Dr. Stephen Kanim, Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington (1999)
Office Hours Fall 2010
Dr. Kanim conducts systematic investigations into student understanding of specific physics topics and the effects of curricular modification on student learning. The primary thrust of Dr. Kanim's research is the relationship between students' conceptual understanding and solution of quantitative physics problems. In order to improve students' qualitative understanding and to promote more effective approaches to physics problem solution, Dr. Kanim seeks to characterize specific conceptual difficulties and to develop curricula that first addresses these difficulties and that subsequently requires application of developed concepts to physics problems. Through in- depth interviews with students and analysis of student responses to examination and homework questions, specific conceptual and reasoning difficulties are identified and the prevalence of these difficulties is established. This assessment of student's knowledge forms a basis for refinements to curriculum, and the effectiveness of these refinements are evaluated on the basis of student performance after instruction. Research-based curriculum has been developed and tested in a variety of student populations from introductory physics to graduate courses.