Final Report WG3

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To improve the effectiveness and attractiveness of physics teaching in Europe’s university physics departments to help ensure their competitiveness to the global student

The working group aimed to investigate the physics teaching methods across the physics departments in Europe, looking at any impediments to student mobility and choice.  Many of these are not directly related to the content of the physics programmes but are due to organisational differences between countries and cultural factors such as the language of instruction.  The introduction of the Bologna Bachelor/Master system has introduced major changes in most countries and these changes are only now settling into a stable form.

 

Recommendations

National/Regional governments need to look at the issues of student funding & fees to encourage and facilitate student mobility.  This is particularly a problem for the UK which has adopted a high fees model.

Short term mobility should be encouraged at both Bachelor and Masters level.  As there are difficulties with covering the core teaching in relatively short 2/3 year programmes, this is best done on a reciprocal basis between small groups of universities.

Masters courses should be marketed widely across Europe, both to ensure a good mix of students and to allow the viability of courses in specialist areas of physics.  This may require the course to be available in English.

Bachelor courses should be mainly aimed at national students and there is not the same requirement for English language teaching.

There needs to be wider availability of the results of innovation in teaching methods and the results of Physics Education Research.  The profile of these areas needs to be raised in university physics departments which are often focussed on physics research activity.  This requires departments to devote financial and human resources to these areas and recognise the work done.

 

The final report of the activity is presented below.