innovations on the students' ability to reach the educational objectives and on their level of interest in related research activities are investigated in this work using several questionnaires, observations by the lectures, and the results of the final exams as data sources. The analysis shows that the students are highly in favor of the new, interactive elements. Those elements support the students in reaching important educational objectives of the lecture. Moreover, the interest in research is increased. The questionnaires and exams, however, indicate some room for improvement. For example, the assessment of the limitations of different methods is difficult for the students. Consequently, an updated version of the presented concept including the findings of this work is supposed to be implemented in the future.
Physics - Physics Education