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Just In Time Teaching: Potential Uses In Mechanics Courses

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Techniques

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.851.1 - 10.851.12



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Paper Authors

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Eric Hamilton

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Gregor Novak

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Evelyn Patterson

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Brian Self

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Just-in-Time Teaching: Potential Uses in Mechanics Courses

Brian P. Self, Evelyn Patterson, Gregor Novak, and Eric Hamilton

United States Air Force Academy, Colorado


Over the last 8 years, the physics educational community has developed a new learning strategy known as Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT). In this approach, students are required to answer short questions posted on the web at least two hours before class. Questions are typically more open- ended and conceptual rather than mathematical. The instructor then reads through the student answers before class and tailors the classroom experience based on student understanding. For new topics, many students will appreciate some aspects of the idea, but different students will grasp different aspects of the subject matter. By presenting the answers from different students the instructor can build up an understanding of the complex idea. In this way, students feel greater ownership of the course, come better prepared to class, and have more productive interactions with the professor. Examples of the use JiTT in undergraduate physics will be presented and a framework for applying the techniques to Mechanics described.


The physics educational community has long been at the forefront of innovative pedagogy. Instructors have developed interesting hands-on demonstrations, laboratories, and examples top help motivate and teach their students. The Force Concept Inventory(1) has been used for a decade to help determine if students are really grasping the underlying physics principles; many different engineering disciplines are now borrowing the idea of concept inventories. Just in Time Teaching (JiTT) is another concept that could greatly benefit the engineering educational community.

Only recently has the JiTT concept been reported in the engineering educational literature(2,3). Freshman physics lays so much of the foundation for engineering dynamics that it only seems natural to borrow some of the innovative work done in physics education for mechanics purposes. In order to help facilitate this process, we will first provide an introduction to the basic components of JiTT and its underlying educational theories. Examples of mechanics modules will then be provided, with representative answers and how the instructor modified the lesson as a result of the student input. Finally, references and advice on how to utilize JiTT will be supplied to potential users of the technique.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Hamilton, E., & Novak, G., & Patterson, E., & Self, B. (2005, June), Just In Time Teaching: Potential Uses In Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14549

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