Congratulations Elizabeth Angstmann
Citation award recipient
For developing online and face-to-face materials and experiences for students that encourage active learning and problem solving in large first year physics courses.
Associate Professor Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Angstmann has been the First Year Director in the School of Physics since 2011. She is an Education Focussed academic responsible for the education of thousands of students each year. Liz has recently been appointed as a Scientia Education Academy Fellow at UNSW.
In receiving a Citation, Liz has been recognised as being among Australia's most exceptional university teachers. She has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to student learning through her dedication to quality teaching. Her work is valued highly by her students, University and the Australian Government.
Liz's approach and teaching philosophy:
Liz’s learning and teaching philosophy emphasises the need for students to be active learners; they need to solve problems and pose questions for themselves.
“I believe students gain a deeper understanding of the subject material by grappling with ideas and working at solving problems on their own. As teachers we need to motivate students to want to learn and provide appropriate resources to help them actively learn. I take an evidence-based approach to teaching and where possible, implement changes based on the education literature with positive results.”
Since 2011, Liz iteratively developed a suite of learning resources and activities to better support students in active learning. She transformed the learning experience of students in the introductory calculus-based courses Physics 1A and Physics 1B to ensure that they actively engaged with the material and had plenty of opportunities to solve problems. These include online pre-lab quizzes with personalised feedback, video tutorials for homework sets, new laboratory exercises for difficult concepts and new problem-solving workshops, a large bank of questions for students to practice and be assessed on, and interactive web stream lectures.
“In developing these resources, I made sure there was constructive alignment between lecture content, in class and online activities, and assessment. My approach went further than developing new materials for the classroom, I also helped design a new laboratory and problem-solving space for the Faculty of Science to encourage active learning. My work impacts over 2000 students who take Physics 1A and over 500 student who take Physics 1B each year.”
The initiatives developed by Liz have led to enhanced student performance, increased flexibility for students, and a strong sense of community in Physics for Physics majors. Liz is also an active influencer and educator of her colleagues in a joint effort to improve the student experience.
“It is difficult to overstate Dr. Angstmann’s influence on the quality and professionalism of the first year Physics experience at UNSW. She has embraced new teaching tools, conducted her own research into the impact of different teaching tools and methodologies on teaching at UNSW, and done a huge amount of work with online resources and quizzes to give students the best possible experience.”
Professor Alex Hamilton, lecturer in Physics 1A
Liz's advice to fellow teachers:
It's important to make students the focus from the very start. Try to see the course you're teaching from your student’s perspectives and give them as much time as possible to put what they’re learning into practice.
Liz would like to thank her colleagues in the First Year Physics team.