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Advanced Spectroscopy and Forensic Analysis Enhancing Student Engagement, Skills and Practical Experience Through Project-based Learning Dr Falko Drijfhout,

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Presentation on theme: "Advanced Spectroscopy and Forensic Analysis Enhancing Student Engagement, Skills and Practical Experience Through Project-based Learning Dr Falko Drijfhout,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Advanced Spectroscopy and Forensic Analysis Enhancing Student Engagement, Skills and Practical Experience Through Project-based Learning Dr Falko Drijfhout, Professor Mark Ormerod and Dr Vladimir Zholobenko School of Physical and Geographical Sciences

2 Problem Linking lecture material with applications (e.g. Lab based work) Apply knowledge - especially in problem solving situations Big gap between knowledge obtained in lectures and “real life” scenarios

3 Project-Based Learning What is it? – Project-based learning is an individual or group activity that goes on over a period of time, resulting in a product, presentation, or performance. – Usually with the use of technical equipment or an IT component

4 Project-Based Learning Advantages? – Ability to apply knowledge. – Motivation to learn material when it is put in a context in which they see its relevance (O’Hara et al., 1999). – Students often engage better when the outcome is unknown. Disadvantages? – Carrying out project without enough knowledge. – Unable to interpret results.

5 Does it work? CHE as a case: – Relative new module started in – Several changes carried out over the years – Main problem was the gap between lab mark and exam mark – Introduced Project-based learning in – End of : Average Lab mark: 70% vs. average exam mark 42%

6 Problems specific to this module Students engage very well in the laboratory work Feedback from students is very positive

7 Some Feedback Well organized, good scripts (6) Labs related to lectures and helped my understanding (5) Helpful staff and demonstrators (6) Easy to ask questions – got helpful answers Labs were interesting, enjoyable (3) Not enough information given, sometimes confusing (mini-project) (6) Provide handouts on how to use equipment

8 Problems specific to this module Students engage very well in the laboratory work Feedback from students is very positive They all enjoy the lab work BUT…… ……. exam mark is always very low!

9 Possible solutions Improve students’ – problem solving skills – understanding of instruments used in the lab  Project-Based learning ….. …… with some modifications – Start with small exercises – Use of simple data collection software (LoggerPro)

10 LoggerPro “Logger Pro software provides an inexpensive, user-friendly way for students to collect and analyse data with computers.” “Logger Pro is the most popular data- collection program in science and math education because students find our software easier to learn than other data-collection programs.” “Students can make copies to use at home and not have to pay extra for that.” Quotes from the LoggerPro Website:

11 Vernier LabPro

12 Exercises Experiment 1: Evaluation of the Gas Chromatograph Experiment 2: Small internal competition Experiment 3: Chromatographic analysis of Petroleum hydrocarbons in soil Mini project Visit to Alcontrol (Quality control lab for Environment and Food testing)

13 Mini-project Analysis of wastewater for the presence of pharmaceutical drugs Wastewater collected from Strongford Sewage Treatment Works in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent Several analytical techniques were used to – concentrate sample (SPE) and – analyse the chemicals (GC/MS) Group lab report

14 Assessment Formative assessment – Oral presentation on method development (competition) Summative assessment: – Exam, proforma, lab report, class tests – BUT also peer assessment  students assess their peers’ contribution to the lab report

15 Peer assessment Form

16 Self Assessment Form

17 Feedback from students - Lab Well organized (5) Labs related to lectures and helped my understanding (8) Competition was really interesting/fun (4) Helpful staff and demonstrators (5) Easy to ask questions – got helpful answers Labs were interesting, enjoyable (2) Good step-by-step guidance for the labs, lab scripts well detailed (4) Practicals are always fun (2) Liked using the GC’s

18 Feedback from students - Lectures Good content and organisation (10) Good lectures, high quality (5) Very good teacher quality (2) Detailed/good lecture notes (3) Lots of information available giving wide knowledge of forensic techniques (3) Chromatography and microscopy were interesting (5) Developed on from previous knowledge/skills Visiting the ALcontrol lab helped to get perspective (4)

19 Assessment Summary YearClass tests Lab report ExamOverall mark # 1 st class 2006/ students (13.4%) 2007/ students (1.8%) 2008/ students (24.5%)

20 Assessment Summary YearClass tests Lab report ExamOverall mark # 1 st class 2006/ students (13.4%) 2007/ students (1.8%) 2008/ students (24.5%)

21 Evaluation Very positive! Students were forced (but in a positive way) to (a) think about and (b) discuss the principles of chromatography Successful incorporation of Level I material in Level II – Developed on from previous knowledge/skills Students enjoyed it!! – Liked using the GC’s – Good that we had peer assessment

22 Next Year?? Further close the gap between exam marks and lab marks (in course assessment) Focus was on chromatography, next year we will try to incorporate mass spectrometry Problem-based learning in addition to Project- based learning???


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