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Who are we/am I?

Chris Creagh's picture

At the moment there are three of us, me, Dr. Christine Creagh (the person with the Fellowship), Associate Prof. Rob Phillips (critical friend and consultant on matters of education and the internet) and Allan Boyd (web dude extraordinaire). We have a few other regular contributors lined up for when we get into full swing and as they join us I will ask them to introduce themselves and I am sure Rob and Allan will put up a post about themselves soon. So to me...

I started my undergraduate physics degree in 1991 when I was around 36years old. Prior to that I had enjoyed physics in high school and then became a Diagnostic Radiographer after 3 short years studying at Curtin University (then WAIT). It was a good job, good pay but on-call for emergencies was a bit stressful. Anyway I worked with the Med Dep long enough to get pro-rata long service leave when I left. My next serious job was as a high-school lab assistant which I found to be a very constructive and creative experience. Basically I had access to all the toys! After that there was about 10years as a stay-at-home mum in various cities around the world.

Back to 1991. I wanted to become a librarian but you need a degree in something else to do that. So I chose a passion from long ago as the starting degree, Physics, and somehow never managed to get back to the library. I blame my undergraduate degree choice on Mr. Nuffield and his physics course which was running in my high school in the late 1960s. It was inspiring! Anyway as you have already surmised I got through undergrad, honours and eventually did a PhD in physics. Right back at the start of my undergrad studies though I thought it might be interesting to do the concurrent Grad. Dip. Ed. that Murdoch Uni was offering and this is where I picked up my passion for teaching and engaging in it as a reflective practitioner.

I have been lucky/unlucky enough to teach first year physics to a mixed discipline group of students since the start of my academic career. Lucky in that it has always posed challenges which have kept me searching for ways to engage students in their studies. Unlucky for the same reasons in that this continuous quest takes time, and time is a limited resource, so something else in an academic’s life suffers as a consequence. However I am now playing the end game, looking towards retirement and I would like to tidy up all the loose ends of the things I have been doing, give away what I can, encourage where I can, and of course the ultimate goal, leave the place a slightly better place than I found it.

So I hope you find what we will create here useful. I hope it brings people who teach physics together so that they can support each other. For we are a widely scattered community across the institutions of the world where the academic sitting next to you may not understand the language of physics education.



I'm Allan Boyd. I'm the Physcom website developer.

I've been building the internet since 1998. I run my own web design/development business: radicalhack.com. I've built so many sites I have lost count - you can see some examples of my work here: http://radicalhack.com.

I mostly build with Drupal -  a popular open source Content Management System powering thousands of sites across the web. https://www.drupal.org/

I began designing and developing this website for Chris late in 2014. What started as a simple upgrade and rebuild of the initial WIO website (http://workitoutts.com) has slowly evolved into a robust Resource and Community Forum project. There has been a lot of testing and tweaking throughout 2015 to bring the site inline with the scope.

Rob Phillips has been invaluable throughout the development process. He has a good knowledge about how Drupal works and without his guidance (and patience) we could not have come so far!

Over several months we discussed how the site would be used, and ways in which content could be displayed. Using Drupal I installed several versions of the Forum and Taxonomy software to get the right configuration. The two parts of the site - Resources and Community need to "talk" to each other. We use a taxonomy/term reference system to help display various bits of content across the site.

So far so good.

Web development is an organic process, and often it is not clear what a website wants to do until people start using it! But I reckon we are nearly there.

All we need now is for folks to add more content. To engage and comment. The more topics and comments there are, the better I can create displays which match the content. To get involved, sign up by clicking the button below!


Thanks and enjoy!


Allan Boyd

Rob Phillips's picture

I'm Rob Phillips. I'm a semi-retired academic, doing projects and some online teaching because it's interesting and enjoyable. I've worked in educational technology since 1992, after an earlier career as a theoretical chemistry researcher, and subsequently as a mainframe systems programmer.

My substantive role was as an Educational Designer, working with academics to design technology-enhanced learning environments that students can learn from. I've worked across most disciplines over the years, and I'm currently developing a training module for paediatricians and allied health professionals about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. After many years, I'm also doing the technical development on this project, which has been a frustrating, but sometimes fun experience.

I'm not a practicing Physicist, but I possibly remember more Physics than I do Chemistry, despite that being my undergraduate major. My comments on the forum are more likely about how to teach difficult concepts, rather than the concepts themselves...

I am working as an online tutor for the School of Education at Curtin University for units offered through Open Universities Australia. I teach first years from diverse backgounds about 'living and learnng about the digital world' and about scientific inquiry skills. In this latter unit, students inquire into a sustainability or environmental issue of their own choice, and I facilitate their journey through this investigation.