Tuesday, March 2 • 3:10pm - 3:25pm
Talk Session 4: An interplay of problem-solving modes and authority: Framework for equitable collaboration in undergraduate physics labs

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We studied student behavior in collaborative physics problem-solving laboratory environments. Using the adaptation-innovation theory and concept of authority from the influence framework, we interpret students’ approaches through two problem-solving modes (adaptor and innovator) and observe bids for intellectual and directive authority. We observe behaviors that utilize structure and work within a defined system (adaptor) and behaviors that work outside the system, often engaging directly with equipment (innovator). We find adaptors exhibit high authority by asserting their experimental understanding, whereas innovators are attributed with high authority through their frequent direct handling of the equipment. Students, therefore, can have full access to and full participation in problem-solving collaboration when they (a) access the experimental or conversational floor adaptively or innovatively while being (b) acknowledged in their authority by their group. These results and the theoretical framework should be generalizable to student group lab interactions in STEM disciplines beyond physics.

avatar for Sophia Jeon

Sophia Jeon

Cornell University
I'm an undergraduate student and a physics education researcher at Cornell University. My research interests are studying the social dynamics and equity of group work in undergraduate STEM classes. I observe videos of students in physics labs to characterize equity and analyze surveys... Read More →

Tuesday March 2, 2021 3:10pm - 3:25pm CST