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GenChem ABOR Learner-Centered Education 2009 General Chemistry Redesign Department of Chemistry University of Arizona.

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Presentation on theme: "GenChem ABOR Learner-Centered Education 2009 General Chemistry Redesign Department of Chemistry University of Arizona."— Presentation transcript:

1 GenChem ABOR Learner-Centered Education 2009 General Chemistry Redesign Department of Chemistry University of Arizona

2 GenChem Developers Chemical Education Committee Steve Brown Andy Grall Anne Padias John Pollard Vicente Talanquer Wayne Wesolowski Support Graduate Teaching Assistants Teaching Service Office Prep Room

3 GenChem In the summer of 2007, our team started working in the redesign of the two-semester General Chemistry sequence for science and engineering majors to address the following problems: The Problems Weak correlation between the lecture and the laboratory courses. Lack of consistency among the different instructors. Limited contact between TAs and lecture instructors. Use of traditional lecture format to teach the courses. Very large discussion sections (~150 students). Lack of systematic, valid, and reliable assessment tools.

4 GenChem 1. Combine the lecture-lab courses into one. Course (4 credits) ~288 Lab/ Discussion Instructor TA Better correlation (same students in lecture and labs; clear association of TAs and instructors); More effective discussions; More efficient use of instructors and TAs time; The Proposal

5 GenChem 2.Homogenize the curriculum and the assessment practices among all course sections. Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4 Common Diagnostic Exam Common Final Exam Common Partial Exams Lecture Lab Common report structure, practicals, and rubrics. The Proposal Common on- line homework system Common Guiding Notes

6 GenChem 3.As mandated by the ABOR-LCE initiative, create a more leaner-centered environment in which students take more ownership in their own learning (active participation). The Proposal Collaborative small group work; Guided inquiry activities and experiments; Whole class interactions.

7 GenChem Timeline Pilot Test Spring 2008 Off-sequence First Semester CHEM 151 (3 lecture sections). Full Phase I Fall 2008 On-sequence First Semester CHEM 151 (7 lecture sections). Off-sequence Second Semester CHEM 152 (2 lecture sections). Full Phase II Spring 2009 CHEM 151/CHEM 152

8 GenChem Products Redesigned sequence; trimmed content; Common power point guides for first semester; On-line homework problem sets; Common diagnostic and four midterm exams; Lecture Revised/Adapted experiments; Common power point lab/discussion guides; Additional experiment notes; Revised lab manual; Common midterm and final practical exams; Laboratory

9 GenChem Impact on Learning CHEM 151 Total # of Students DiagnosticFinal Exam ACS Traditional % (SD = 17.7) 54.0% (SD = 16.3) Reformed Spring-Fall % (SD = 14.8) 59.3% (SD = 15.1) CHEM 152 Total # of Students Final Exam ACS Traditional (off-sequence) % (SD = 7.69) Reformed-Pilot Fall 2008 (off-sequence) % (SD = 11.6)

10 GenChem Impact on Performance Average Grade: 67.1% to 70.7%

11 GenChem Impact on Performance Average Grade: 64.4% to 68.1%

12 GenChem Improved Retention From 11.4% to 6.5% in CHEM 151. From 14.4% to 4.8% in CHEM 152. Failing Rates Withdrawal Rates From 6.49% to 4.96% in CHEM 151. From 8.86% to 6.31% in CHEM 152. We have not been able to assess the impact of the transformation on drop rates in a reliable way given the types of enrollment data collected by the UA.

13 GenChem Impact on Cost Savings Major cost savings were associated with the reduction in the number of course planning and student contact hours for faculty and lecturers. Planning and assessment time reduction: Common set of lecture notes, lab presentations, and multiple choice exams. Contact hours reduction: Graduate teaching assistants are now responsible for teaching the discussion sessions for the General Chemistry courses (integrated into the laboratory time).

14 GenChem Pedagogical Improvements A variety of on-line interactive simulations were made available to instructors and students to facilitate in-class activities and discussions. Laboratory activities were modified to create more opportunities for students to design experiments. In-classroom collaborative group activities were created/adapted and incorporated into the common weekly lecture and laboratory notes. Development and implementation of common midterm and final exams based on a common set of learning objectives for the two courses.

15 GenChem Team work highlighted the importance of having regular academic meetings to discuss different ideas and points of view about how to best teach the different topics. The development team has faced challenges in how to train and better support the work of new instructors and graduate teaching assistants who were not involved in the development of the project. The team recognized the importance of assigning course leaders who could help support the work of everyone involved. Implementation Issues

16 GenChem One of the major lessons learned during the implementation of the project is the central role that graduate teaching assistants play in the implementation and success of the new model. Observations of student work in the laboratory suggest that the seamless integration of experimental work and discussion sessions is a challenge for most graduate teaching assistants. The development team is currently discussing and exploring different options to solve this problem. Implementation Issues

17 GenChem Sustainability The Department of Chemistry at the University of Arizona fully supports the changes that were implemented and is committed to provide the resources needed to sustain the project. At this moment, all of the General Chemistry courses offered by the Department are being taught following the new format.

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