I was looking for something in my storeroom earlier today and stumbled upon my old College Physics textbook. Seven hundred pages of pure applied brutality that every science and engineering student had to complete.
Physics I was the course that sent a large portion of my freshman college class for greener pastures over at the business school. This happened despite the fact that almost every student had taken a high school physics course, so this was the second time through this material.
If my recollection serves me correctly, Physics instruction was supposed to go something like this. The student was supposed to read one or more sections of the textbook every week and attend a lecture given by the professor elucidating the sections we were to have read. A few dozen problems from those sections were assigned to us to work out. Then we attended three hours of recitation classes given by graduate students who worked through some of the problems we had been assigned to make sure we understood what was going on.
This brutal pace kept up for fourteen weeks and we covered nearly the entire textbook. During that time, we worked through hundreds and hundreds of problems. We were permitted to take into each exam one sheet of paper with whatever we could fit thereon. Otherwise, the exams were closed book. Nonetheless, the average grade for each exam was almost always less than 50%.
Here's my question.
How could one possibly teach an inquiry-based (problem-based learning) Physics course and possibly hope to get through more than say a quarter of the syllabus of a lecture-based course? I don't even see how this might work for a high school level course.
Update: Based on Stephen Downes' comment, I sense some confusion. I consider this to be a direct instruction/lecture based course not an inquiry based course. The pace is brutal for a lecture based course. I can't imagine covering this amount of content in a true inquiry based course.