Dr. Thacker is co-PI on two NSF grants aimed at redesigning the introductory algebra-based physics course, including the design of new units aimed specifically at the needs of students intending careers in the health sciences. One grant, "Workshop Physics with Health Science Applications" (NSF #9981031), is a redesign of Workshop Physics (1) with added units aimed at students in the health sciences. The course is taught in a laboratory (no lecture and no text), with all the materials on the computers in class (and materials that can be accessed online). Click here to see curriculum. Students work in groups, developing models of the physical world based on experiments.
The second grant, "The Humanized Physics Project" (NSF DUE #0088780), seeks to change in a significant way the teaching of the algebra-based introductory physics course. Physics topics in the course are motivated by making relevant connections to human body functioning and human activities. It is a major redesign of the algebra-based physics course. The webpage for this project http://www.doane.edu/hpp.
(1) Priscilla W. Laws, Workshop Physics, (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 1999)