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Andersson, Staffan
Publications (10 of 87) Show all publications
Johansson, A., Andersson, S., Salminen-Karlsson, M. & Elmgren, M. (2018). “Shut up and calculate”: the available discursive positions in quantum physics courses. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 13(1), 205-226
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Shut up and calculate”: the available discursive positions in quantum physics courses
2018 (English)In: Cultural Studies of Science Education, ISSN 1871-1502, E-ISSN 1871-1510, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 205-226Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Educating new generations of physicists is often seen as a matter of attracting good students, teaching them physics and making sure that they stay at the university. Sometimes, questions are also raised about what could be done to increase diversity in recruitment. Using a discursive perspective, in this study of three introductory quantum physics courses at two Swedish universities, we instead ask what it means to become a physicist, and whether certain ways of becoming a physicist and doing physics is privileged in this process. Asking the question of what discursive positions are made accessible to students, we use observations of lectures and problem solving sessions together with interviews with students to characterize the discourse in the courses. Many students seem to have high expectations for the quantum physics course and generally express that they appreciate the course more than other courses. Nevertheless, our analysis shows that the ways of being a “good quantum physics student” are limited by the dominating focus on calculating quantum physics in the courses. We argue that this could have negative consequences both for the education of future physicists and the discipline of physics itself, in that it may reproduce an instrumental “shut up and calculate”-culture of physics, as well as an elitist physics education. Additionally, many students who take the courses are not future physicists, and the limitation of discursive positions may also affect these students significantly.

Keywords
Physics, Higher education, Quantum physics, Discourse, Identity
National Category
Physical Sciences Educational Sciences Gender Studies
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267306 (URN)10.1007/s11422-016-9742-8 (DOI)000429417900012 ()
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2018-08-19Bibliographically approved
Haglund, J., Melander, E., Weiszflog, M. & Andersson, S. (2017). University physics students’ ideas of thermal radiation expressed in open laboratory activities using infrared cameras. Research in Science & Technological Education, 35(3), 349-367
Open this publication in new window or tab >>University physics students’ ideas of thermal radiation expressed in open laboratory activities using infrared cameras
2017 (English)In: Research in Science & Technological Education, ISSN 0263-5143, E-ISSN 1470-1138, Vol. 35, no 3, p. 349-367Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

University physics students were engaged in open-ended thermodynamics laboratory activities with a focus on understanding a chosen phenomenon or the principle of laboratory apparatus, such as thermal radiation or a heat pump. Students had access to handheld infrared (IR) cameras for their investigations.

Purpose

The purpose of the research was to explore students’ interactions with reformed thermodynamics laboratory activities. It was guided by the research question: How do university physics students make use of IR cameras in the investigation of the interaction of thermal radiation?

Sample

The study was conducted with a class of first-year university physics students in Sweden. The interaction with the activities of four of the students was selected for analysis. The four students are males.

Design and methods

We used a qualitative, interpretive approach to the study of students’ interaction.  The primary means of data collection was video recording of students’ work with the laboratory activities and their subsequent presentations. The analysis focused on how IR cameras helped students notice phenomena relating to thermal radiation, with comparison to previous research on students’ conceptions of thermal radiation.

Results

When using the IR camera students attended to the reflection of thermal radiation on shiny surfaces, such as polished metals, windows or a white-board, and emissive properties of surfaces of different types. In this way, they went beyond using the technology as a temperature probe. Students were able to discuss merits and shortcomings of IR cameras in comparison with digital thermometers.

Conclusions

With the help of IR cameras, university physics students attend to thermal phenomena that would otherwise easily go unnoticed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017
Keywords
Infrared cameras; Thermal radiation; Open laboratory exercises; Physics education
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-326285 (URN)10.1080/02635143.2017.1318362 (DOI)000404933100007 ()
Available from: 2017-07-05 Created: 2017-07-05 Last updated: 2017-11-20Bibliographically approved
Andersson, S. & Johansson, A. (2016). Gender gap or program gap?: Students’ negotiations of study practice in a course in electromagnetism. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(2), Article ID 020112.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender gap or program gap?: Students’ negotiations of study practice in a course in electromagnetism
2016 (English)In: Physical Review Physics Education Research, ISSN 2469-9896, Vol. 12, no 2, article id 020112Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study of achievement differences, as reflected by course grades, on a third-semester electromagnetism course at a Swedish research university was motivated by instructor concerns about gender inequalities. Quantitative analysis showed a gender gap in course grades between female and male students for the period of fall 2007 to spring 2013. Dynamics behind this gap were explored through interpretative discourse analysis on interviews of 21 students who had recently passed the course. A recurring pattern was identified in the interviews. Students described studying electromagnetism as either studying to pass or studying to learn. Their choice of practice was influenced by the significance recognized in the course, which primarily was discussed in relation to program affiliation. Students stressed that perceived differences, in their study context, were larger between students affiliated with different programs than between male and female students on the same program. This was supported by quantitative analysis of course grades in relation to study programs, where the grade difference between female and male students on the same program in most cases were not statistically significant. The gender gap in grades for the whole course was related to different achievements on different programs. Programs further from the discipline of physics had lower mean grades and also enrolled a larger fraction of female students. Society-wide gender differences in interest and study choice are reflected in the grades on this single course. These results displace the achievement gap from the level of individuals to that of programs, and the gender gap from a difference in achievement to a difference in study choice. We discuss the implications of this shift of perspective in relation to gender differences for both research and teaching.

National Category
Physical Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-267307 (URN)10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.12.020112 (DOI)000393396900010 ()
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-11-20 Last updated: 2018-08-19Bibliographically approved
Johansson, A. & Andersson, S. (2016). Gendered cultures in STEM education: Nuancing the picture. In: : . Paper presented at Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gendered cultures in STEM education: Nuancing the picture
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Discussions about gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education often focus on the lack of women. Researchers and teachers approach the issue by exploring obstacles facing women, as a minority, in the often masculinely coded cultures of STEM. However, a more nuanced picture of what happens in STEM programmes is of vital importance for increasing equality in STEM education.

Our mixed-methods study on engineering students’ approaches to learning electromagnetism was motivated by an apparent gender gap in grades perceived by teachers. We found that students related their experiences of and approaches to the course to their identification as certain types of engineering students, rather than gender. However, gender plays an important role on the level of recruitment to different engineering programmes, where the different programmes in our study recruited from 15-70% women.

Our findings illustrate how nuancing the picture of STEM participation involves taking different dimensions of gender into account; for instance, the association of certain concepts, like “nature” or “environment”, with femininity and how this might structure the gendered “market” of higher education STEM. Different programmes appeal to different, and partly gendered, student populations. However, as our study illustrates, these programmes are made up of courses that sometimes limit the possibilities for identification, not necessarily along gendered lines. This shows the importance of discussing gender issues in STEM in a nuanced way, analysing the specific discourses around STEM subjects and gender that students relate to.

Keywords
STEM education, identity, engineering education, student recruitment
National Category
Physical Sciences Gender Studies Educational Sciences Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296667 (URN)
Conference
Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016
Available from: 2016-06-19 Created: 2016-06-19 Last updated: 2016-06-19
Haglund, J., Andersson, S. & Elmgren, M. (2016). Language aspects of engineering students’ view of entropy. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 17(3), 489-508
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language aspects of engineering students’ view of entropy
2016 (English)In: Chemistry Education Research and Practice, ISSN 1756-1108, E-ISSN 1756-1108, Vol. 17, no 3, p. 489-508Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Entropy is a central concept in thermodynamics, but has been found to be challenging to students due to its abstract nature and the fact that it is not part of students’ everyday language. Interviews with three pairs of engineering students (N = 6) were conducted and video recorded regarding their interpretation and use of the entropy concept, one year after a course on chemical thermodynamics. From a syntax perspective, students were asked to assess whether sentences involving temperature, internal energy, and entropy make sense. With a focus on semantics, they were asked to rank a set of notions with regards to how closely they are related to entropy, how scientific they are, and how useful they are for explaining what entropy is. From a pragmatics point of view, students were asked to solve two qualitative problems, which involve entropy. The results show that these chemistry students regard internal energy, but not entropy, as a substance-like entity. The students’ ranking of how closely related to entropy notions are and how useful they are for explaining entropy was found to be strongly negatively correlated to how scientific the notions were seen to be. For example, disorder was seen as highly unscientific, but very useful for explaining entropy. In the problem-solving tasks, Chemical Engineering students were comfortable relating entropy to enthalpy and Gibbs free energy, the three notions being seen to form a “trinity” in thermodynamics. However, the students had challenges grasping the unchanged entropy in reversible, adiabatic expansion of an ideal gas, in which they did not consider how entropy relates to the second law of thermodynamics. In final reflections on their learning processes, the students saw weak connections between their problem-solving skills and their conceptual understanding of entropy, although acknowledging that both aspects of learning are important.

National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-282925 (URN)10.1039/c5rp00227c (DOI)000379492700005 ()
Available from: 2016-04-08 Created: 2016-04-08 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
Melander, E., Haglund, J., Weiszflog, M. & Andersson, S. (2016). More than meets the eye: Infrared cameras in open-ended university thermodynamics labs. Physics Teacher, 54(9), 528-531
Open this publication in new window or tab >>More than meets the eye: Infrared cameras in open-ended university thermodynamics labs
2016 (English)In: Physics Teacher, ISSN 0031-921X, E-ISSN 1943-4928, Vol. 54, no 9, p. 528-531Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Educational research has found that students have challenges understanding thermal science. Undergraduate physics students have difficulties differentiating basic thermal concepts, such as heat, temperature, and internal energy. Engineering students have been found to have difficulties grasping surface emissivity as a thermal material property. One potential source of students’ challenges with thermal science is the lack of opportunity to visualize energy transfer in intuitive ways with traditional measurement equipment. Thermodynamics laboratories have typically depended on point measures of temperature by use of thermometers (detecting heat conduction) or pyrometers (detecting heat radiation). In contrast, thermal imaging by means of an infrared (IR) camera provides a real-time, holistic image. Here we provide some background on IR cameras and their uses in education, and summarize five qualitative investigations that we have used in our courses.

Keywords
infrared cameras; thermodynamics; physics education research; laboratory
National Category
Didactics Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-306683 (URN)10.1119/1.4967889 (DOI)000388753500005 ()
Available from: 2016-11-02 Created: 2016-11-01 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved
Johansson, A., Hussenius, A., Andersson, S. & Danielsson, A. (2016). Reaching out across epistemological borders. In: : . Paper presented at Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reaching out across epistemological borders
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is a broad consensus that gender equality is a crucial issue in science education. However, science education researchers approaching issues of gender have often used the quantitative research methods that dominate the natural sciences. This means that introducing a qualitative, feminist tradition into science education research potentially presents several difficulties. Several “paradigm gaps” have to be bridged in order for fruitful dialogues to occur.

The organizers of this round table are all science education researchers who have experience of publishing in science education journals. Drawing on our experiences, we will initiate a discussion of the challenges of bringing interpretative research perspectives in dialogue with traditionally positivist research fields. We invite researchers facing similar challenges to join this roundtable to share experiences, problems, and strategies for doing feminist research, for example, discussing the hurdles of publishing in journals unaccustomed to feminist perspectives. Questions to be discussed during the roundtable include: How can we as feminist researchers make a difference in research fields where the research questions and methodologies we employ are often seen as “unscientific”? How do we communicate results from experience-based research about in/equality in contexts infused with taken-for-granted notions of objectivity and meritocracy?

Keywords
Science education, methodology, interdisciplinarity
National Category
Gender Studies Educational Sciences Physical Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296672 (URN)
Conference
Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016
Available from: 2016-06-19 Created: 2016-06-19 Last updated: 2016-06-19
Johansson, A., Andersson, S., Salminen-Karlsson, M. & Elmgren, M. (2016). Shut Up and Calculate: Becoming a Quantum Physicist. In: : . Paper presented at AAPT 2016 Summer Meeting, Sacramento, California. July 16 - 20.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shut Up and Calculate: Becoming a Quantum Physicist
2016 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Educating new generations of physicists is often seen as a matter of attracting good students, teaching them physics and making sure that they graduate. Sometimes, questions are also raised about what could be done to increase diversity in recruitment. Our qualitative study of introductory quantum physics courses in Sweden, instead asks what it means to become a physicist, and whether certain ways of becoming a physicist and doing physics is privileged in this process. The results show that, although students have high and diverse expectations of the courses, a pronounced focus on techniques of calculation seem to place students in a position where the only right way of doing quantum physics is “shutting up and calculating.” This raises questions of how best to accommodate varying student motivations and make different ways of being a physicist possible.

National Category
Physical Sciences Gender Studies Educational Sciences
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-300835 (URN)
Conference
AAPT 2016 Summer Meeting, Sacramento, California. July 16 - 20
Available from: 2016-08-15 Created: 2016-08-15 Last updated: 2016-08-15
Andersson, S. & Johansson, A. (2016). “You’re viewed in a different way”– intersecting norms in science and technology education. In: : . Paper presented at Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“You’re viewed in a different way”– intersecting norms in science and technology education
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Much concern is given to increasing participation of “minorities” in Science and Technology. Simultaneously, research shows how these areas can appear hostile to people outside the norm. However, formation of and inte- ractions with the norm is complex and occur in the intersection of various aspects, such as gender and program belonging.

To explore the dynamics of unequal treatment in science and technology, we have analysed reports of negative experiences from students at a Swedish research university. 3123 students responded to web-based questionnaires about educational experiences in 2012 and 2014. Negative experiences were reported by 14% of the female respondents and 7% of the male re- spondents.

Qualitative analysis of answers about negative experiences identified more than two thirds of the responses as regarding how students are perceived, valued and treated, primarily in relation to gender and programme belonging. Female students were positioned as less knowledgeable and therefore needing and receiving more, often unwanted, help than their peers. Responses related to the expected masculinity of science and technology were more than four times as common among female respondents. Students in “non- traditional” programmes were perceived as having lower status and mee- ting unfair treatment. These programs often recruit larger fractions of female students and, consistently, responses regarding program status was three times more common among female respondents.

Our study illustrates how normative factors affect higher education experiences in science and technology, especially for female students, who may be subject to unequal treatment both as women and as students on non- traditional programmes.

National Category
Physical Sciences Educational Sciences Didactics Gender Studies
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296673 (URN)
Conference
Gender and Education Association Interim Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 15–17 June 2016
Available from: 2016-06-19 Created: 2016-06-19 Last updated: 2016-06-19
Andersson, S. (2015). Bitar av en lärarroll: "Jag är lite som ett utrotningshotat djur - jag är fysiklärare.". LMNT-nytt (1), 8-10
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bitar av en lärarroll: "Jag är lite som ett utrotningshotat djur - jag är fysiklärare."
2015 (Swedish)In: LMNT-nytt, ISSN 1402-0041, no 1, p. 8-10Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.)) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Föreningen för lärarna i matematik, naturvetenskap och teknik, 2015
Keywords
Lärarroll Fysik
National Category
Other Physics Topics Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-262510 (URN)
Available from: 2015-09-15 Created: 2015-09-15 Last updated: 2015-09-15
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