The first two weeks of class are over. So far the class seems pretty engaged with the content and are doing a few more labs/investigations than last year but still most of them tend to watch the videos in class rather than at home. (Note that one student with a Windows 8 tablet was unable to watch the embedded videos in the moodle pages but could watch them directly from youtube???).

A couple of students tried to do the internal resistance lab during the first week. When I asked them why they said because it seemed to be the hardest and they wanted to get it over with. They did not seem to understand the concepts so I encouraged them to view the videos first or start with the uniform motion lab.

Another student who has already completed physics 12 once jumped around the whole course. First asking questions about torque, then conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and then finally projectile motion. At first I was concerned that he was unfocused but then I realized that this is why I designed the course this way. If he wants to start looking at torque on the first night so be it.

I still struggle with not lecturing. It just feels like I’m not teaching. A few students ask questions throughout the night but so far no one has taken my offers of tutorials on specific topics. Perhaps things will change next week after the first test.

Moodle Rubrics and Scales

This year I decided to adjust the weight I placed on lab reports. Last year it was graded out of 6 and this year I graded them out of 18. Both times I used the rubric grading in Moodle. Last year I scaled the grade down but this year I decided to just leave it at the full 18 total possible points. However I noticed that when I graded a sample lab report and gave it a grade of 6 out of 18 on the rubric it would show up as 6.67 for total score for that objective in the grade book. I still don’t understand why but it had to do with the grade setting for each lab activity. Since I wasn’t scaling things down I changed the grade to just 18. When I modified the scale so that it went from 0 – 18 and reset the grade setting to the lab scale things worked out again. The category total in the grade book also had to be set to use the scale.


  • adjust the scale in the grade book settings
  • adjust the category total to ensure it is using the scale
  • make sure that each lab activity is using the scale

Attempt Number 2

Tonight was the first class this semester. 16 registered students but only 14 showed up tonight. It was close, the class was canceled again earlier last week but a couple of last minute registrants saved the day.

Tonight I went over the course structure with the class and got pretty positive feedback. With such a small class size the school district is concerned about attrition. We need to retain as many students as possible to get funding for them. So the district administrator came to the class to emphasize that point and to check to see if there were any students worried about the format and wanting to drop out.

So far it seems like a good start.