Physics Alive

Find everything you ever wanted to know about PER on PhysPort with Sam McKagan

October 30, 2020

What if I told you there is a place where you can discover new teaching methods, access scores of validated assessments, find videos to train your TA’s and LA’s, and even read a guide for how to move a lab course online. And what if I told you it is absolutely free and open access. Don’t believe me? Well it’s true! It’s called PhysPort, and today I’m speaking with Sam McKagan, the director and mastermind behind this website. She shares how it got started and what you can find on the site, as well as current projects that she is involved with, including the Living Physics Portal, a completely open source community for sharing curricular materials to teach physics to life science students.


Quantum mechanics PhET simulations:


Sam created a place for all things Physics Education Research (PER): PhysPort!


Another great resource is Compadre.


If you go onto the PhysPort website, a great place to start is the “Expert Recommendations.”


Multiple resources available for teaching online, especially valuable during the current global pandemic. For example:


Also find resources about equity in physics are available.


Looking for validated, research-based assessments to help test students’ conceptual understanding of topics? 


Recent publication by Sam et. al. is:


An under-utilized component of PhysPort is a Periscope Collection, a collection of video lessons to use with TA’s and LA’s in a training course.

And finally, a newer project, The Living Physics Portal. An open source website where faculty can share curricular resources dedicated to physics for life science majors.


Question for Sam: If you could endorse one piece of PER, what would it be?  There’s a paper that came out in 2020 that she’s really excited about: “Demographics of physics education research” by Stephen Kanim and Ximena C. Cid. 


Published on Sept. 23, 2020, just a few weeks after my interview with Sam, was another article she co-authored:

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App