Paul D. O. Bergeron     —     Teaching


Currently (Spring 2018), I am the Department of Physics and Astronomy's Mentor TA. In this position, I am working with a Professor of Educational Practice (Claudia De Grandi), to help mentor, train, and better the teaching practices of the TAs in the department. This includes in class observations as well as the formation of mid semester teaching workshops per the needs of the graduate students. A significant portion of this mentoring has been to help the TAs facilitate small group problem sessions in their discussion sections and improve their skills at employing active learning techniques to better engage students in peer-to-peer learning.

I am also the instructor for PHY 1010 at Salt Lake Community College. This is a 1 semester, conceptual overview of classical and modern physics. It has been an exciting semester, seeing students who have never seen physics before become interested in how the world around them works.

Past Teaching Experience

While at the University of Utah, I've also taught for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute For this program, I taught Osher 92 — Astronomy and the Winter Sky. This was a 6 weeks course that covered an overview of the history of astronomy, constellations and star gazing, and the direction of contemporary astronomy research. It also included a field trip to near by Antellope Island, a certified dark sky location, for star gazing with astronomers from the department.

During previous semesters in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, I have also held TA positions, as well as numerous Marshal postions (instructional team lead TA), for many of the introductory classes. These have included the lower division introductions to mechanics (calculus/algebra based, Phys 2210/2010) and electricity & magnetism (calculus based, Phys 2220). I have also been the TA for upper division courses including the introduction to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (Phys 3760) as well as the introduction to nuclear and particle physics (Phys 5110). For my excellence in teaching these classes, the department has twice recognized my work as a teacher with the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award.

During my undergraduate career at UCSC, I was an MSI Learning Assistant and LSS Subject Tutor for 8 quarters. The classes for which I lead sessions were all calculus based introduction to physics (mechanics, 5/6A; waves/thermo, 5/6B; and E&M, 5/6C) for both the physics and engineering majors (5 series) as well as the biology and health science majors (6 series). I occassionally tutored the algebra based conceptual physics GE class as well.


Additionally, I have participated in several science outreach activities. For more details on this, please visit my CV section.

For Students

Hyper Physics

Georgia State University hosts Hyper Physics which is an interactive and explorative physics environment. This is often a great resource for looking up basic concepts from many fields of physics that are accessible to students starting their studies of physics.

Falstad Applets

A great resource for visualizing physics can be found at Paul Falstad's website. He has written a plethora of java scripts that are useful for playing with different physical situations. I find that the ones for electrostatics, analog circuits, and quantum mechanics to be particularly helpful for learning said topics.