CHEM101 Focus: Chemistry Fundamentals
Silvia Porello, Bryn Mawr College
This introductory, half-semester course is designed as preparation for Chemistry 103, for students with little background in chemistry or a weaker background in math. Sylvia will be using the OLI Review of Stoichiometry as a means for students to work independently on learning the basic concepts of chemistry, so that instead of lecturing she can use class time to focus on developing students’ problem-solving techniques and mathematical skills.
CHEM103 General Chemistry I
Jonas Goldsmith and Silvia Porello, Bryn Mawr College
This lecture and lab-based course serves as the introduction to chemistry for students who have some high school background in chemistry. Jonas’ students will be working with the OLI Review of Stoichiometry alongside the units in commercial software bundled with their textbook that cover the same concepts. The OLI module uses a real-world scenario to discuss these concepts and structure exercises, and we will be studying student responses to this pedagogical approach and the impact it has on student performance and engagement.
CHEM103 and 104: General Chemistry I and II
Krynn Lukacs, Bryn Mawr College
Chemistry 103 and 104 is a sequence of introductory chemistry courses open to students who have scored proficiently on the chemistry placement test. As Chemistry 103 and 104 are introductory lab courses, one challenge with teaching the course is students’ confidence in their math abilities. To help students become more comfortable in their abilities and provide reviews of various math concepts, Krynn may develop a math diagnostic test on Moodle, as well as provide students with links to open-source drills with which they can practice some of their math skills. Further resources may include OLI materials that can be used as review of chemistry topics or pre-lab exercises for students.
Chem 111: Chemistry 111 – General Chemistry
David Henderson, Trinity College, Fall 2012
Introductory chemistry is a course taken by all science majors and pre-health students. This course is offered every fall term, and is used to attract potential Chemistry or other natural science majors. There are usually 5-6 sections of the course, and each section has about 30-40 students. The course is designed to introduce students to chemical science and provide the mathematical and conceptual framework for further study. The professor uses the “Atoms First Approach” textbook, which develops concepts in the historical order in an effort to highlight how we know what we know rather than just teaching the core knowledge.
Chemistry is a discipline learned by practice, and classroom time is better spent when Professor Henderson has a sense of how students are doing. The online system allows him to identify areas that need clarification and students who may fall behind. It also allows him to focus more on problem solving, rather than just lecturing.
The textbook includes an access key to the Online Web-based Learning on chemistry at UMass. This system proves very effective, and correlates with Zuhmdahl’s textbook.
Chemistry 121: Introductory Chemistry
Scott Cummings, Kenyon College, Fall 2012
The learning goals of Introductory Chemistry included: A) understanding the chemical principles underlying the topics of: reactions and stoichiometry, solutions, bonding and structure, gases, chemical equilibrium, acid-base chemistry, thermochemistry, thermodynamics, electrochemistry and introductory quantum and atomic theory; B) applying this knowledge to a wide range of chemistry examples in order to sharpen problem-solving skills. As an introductory course, there is a spread in students’ preparation, native abilities, and interests.
Professor Cummings’ goal was to reverse the current mode of group-paced content overview in class followed by individual problem solving out of class. Students will have access to short modules that are 10-15 minutes long and explain one core concept or skill in introductory chemistry. Professor Cummings designed the modules so that questions that test students’ understanding of new content were inserted between sections of video and are available through a complementary online quiz. Each question in the assessment led to another section. If a student answered correctly, it allowed the student to proceed to the next segment. The professor used PowerPoint to prepare video files with animated text and images, embedded live videos, and slide advance buttons that allow students to control the pace. Core content quiz questions were embedded in the PowerPoint slides or launched through a linked on Moodle or Sapling Learning, a professional course management site.
Chemistry 110: Chemical Composition and Structure
Jeffrey Bartz, Kalamazoo College, Spring 2013
Chemical Composition and Structure is the first of a two-term general chemistry sequence. The learning goals are extensive and based on both Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians and the course textbook. Chem 110 is a gateway course for majors in biology, chemistry, and physics as well as students in pre-engineering and pre-health tracks. Typical students in Chem 110 are first-year students.
Professor Bartz is exploring implementing 1) a flipped lecture, 2) OLI, or (3) both lecture flipping and OLI. OLI Chemistry I discusses concepts that are tested on Exam 1 in Chem 110. One idea is to offer extra credit to make up lost Exam 1 points by working through OLI Chemistry I. Flipped lecture also forces students to be prepared for class. Adding a lecture podcast would push more of the low-level content out of the classroom and save valuable time for higher level tasks.
Chemistry 124: Biophysical & Medicinal Chemistry (Introductory Chemistry II lecture)
Sheryl Hemkin, Kenyon College, Spring 2013
This course is the second semester of Kenyon College’s general chemistry sequence and enrolls about 70 students (in two separate classes). Overall, the goal is to provide students with a solid to continue their studies in the sciences, or if they choose to leave the sciences, the course should give them the ability to be a savvier consumer of news reports, products and services. This course is most often taken by aspiring chemistry, and biochemistry majors, and also required of biology, and neuroscience majors. In addition, students fulfilling prerequisites associated with graduate or professional school, and those completing the college’s natural science distribution requirements.
Professor Hemkin hopes incorporating computer-based learning will give students another way to envision and understand the chemical concepts discussed in lecture. The Gaussian software, which is freely available to students using the campus computers, allows students to visualize the molecular orbitals in 3-D. In addition, it allows students to rotate the molecule giving them a more tactile understanding to the words and pictures found in the text. Professor Hemkin will use difficult online quizzes to gauge students understanding, and assess those that are having difficulties with the material. Professor Hemkin hopes she can create additional problems that will give immediate feedback to students if answers are incorrect, so that it can be used as a learning tool, and not an assessment. In the future, Professor Hemkin hopes to incorporate Sapling Learning’s online homework system into the course to get students more engaged in active learning.
Chemistry 225: Organic Chemistry I
Benjamin Gorske, Bowdoin College, Spring 2013
Organic Chemistry I is an intermediate level course that often serves as the first required intermediate level course taken by chemistry, biochemistry, and biology majors. One main learning goal of the course is to organize and use conceptual frameworks to solve problems. The course is required for all chemistry, biochemistry, and biology majors, and these students make up the bulk of the enrollment. A large percentage of the students have declared an interest in continuing on to medical school.
Professor Gorske believes a blended learning approach would be very useful in providing real-time feedback to students in these areas; furthermore, this approach would also provide him with information as to how the class is advancing and/or struggling as whole, which could then be used to focus subsequent lectures. It is his hope that implementing blended learning approaches in this course will provide students with an enhanced return on their study time in terms of their ability to solve problems, especially those relating to chemical synthesis and reaction mechanisms.
He will also be using the WileyPlus, the online materials designed to be used with Klein’s Organic Chemistry, which include “Reaction Explorer” and “Synthesis Explorer” modules that provide continuous feedback in an exploratory setting. In addition, many of the problem sets that can be assigned within this online environment include real-time feedback for common missteps. He hopes to develop online concept mapping tools that will allow students to construct both individual and group concept maps that would both track how students are connecting concepts and that could also be used when addressing new homework problems.
Chem 335: Chemical Thermodynamics & Kinetics
Sheryl Hemkin, Kenyon College, Fall 2012
Thermodynamics & Kinetics is an introduction to physical chemistry and typically enrolls about 25 students. The goal of the course is to provide students with a strong foundation in thermodynamics and kinetics such that they can apply their knowledge to a diverse array of problems within chemistry and other fields such as biology and physics. Students that enroll in this course have typically completed General Chemistry and have an interest in the intersection of chemistry, biology and physics.
Professor Hemkin wanted to use computer-based methods to help students brush up on their mathematics skills, which are needed in both classroom and homework. Simulation using numerical methods illustrates molecular differences that may not be apparent in the textbook or homework problems given. The software utilized in modules such as Berkeley Madonna, Stella, and Gaussian allows for simulation, and is freely available to students using on-campus computers. Professor Hemkin also hoped she could alleviate the challenges of posting mathematical symbols, and other operations on the quizzes. Moodle Quizzing does not have a great way to incorporate mathematical symbols into all its entry features. Professor Hemkin will be conducting further investigation to help re-frame the existing quizzing structure on Moodle.