Chemistry

courses we are working on

Status as of May 2016:
Course Learning goals New Assessments Improved Methods
CHEM 121: Structural Chemistry, with Application to Chemistry of the Elements (Lab component)
(Oct ‘08 start)

Faculty: Sophia Nussbaum
STLF: Jennifer Duis


Paper (JCE 2013): A Process for Developing Introductory Science Laboratory Learning Goals To Enhance Student Learning and Instructional Alignment
Course-level goals:  Outline from CHEM 123, focus on transferable skill acquisition

Experiment-level goals: process for development established

Course-level outline and experiment-level development process appropriate for the entire lab program
Attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM) given 3 Terms

Development and implementation of end-of-term technique assessments:

— Year 1: TA visual assessment of technique with provided guide

— Year 2: Visual assessment guide refined and technique questions added to the end-of-term quiz.



Alterations made to increase alignment with 1st-year lab goals:

— Marks re-allocated to increase emphasis on maintaining a lab notebook.

— Directions on maintaining a lab notebook expanded in lab manual.

— Brief "taking observations" module developed and added during check-in.

— Peer marking of observations using supplied templates added to each experiment

— Technique modules will be expanded to include choosing glassware for analytical vs. non-analytical purposes.

— A new experiment was piloted

— "Pair-technique-ing" (ala comp. sci. pair programming) was piloted with a small subset of students.

CHEM 123: Physical and Organic Chemistry (Lab component)
(July ‘08 start)

Faculty: Sophia Nussbaum, Laurel Schafer, Jackie Stewart
STLF: Jennifer Duis

The First Year Assessment sub-committee of the Chemistry Lab Committee oversaw this project. The sub-committee members were: Brian Cliff (chair), Guillaume Bussiere, Ed Grant, Laurel Schafer, Vishakha Monga, Sophia Nussbaum, John Sherman, Robin Stoodley, Nancy Vered, Peter Wassell, and Dana Zendrowski.

Poster (CWSEI EOY 2009): Instruments for assessing practical skill development in a first-year chemistry laboratory course
Course-level goals: working version, inspired by Rice University’s interdisciplinary science lab learning objectives, approved by Chemistry Lab Committee

Experiment-level goals: (developed from existing course materials) 4 of 4 experiments complete and approved by Chemistry Lab Committee
Chemistry background and demographics survey developed and given 2 Terms.

Attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM) given 2 Terms.

Pre-/Post-Lab skills survey (written) developed & given 4 Terms. "LG use" questions added.

Refined hands-on lab skills assessment implemented 2 terms.

Assessment of experiment specific learning goal achievement (surveys, observations, interviews); 3rd round of refinement based on expert & student validation

Learning Goals incorporated into lab manual (under refinement).

Alterations made to increase alignment with learning goals:

— Marks re-allocated to increase emphasis on maintaining a lab notebook.

— Directions on maintaining a lab notebook expanded in lab manual.

— Expanded quizzes will be introduced to test technical skills.

— Addition of manual dilutions to electrochemistry experiment to increase technical experience and conceptual understanding of the effect of dilution on voltage.

— Lab final modified to test students' "solo" completion of an experimental design, recording of observations and data, and evaluation of skills using a pipet and weighing by differences.

CHEM 211: Analytical Chemistry
(Spring 2013 start)

Faculty: Russ Algar, Anka Lekhi, José Rodríguez Nuñez
STLF: Jane Maxwell

Poster (Science Education Open House 2016): Pilot implementation of an online homework system for practice and feedback on decision-making skills

Talk (CSC 97th Canadian Chemistry Conference, June 2014): Development of a Concept Inventory for Measuring Learning Gains in Analytical Chemistry
Course-level learning goals developed in consultation with current and previous instructors of both CHEM 211 and 311

Topic-level learning objectives have been revised through an iterative process, with slight modifications each term. There now appears to be consensus that the current learning goals meet the needs of all instructors.
Mid-term survey of student perceptions of instructional activities and tools.

End-of-term surveys probing student perceptions of the course and the discipline of analytical chemistry

Ongoing: Development of an analytical chemistry concept inventory
Lecture:
Fall 2013: Introduction of concept questions and clickers, and increased use of team-based-learning (TBL) activities.

Winter 2014: Introduction of clickers to support new and existing concept questions and class activities. Continued use of TBLs. Short, in-class writing assignments connecting topics to big-picture learning goals.

Winter 2015: Continued use of iclickers. Introduction of in-class worksheets for problem solving related to the equilibrium unit.

Lab:
Increased emphasis on lab skills via an early-term lab skills test (including a remedial intervention) and TA grading of lab skills based observation

Fall 2013: Introduction and evaluation of a new guided-inquiry experiment in which students design, build, and test a simple photometer

Fall 2014: Introduction of a new guided-inquiry experiment based on comparing instrumental and classical methods of analysis.
CHEM 311: Instrumental Analytical Chemistry
(Spring 2013 start)

Faculty: Dan Bizzotto
STLF: Jane Maxwell

Course-level learning goals developed in consultation with current and previous instructors of both CHEM 211 and 311

Detailed learning objectives emphasizing core competencies required to achieve course-level goals
2014: Two-stage review activity probing students’ background knowledge of key concepts from 1st year physics and CHEM 211 administered on first day of class

Introduction of a two-stage midterm exam

2015: Continued use of two-stage review and midterm exam

Modified regular course assignments to include exam-type questions (marked for effort rather than correctness), based students’ feedback.

2016: Continued use of two-stage review and midterm exam. Continued use of revised course assignments.
2014: Increased use of in-class activities, including clicker questions and predictions related to demonstrations and simulations

Group activities emphasizing the common decision-making and evaluation processes that link the different topic areas of the course

2015: Continued and expanded use of in-class activities, clickers, demonstrations, and simulations

Piloting a suite of tutorials focused on high-level problem-solving skills for the new course tutorials

2016: Implemented tutorial activities
CHEM 315/325/335/345: Chemistry Integrated Laboratory
(Spring 2013 start)

Faculty: J. Bates, G. Bussiere, T. Kunz, V. Monga, J. Rodríguez Núñez, C. Rogers, R. Stoodley
STLF: Elizabeth Gillis, Kerry Knox (2013-2014)

Poster (Science Education Open House 2016): Developing the third-year integrated chemistry laboratory: Putting the pieces together

Talk (Variety in Chemistry Education & Physics Higher Education Conference, August 2014): The use of cognitive task analysis to inform the development of a laboratory course in chemistry
Course-level learning goals produced based on framework developed by previous CWSEI project in CHEM 123 April 2013:
— Survey probing student perceptions of course (post-course)
— Attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM)

September 2013:
— Survey probing student perceptions of orientation to course and expectations (pre-course)
— Attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM)

December 2013:
Survey probing student perceptions of new online safety training module

April and December 2014:
Survey probing student perceptions of course (post-course)

September 2014 and January 2015:
Survey probing student perceptions of orientation to course and expectations (pre-course)

Ongoing:
Analysis of student lab reports with respect to progress towards achieving learning goals

2015-2016: Lab report “wrappers” to assess student learning from oral and written laboratory reports.
Learning goals incorporated into lab manual

Analysis of course content for purpose of informing future development in terms of:
— skills and techniques covered
— cognitive tasks involved

Dry lab workshop introduced focused on organic chemistry structures

Pilot project in oral lab assessments for multiple experiments.
CHEM 341: Global Challenges: A Chemical Perspective
(Spring 2013 start)

Faculty: Gregory Dake
STLF: Elizabeth Gillis, Kerry Knox (2013-2014)

Poster (Science Education Open House 2015): Using Course Committees as Student Feedback

PDF Poster (CWSEI EOY 2014): Research-based instructional strategies in a course on the role of chemistry in solving global challenges
Course-level learning goals produced April 2013:
Survey probing student perceptions of course and attitudes towards role of chemistry in society (post-course)

January 2014 and January 2015:
Survey probing student attitudes towards learning chemistry and role of chemistry in society (pre-course)

2015:
Exams replaced with two-stage exams (total of three exams)

Student course committee created to provide continuous feedback on the course.
Introduction of in-class interactive activities to provide enhanced opportunities for discussion and peer-instruction, including:
— jigsaw activities
— small-group discussion
— whole-class discussion
— concept mapping

Introduction of semester-long group investigative research and communication project involving several opportunities for revising work based on feedback, peer review, and structured practice in team-work

Sample problems offered as additional resource
CHEM 113, 121, 415, 425, 449: Attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM) administered Spring ’09 (CHEM 113 & 121 also participated in the written Lab Skills Survey).

CHEM 233: Detailed learning objectives, attitudes survey (C-LASS CHEM), “flipped classroom” approach.

CHEM 425/448: Engaging students in cutting-edge chemical education research, report writing, and presentations.