Ayush Gupta

Ayush Gupta
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research | TIFR · Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education

Ph.D.

About

90
Publications
11,523
Reads
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1,074
Citations
Introduction
My research is aimed at creating dynamic models of learners' cognition, including how different aspects such as emotions, identities, epistemologies, and conceptions are entangled in moment-to-moment interactions. Lately, I have been interested in the role of ideologies and values in learning, especially in how students think about science, technology and society.
Additional affiliations
October 2020 - present
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 2018 - September 2020
University of Maryland, College Park
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
November 2010 - June 2018
University of Maryland, College Park
Position
  • Professor
Education
August 2000 - July 2006
University of Maryland, College Park
Field of study
  • Laser-Plasma Interactions
August 1996 - May 2000
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Field of study
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
Full-text available
[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Curriculum Development: Theory into Design.] Common models of curricular development in physics education research (PER) have typically involved a hierarchical relationship between researchers and students, where researchers lead the design and testing of curriculum for students. We draw from work in...
Article
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Professional problem-solving practice in physics and engineering relies on mathematical sense making—reasoning that leverages coherence between formal mathematics and conceptual understanding. A key question for physics education is how well current instructional approaches develop students’ mathematical sense making. We introduce an assessment par...
Article
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In this chapter, we examine a significant shift in research in the learning sciences, mathematics education, and science education that increasingly attends to the co-construction of power and learning. We review articles in these fields that embody a new sense of theoretical and methodological possibilities and dilemmas, brewing at the intersectio...
Chapter
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As part of their jobs, professional engineers engage in ethical, environmental, social, and economic negotiations with other engineers, managers, and with the public. Therefore, they need to understand the social impact of new technologies in a global context. However, research on students’ developing sense of engineering ethics often emphasizes th...
Article
Background Tinkering, an ad hoc approach to solving a problem, involves manipulating objects to characterize and build knowledge about a particular system in an exploratory way, often with the goal of getting some product/idea to produce desired behavior. Tinkering contrasts more deliberate activity toward understanding how a phenomenon works. Pur...
Article
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Background While there has been increasing recognition of the importance of attending to students’ views about what counts as knowing and learning a STEM field, surveys that measure these “epistemological” beliefs are often used in ways that implicitly assume the fields, e.g., “physics,” to be a single domain about which students might have sophist...
Preprint
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A paper summarizing the discussions that happened during the Physics Education Research (POC in PERC) parallel sessions at the 2017 and 208 Physics Education Research Conference (PERC).
Preprint
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What kind of problem-solving instruction can help students apply what they have learned to solve the new and unfamiliar problems they will encounter in the future? We propose that mathematical sensemaking, the practice of seeking coherence between formal mathematics and conceptual understanding, is a key target of successful physics problem-solving...
Conference Paper
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As part of a project studying student experiences in quantum mechanics (QM), we collected two streams of data. We asked students to generate autobiographical video, audio, and written blogs and participate in open-format interviews while taking the first semester of an upper-division QM course. We also interviewed former students about their experi...
Conference Paper
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We describe and analyze our efforts to support Learning Assistants (LAs)—undergraduate peer educators who simultaneously take a 3-credit pedagogy course—in fostering equitable team dynamics and collaboration within a project-based engineering design course. Tonso and others have shown that (a) inequities can “live” in mundane interactions such as t...
Conference Paper
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Engineering ethics curriculum and the research around it often emphasizes micro-ethical issues such as whistle-blowing and responsible conduct of research with lesser but growing attention to macro-ethical issues such as how engineering practice is entangled with broader social, political, economic, and environmental concerns. Engaging in macro-eth...
Article
Problem solving in groups can be rich with tension for students. This tension may arise from conflicting approaches (conceptual and/or epistemological) and/or from conflict emerging in the social relations among group members. Drawing on video records of undergraduate students working collaboratively, we use three cases to illustrate the multifacet...
Article
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Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that cognition and emotions are coupled. Education researchers have also documented correlations between emotions (such as joy, anxiety, fear, curiosity, boredom) and academic performance. Nonetheless, most research on students’ reasoning and conceptual change within the learnin...
Article
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Background Quantitative researchers have noted the impact of mentoring and support programming for students from underrepresented groups in engineering. Qualitative researchers have also noted the importance of student agency in persistence through marginalization. Nevertheless, challenges and questions remain in identifying practices which are eff...
Article
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Background To explain educational problems such as student attrition, engineering education literature often focuses on the characteristics of individuals. In 2006, Ray McDermott and Hervé Varenne called for examining the “cultural construction” of educational problems, uncovering how multiple actors create and inscribe meaning to the educational p...
Article
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Mathematical sense-making—looking for coherence between the structure of the mathematical formalism and causal or functional relations in the world—is a core component of physics expertise. Some physics education research studies have explored what mathematical sense-making looks like at the introductory physics level, while some historians and “sc...
Article
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The relationship between ideology and learning remains insufficiently theorized and sparsely investigated in the Learning Sciences. Drawing on Stuart Hall’s theorization of ideology, Judith Butler’s notion of the (un)grievability of lives, and Sara Ahmed’s construct of stickiness, we illustrate how insights from critical social theory are indispens...
Conference Paper
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Engineering education research has started to attend to the idea that the education of a socially responsible professional engineer will, in part, require the weaving of social responsibility and engineering macro-ethics into the fabric of the engineering curriculum. In this paper, writing as an engineering design instructor, I present my own succe...
Conference Paper
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This paper documents an innovative approach to teaching a 3-credit introductory C programming course to freshman electrical engineering students that has been funded by an NSF DUE grant. The innovation stems from the use of electrical engineering applications and projects to motivate students to master language syntax and implement key programming...
Article
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Quantum mechanics can seem like a departure from everyday experience of the physical world, but constructivist theories assert that learners build new ideas from their existing ones. To explore how students can navigate this tension, we examine video of a focus group completing a tutorial about the "particle in a box." In reasoning about the proper...
Article
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In collaborative small-group work, physics students need to both manage social conflict and grapple with conceptual and epistemological differences. In this paper, we document several outlets that students use as tools for managing social conflict when addressing quantum mechanics tutorials in clinical focus groups. These resources include epistemi...
Conference Paper
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Understanding the social, environmental, economic, and political impact of engineering is an important aspect of being a professional engineer. Responding to this need, engineering programs increasingly offer engineering ethics education. However, courses in engineering ethics as well as research on students' developing sense of engineering ethics...
Conference Paper
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Within research on retention and persistence in STEM, the concept of student agency is typically treated as a personal characteristic or as an element of coping and navigational strategies. The act of theorizing about one’s own experiences and persistence is under-explored as a source of taking agency. Through interviews with a woman in the first y...
Conference Paper
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Providing first-year engineering majors with an opportunity to experience engineering through a project-based design course has become an important curricular element in many engineering degree programs. This paper provides a reflection on the process of selecting, developing, and launching a new design project by providing a practitioner's account...
Conference Paper
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Research on group work in STEM education has documented that in some cases, students’ relative expertise with respect to other group members can impact student participation in the discipline: expert-like students can help novice-like students gain conceptual understanding, the success of pairings depends on the complexity of the task at hand, and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Tinkering is an ad-hoc approach to a problem and involves the practice of manipulating objects to characterize and build knowledge about a particular system in an exploratory way, often with the goal of getting some product/idea to produce desired behavior. Tinkering thus contrasts with more deliberate activity towards conceptual understanding of h...
Article
Full-text available
Responsive teaching, in which teachers adapt instruction based on close attention to the substance of students' ideas, is typically characterized along two dimensions: the level of detail at which teachers attend and respond to students' ideas, and the stance teachers take toward what they hear - evaluating for correctness vs. interpreting meaning....
Article
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Research has documented a sharp decline in students' interest and persistence in science, starting in middle school, particularly among students from underrepresented populations. In working to address this problem, we can learn a great deal from positive examples of students getting excited about science, especially students who were previously di...
Article
In planning and teaching courses for engineering majors, physics instructors grapple with multiple instructional goals: extensive content coverage, quantitative problem solving, conceptual understanding, motivation, and more. The temptation is to treat these goals as mutually reinforcing or at least as not in conflict. We argue, however, that at le...
Article
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Energy is an abstract science concept, so the ways that we think and talk about energy rely heavily on ontological metaphors: metaphors for what kind of thing energy is. Two commonly used ontological metaphors for energy are energy as a substance and energy as a vertical location. Our previous work has demonstrated that students and experts can pro...
Conference Paper
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Systems thinking is an important component of engineering design thinking but one that is often difficult for beginning designers. In this paper, we present an empirically grounded case that sometimes the novice-like design behaviors emerge, not due to a lack of skills/knowledge on part of the student designers, but by the nature of the way the act...
Conference Paper
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This poster looks at students’ productive tinkering in a design activity. We analyze the emergence of a student-generated task and how the process of tinkering supported students in making progress in the task. In design activities, systematic, planned approaches are often valued over tinkering, a process which shortcuts that kind of analytical thi...
Conference Paper
Many prominent lines of research on students' reasoning and conceptual change within learning sciences and physics education research have not attended to the role of learners' affect or emotions in the dynamics of their conceptual reasoning. This is despite evidence that emotions are deeply integrated with cognition and documented associations bet...
Conference Paper
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Research in science and mathematics education suggests that the pedagogical practice of responsive teaching—teaching that notices, attends and responds to the substance (not merely the correctness) of students' thinking—supports student engagement in disciplinary practices. However, researchers in science education and researchers in mathematics ed...
Conference Paper
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"Responsive teaching," in which teachers attend and respond to the substance of students' ideas, is central to facilitating student learning through engagement in authentic disciplinary practices. In characterizing teachers' progress toward greater responsiveness, researchers typically code teachers' attention as shifting toward the intellectual co...
Article
Full-text available
Many prominent lines of research on student's reasoning and conceptual change within learning sciences and physics education research have not attended to the role of learners' affect or emotions in the dynamics of their conceptual reasoning. This is despite evidence from psychology and cognitive- and neuro- sciences that emotions are deeply integr...
Article
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Many science education researchers have argued that learners' commitment to a substance (matter-based) ontology impedes the learning of scientific concepts that scientists typically conceptualize as processes or interactions, such as such as force, electric current, and heat. By this account, students' tendency to classify these entities as substan...
Article
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Much research in engineering and physics education has focused on improving students’ problem-solving skills. This research has led to the development of step-by-step problem-solving strategies and grading rubrics to assess a student’s expertise in solving problems using these strategies. These rubrics value “communication” between the student’s qu...
Conference Paper
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In this paper, we present the case of Estevan, an eighth-grader from Honduras whose interest in science lies primarily at the intersection of personal epistemology and identity. Drawing on video data from classroom interactions as well as interviews with Estevan and his teacher, Ms. K, we show how Estevan's passionate engagement in sensemaking abou...
Conference Paper
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The complexity of thermodynamics challenges many students as well as faculty. Understanding what a partial derivative represents may be key to reducing the anxiety associated with this topic. In this session, participants engaged with a sequence of activities designed to elucidate the mathematics of thermodynamics through multiple representations o...
Article
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Current conceptions of expert problem solving depict physical/conceptual reasoning and formal mathematical reasoning as separate steps: a good problem solver first translates a physical understanding into mathematics, then performs mathematical/symbolic manipulations, then interprets the mathematical solution physically. However, other research sug...
Article
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Researchers have argued against deficit-based explanations of students' troubles with mathematical sense-making, pointing instead to factors such as epistemology: students' beliefs about knowledge and learning can hinder them from activating and integrating productive knowledge they have. In this case study of an engineering major solving problems...
Conference Paper
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DICE (the DSPCAD Integrative Command Line Environment) is a package of utilities that facilitates efficient management of software projects. Key areas of emphasis in DICE are cross-platform operation, support for projects that integrate heterogeneous programming languages, and support for applying and integrating different kinds of design and testi...
Article
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We appreciate Professor Slotta's responding to our critique (Slotta, this issue) and the editors' providing him and us space in the Journal of the Learning Sciences for this exchange. It is often difficult to understand subtle new ideas without seeing them defended against misinterpretations. If we have misunderstood Chi's ideas, then we believe ot...
Conference Paper
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This paper empirically argues for a closer examination of what we wish to retain when we speak of “retention” in engineering. We present and interpret data from clinical interviews and classroom video of “Michael,” a student who feels marginalized by an engineering program that undervalues him because of his stance toward knowledge. Michael is a so...
Conference Paper
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Researchers have argued for students' epistemology as connected to their affect, but at a coarse grain-size-treating epistemology as a belief or stance toward a discipline, and an emotional stance as applied broadly to a discipline or classroom culture. A second, emerging line of research, however, shows that a student can shift between multiple lo...
Article
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Research has linked a student's affect to her epistemology (Boaler & Greeno, 2000), but those constructs often apply broadly to a discipline and/or classroom culture. Independently, an emerging line of research shows that a student in a given classroom and discipline can shift between multiple locally coherent epistemological stances (Hammer, Elby,...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have argued against deficit-based explanations of students' troubles with mathematical sense-making, pointing instead to factors such as epistemology: students' beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning can hinder them from activating and integrating productive knowledge they have. But such explanations run the risk of substitu...
Article
Full-text available
There are ongoing divisions in the learning sciences between perspectives that treat cognition as occurring within individual minds and those that treat it as irreducibly distributed or situated in material and social contexts. We contend that accounts of individual minds as complex systems are theoretically continuous with distributed and situated...
Article
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Physics makes powerful use of mathematics, yet the way this use is made is often poorly understood. Professionals closely integrate their mathematical symbology with physical meaning, resulting in a powerful and productive structure. But because of the way the cognitive system builds expertise through binding, experts may have difficulty in unpacki...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Researchers have argued against deficit-based explanations of students' troubles with mathematical sense-making, pointing instead to factors such as epistemology: students' beliefs about knowledge and learning can hinder them from activating and integrating productive knowledge they have. But such explanations run the risk of substituting an episte...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the dynamics of student behaviors (posture, gesture, vocal register, visual focus) and the substance of their reasoning during collaborative work on inquiry-based physics tutorials. Scherr has characterized student activity during tutorials as observable clusters of behaviors separated by sharp transitions, and has argued that these...
Article
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We investigate the dynamics of how graduate students coordinate their mathematics and physics knowledge within the context of solving a homework problem for a plasma physics survey course. Students were asked to obtain the complex dielectric function for a plasma with a specified distribution function and find the roots of that expression. While al...
Article
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In a series of well-known papers, Chi and Slotta (Chi, 1992; Chi & Slotta, 1993; Chi, Slotta & de Leeuw, 1994; Slotta, Chi & Joram, 1995; Chi, 2005; Slotta & Chi, 2006) have contended that a reason for students' difficulties in learning physics is that they think about concepts as things rather than as processes, and that there is a significant bar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In a series of well-known papers, Chi and Slotta (Chi & Slotta, 1993; Chi, Slotta & de Leeuw, 1994; Chi, 2005; Slotta & Chi, 2006) have suggested that one reason for students' difficulties in learning physics is that they think about concepts in terms of 'things' rather than 'processes', and that there is a significant barrier between these two 'on...
Article
Full-text available
The optical properties of a gas of laser-pulse exploded clusters are determined by the time evolving polarizabilities of individual clusters. In turn, the polarizability of an individual cluster is determined by the time evolution of individual electrons within the cluster’s electrostatic potential. We calculate the linear cluster polarizability us...
Article
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We study the effect of pulse duration on the heating of single van der Waals bound argon and deuterium clusters by a strong laser field using a two-dimensional (2D) electrostatic particle-in-cell (PIC) code in the range of laser-cluster parameters such that kinetic as well as hydrodynamic effects are active. Heating is dominated by a collisionless...
Article
Summary form only given. The optical properties of a gas of laser-pulse exploded clusters are determined by the time evolving polarizabilities of individual clusters. In turn, the polarizability of an individual cluster is determined by the time evolution of individual electrons within the cluster's electrostatic potential. These electrons can appe...
Conference Paper
form only given. Clusters are van der Waals bound solid density atomic aggregates formed in cooled gas jets. When irradiated with laser pulses the clusters ionize and explode giving rise to interesting non-linear phenomenon such as generation of high-energy electrons and ions, higher harmonics, and fusion neutrons. Our simulations indicate that las...
Article
The time evolution of the polarizability of femtosecond laser-heated clusters leads to pulse self-focusing. The microscopics of this effect and its applications will be described, one of which is extremely efficient generation of plasma waveguides.