Biophysics and Didactics of Physics

biophysics and didactics of physics
Group leader
Biophysics and Didactics of Physics
Specific themes and goals

In previous projects, we investigated the lipid bilayer-peptide interactions, measured forces between single chromatographic beads and biomass, and developed sensors for directly measuring mechanical properties of cellular membranes. However, our research focus recently switched from experimental biophysics to didactics in physics, especially investigating the impact of weekly homework on the performance of first-year physics students.

The didactics research addresses the diversity of first-year university students’ prior knowledge in physics, which regularly leaves subgroups of students either bored or overburdened. We aimed to support student performance by adapting the weekly physics homework problems to students’ knowledge levels and self-regulated learning profiles.

Highlights and impact

The most interesting outcome of our research was the clear importance of homework performance on final exam grades in physics classes. Homework grades across the semester can be early indicators of student failure. Such information enables instructors to implement countermeasures. Student groups which got tailor-made homework adapted to their skills performed better than groups which got standard homework. 

Physics classes can also serve as a model case for other science or math-based university courses with weekly homework. We plan to further investigate whether the improved attractiveness of homework including right level, interesting tasks, and suitable support can also improve overall performance of students in physics classes.

Group composition & projects/funding

Our group currently consists of one professor and a postdoctoral researcher.

Selected publications
  • J. Direnga, C. Stamov-Roßnagel, V. Wagner, J. Fritz: Elektronisches Adaptives Hausaufgabenkonzept für Erstjahres Physikvorlesungen, DPG Spring Meeting, Bonn, 29.03.-03.04.2020 (DD16.56).
  • J. Direnga, M. Kupresak, C. Stamov-Roßnagel, V. Wagner, J. Fritz: Einführung eines einfachen adaptiven Hausaufgabenkonzeptes für Erstjahres-Physikvorlesungen, DPG Spring Online Meeting, 22.-24.03.2021 (DD14.23).