Discipline-Based Educational Research
Active Learning Spaces

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WebAssign WebAssign

WebAssign may well be the most well-known web-based homework delivery system in the world. Each day, more than 50,000 individual students log into the company's many servers. The complex set of computer codes that deliver text, graphics, movies, and animations grew out of the dissertation work of graduate student Aaron Titus, along with the database wizardry of sabbatical visitor Larry Martin. There was clearly a demand for this type of service, and faculty member John Risley made WebAssign one of the most successful "spin-offs" of the University's research.


Matter & Interactions

   Popularly known as "M & I," this collection of instrutional materials represents a comprehensive refreshing of the introductory physics curriculum. Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood's thoroughly 21st century approach is embodied in a two-volume textbook, a growing collection of associated instructional materials including a large set of innovative WebAssign questions,, a growing collection of associated instructional materials, and extensive instructor resources. It has been adopted by three of the four largest engineering schools in the nation.
   The curriculum helps students see that a small number of fundamental principles can explain a huge variety of physical phenomena. Moreover, understanding concepts at the microscopic level leads to predicting macroscopic measurements. Students learn to model physical systems by making idealizations, siimplifying assumptions, and by writing programs to model systems computationally.


VPython VPython

    This special software module adds easy 3-D graphics to the widely used Python programming language. Students create objects likes sphere and then "teach" them to interact using the laws of physics.
   VPython was first created by David Sherer at Carnegie Melon University. Bruce Sherwood is the gatekeeper of this open-source project and facilitates the incorporation of new features to improve the software's use in education. Undergraduate Jonathan Brandmeyer made many enhancements to the module. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and is freely available.

Physical Review Special Topics

Physical Review – Physics Education Research

    This journal is part of the world class Physical Review series published by the American Physical Society. Robert Beichner is the founding editor and has worked with a impressive group of PER experts serving as the Editorial Board. If you are thinking of writing an article for the journal, take a close look at the detailed guidelines we provide our referees. Please summit our referee expertise form to beichner@ncsu.edu. it is critical that the lofty standards already established for the APS journals be maintained and high quality reviews help make that happen.



The PER Community Enhancing Network for Teaching, Research, And Learning was created by Robert Beichner as a place where scientists can find the latest findings in physics education research. This web-accessible database contains articles and dissertations describing studies of the teaching and learning of physics. Former post-doc Vince Kuo has taken over as editor of this project.

Physical Review Special Topics

Assessment Instruments

Our group has created a series of conceptual tests that are used by teachers and researchers who want more insight into what students are learning. If you use any of our tests, or those of others, please do not let students keep copies of the questions or teach using test items as examples.

Videograph screen


Robert Beichner invented the pedagogical appoach known as Video Based Labs in the mid-1980s, with the first verion of VideoGraph. This software allows students to track the motion of objects in videoclips. It was created as part of a research project that exploited peoples' visual perception of motion as a means to facilitate learning. More than a dozen commercial software packages utilize now this approach. The most popular are VideoPoint and LoggerPro.


Invention and Impact: Building Excellence in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education

Robert Beichner was joined by Jeffery Saul in writing this chapter describing the SCALE-UP project. This was completed as part of a major effort by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation to examine and disseminate state-of-the-art instruction in the STEM disciplines.

Learning Spaces Book

Learning Spaces

   Robert Beichner wrote a chapter for this book that was edited by Diana Oblinger for the Educause Learning Initiative. His chapter describes the SCALE-UP project. Educause is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of instructional technology.

Handbook Cover Handbook of College Science Teaching

    Robert Beichner joined colleagues John Belcher of MIT and Yehudit Dori from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in a chapter discussing the latest ways to teach science as well as techniques for assessing the learning that takes place.








Physics for Scientists and Engineers

   Robert Beichner joined Raymond Serway to write the 5th edition of this introductory calculus-based physics textbook. Once published, it rapidly became the leading such book in the nation. At one time it was used by more than 1/3 of all science and engineeing majors. Although the text is now out of print, many of the changes introduced in the 5th edition are still present in the current versions.







Elementary Science Book Essentials of Elementary Science
    The first edition of this text for preservice teachers was written by Robert Beichner. He brought in Daniel Dobey to take the lead in further editions. This concise book presents the reader with the essentials of pertinent research, valued classroom methodology, and current practice in teaching elementary science.







Educational Technology book

Essentials of Educational Technology

    Robert Beichner assisted James Schwartz in the creation of this small text that is designed to help preservice teachers see the pros and cons of educational technology. Presenting the material as an integrated whole, the book encourages readers to think about the enormous power and potential of technology with its ability to change the way we think and learn. The material is connected to every major curriculum area, and includes accompanying activities. It also prepares readers to anticipate and prevent unwanted, negative effects of technology.





Inquiry Book

Teaching & Learning Through Inquiry

   Robert Beichner and Maria Oliver-Hoyo, a chemistry education researcher at NCSU, presented a chapter describing the SCALE-UP classroom and the pedagogies used in it. This was done as part of a popular book promoting inquiry-based college education.


Interactive Journey CD

Interactive Journey Through Physics

   Robert Beichner helped Vassar physicist Cindy Schwarz in created a CD-based introduction to physics. Filled with animations and opportunities for interaction, this CD has been published by Prentice-Hall. Extensive multi-media presentations help make physics interesting and fun.

PAS Catalog

Physics Academic Software

   John Risley edited many instructional software packages that have been written by physicists from around the world. Offered by the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, this peer-reviewed collection offers some of the best instructional software now available.

CD Cover Core Concepts in Physics
John Risley and Edward Redish edited the proceedings of an important conference at NC State back in 1989.

CD Cover Core Concepts in Physics
John Risley and Robert Beichner produced problems and detailed systematic solutions for this multiple-CD set from Brooks-Cole publishing.

CD Cover Core Concepts in Physics
DBER info goes here.

CD Cover Core Concepts in Physics