LATROBE, PA – Rev. Michael Antonacci, assistant professor of physics at Saint Vincent College, recently had an article published in “The Physics Teacher” academic journal. The article, titled “A Flexible, Asynchronous Format for Introductory Physics Laboratory Instruction During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” centers around Father Michael’s experience adjusting to the fluctuations of teaching a physics lab during the pandemic. He studies how the change in the course “affected students’ attitudes toward experimental physics.”
Father Michael said he drew inspiration for the article from “the students’ positive feedback on the course format and the surprisingly positive gains reported on a learning attitude survey.” Due to the challenges the pandemic created in allowing students to receive hands-on learning, the favorable responses to Father Michael’s adjustment of the course only furthered his wish to document his findings.
“Not being able to give real-time feedback to students as they worked in the lab” became one of the largest difficulties he encountered when teaching the lab, despite the positive feedback he received. As he would typically walk around the lab to answer any questions, he said that “these interactions were missing during the asynchronous class.”
Upon returning to mostly in-class learning, Father Michael “decided to retain many of the elements of the course” which provided “students an opportunity to exercise some level of creativity in lab and to reflect on the experimental process.” He hopes to further improve his courses to improve students’ thoughts toward experimental physics for the future.
The article was published on August 26, 2022 and can be found at https://doi.org/10.1119/5.0064035.
“The Physics Teacher” is an online journal supported by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and produced by AIP Publishing. AIP is a non-profit organization working with their journal to promote scientific successes. AIP Publishing’s mission includes supporting educational and scientific through publishing subsequent articles and activities in the physical and related scientific field.
Father Michael has released a number of works in the past few years, including a more recent paper published in “The Magnetic Resonance of Medicine” journal in its February 2021 issue. The journal focuses on publishing “original investigations [concerning]…the development and use of nuclear resonance…for medical applications.” To learn more about Father Michael’s previous work, visit https://doi.org/10.1002/mrm.28457 .
A Benedictine monk and priest in Saint Vincent’s monastery, Father Michael graduated with a Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after having received his B.S from Saint Vincent College.
-Madison Kozera, English major, of Abingdon, MD