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THE IMPACT OF DISCIPLINARY FUTURE SELF ENRICHED ELECTROMAGNETISM COURSE ON PHARMACY MAJORS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND AFFECT IN PHYSICS

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DiFuSeEm (THE IMPACT OF DISCIPLINARY FUTURE SELF ENRICHED ELECTROMAGNETISM COURSE ON PHARMACY MAJORS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND AFFECT IN PHYSICS)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2022-01-31

In today's world, it is obvious how crucial the health fields like pharmacy for the society are and that there is a growing need of professionals in the world in these fields. One of the problems in pharmacy education is that introductory physics courses for pharmacy undergraduate students are perceived as difficult and irrelevant courses. For the same reason, some of the students even stop the academic program they chose for a future career. The disciplinary future-self (DFS) defined as a future identity that one wants to establish by choosing a certain study program, might be a part of the solution for this problem. The DFS enriched courses support future career choices of the students by providing students to see the function of the specific course in their own academic program. Therefore, they help students understand and control affective states, and enhance motivation for better academic results.

The EU-funded DiFuSeEM project aims to research the influence of the DFS-enriched instruction in the physics course of Electromagnetism for Pharmacy students. Students` affective characteristics and their achievement in an experimental and control groups are the base for the comparison to find out the effects of the instruction. The objectives of the study are:

Objective 1: to design activities and materials that relate the electricity content in the Electromagnetism course to the DFS of Pharmacy students,
Objective 2: to design a DFS-related physics instruction with these activities and materials, and
Objective 3: to explore the effects of the DFS-related instruction on Pharmacy students’ achievement in the Electromagnetism course and affective characteristics related to physics.
We have been working on exercises on electricity topics to relate physics to pharmacy. We have developed the draft of 9 sets of questions for each of the groups (experimental, control 1, control 2) that are planned to be implemented in 7 weeks. The experimental group will receive the DFS-relevant exercises, while control group 1 receives daily/real life relevant exercises and the control group 2 receives context free exercises. To develop these exercises, we have conducted a content analysis of:

• Objectives of the recitation sessions,
• All exercises already being used,
• Content of other courses in Pharmacy Bachelor Program,
• Physics and other like Medical Physiology, Biophysics, Engineering books and textbooks,
• Internet (Khan academy, TED talks, youtube),
• Projects for making physics relevant to life sciences (NEXUS, Briggs, North Carolina etc.),
• Articles in various fields like biophysics, pharmacy, chemistry, engineering.

We have also conducted focus group interviews with 10 professors who give a course in the pharmacy bachelor program to determine some topics that relate physics to pharmacy and after transcribing the data we have used the data from these interviews to determine various contexts for the exercises. The interviews were conducted in two different sessions, the first session was conducted on 05.02.2020 with 8 instructors and lasted approximately 70 minutes while the second session was on 25.02.2020 with 2 instructors and lasted approximately 45 minutes. As a result, 47 pharmacy contexts (e.g. measuring techniques, drug delivery methods, treatment techniques, biological/chemical phenomena) for the electricity topics were revealed.
There are studies aiming to relate introductory physics courses to life sciences in the literature. However, being an interdisciplinary field in between many fields like biology, chemistry, engineering and medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences have their own features. Hence, even some of the materials developed for life sciences might be relevant for pharmacy students, it is difficult for students to see a link when some of these materials are used without careful analysis. For example, an exercise in the context of a syringe which makes perfect sense for students in medical sciences might not be perceived as relevant by pharmacy students.

On the other hand, including the studies developing physics courses for life sciences, there are no experimental studies designed to explore the effect of the designed instruction on students physics achievement and motivation. Therefore, results of the study will have a contribution to physics education field.

It is aimed to support students’ career choices by providing students to see the function of the physics course in their own academic program. Therefore, helping students understand and control affective states, and enhance motivation for better academic results. Some of the students might even change their ideas about changing their career choices. Hence, at the long-term the project might be a step (and part) of solving the increasing need for pharmacy professionals.
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