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Physics education

Research Physics education with The Open University The Physics Education Research Group brings together physicists with an interest in how students learn and a passion for improving their teaching. At the OU this research theme is inevitably concerned with the full range of educational technologies, pedagogical methodologies and evaluative techniques that are required to support, sustain and improve the evidence-based teaching of physics in a large and diverse organisation. Research students in this area are housed in the School of Physical Sciences where we work in association with the OpenScience Laboratory and eSTEeM. Areas of particular expertise are:
  • online experimentation
  • e-assessment and its links to learning
  • development of concept inventories
  • physics education in an open and distance learning environment
  • public engagement and physics outreach through a range of media
  • aspects of equality, diversity and inclusion in physics education.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) in BSc Physics or a related subject

Potential research projects

  • Optimizing robotic telescope projects for teaching astrophysics
  • Shared web-based representations to support learning
  • A critical assessment of remote experiments in science distance teaching
  • Investigating inclusive approaches to online and digital teaching for disabled students

Current/recent research projects

  • Practical science instruction via remote and virtual experiments: relating authenticity, sociability and metafunctionality to effective pedagogy
  • Establishing physics concept inventories using free-text questions
  • Investigating the use of technology enhanced assessment to reduce demographic gaps in attainment in physics

Potential supervisors

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Administrative support
+44 (0)1908 659036

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.