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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

QEP courses transform student experience

Molly Dwyer, a first-year student from Hickory, is using a Carolina makerspace to make a clock component in her QEP-supported class, Physics 100.

Carolina currently offers 30 undergraduate courses developed with funding and support through the Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), a five-year initiative to enhance the undergraduate learning experience through “connecting, doing and making.”

Molly Dwyer, a first-year student, is taking one of them, Physics 100, taught by Stefan Jeglinksi. She and the other students use a Carolina makerspace to make a clock component and then explore variations or conduct experiments of their own design.

Dwyer is constructing her clock component using a laser cutter and other tools. “I’ve never used equipment like this before. I would never have tried something like this without this class to guide me how to do it,” she said.

An assistant teaching professor in physics and astronomy, Jeglinski developed this course using QEP funds. Faculty have the opportunity to apply for grants and peer support to develop new courses and research experiences for undergraduates, with deadlines of Jan. 19 and Sept. 14, 2018.

“Our world is getting more, not less, technological and having a basic understanding of how things work and being able to engage with technology on even the simplest level serves students in every aspect of their lives,” Jeglinski said.

Skills that reach beyond Carolina

Jennifer Hazen, teaching assistant professor in public policy, said students in her QEP-funded Honors Research on Public Policy and Global Affairs course in spring 2018 will learn skills that will serve them in the real world.

“They need writing, analysis and presentation skills they don’t always get in the classroom in order to be effective outside the classroom, particularly in the world of developing and influencing public policy,” Hazen said.

She structured her course to give students the opportunity to give feedback on colleagues’ written and oral presentations. The intent is to enable students to learn how to critique their own work and incorporate feedback from others.

Dwyer appreciates the real-world experience in the QEP-supported physics course taught by Jeglinksi.

“He uses everyday objects, such as a guitar or bowling ball, to explain complex physics concepts like sound waves and inertia,” Dwyer said. “He’ll then open up the floor to questions, and these demonstrations will inspire discussions we never would have had if we had simply listened to a lecture.”

 

 

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By Cyndy Falgout, College of Arts & Sciences