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Use of Technology in
General Chemistry
Course Redesign
David V. Dearden
Brigham Young University
1
General Chemistry
Course Structure
Conceptual, “atoms first” approach
No concurrent lab
Mixed application for mixed clientele:
1-semester, stand-alone course for
engineers
first of a 2-semester series in general
chemistry for many others
2
General Chemistry Students
Pre-professional (30%), engineering (40%),
science majors (15%), others (15%)
~85% have had high school chemistry, but
course is taught with no prerequisites
Typical enrollment 2500 students/year
250 students/lecture (3x/week)
25 students/recitation section (2x/week)
Dropout/withdraw/fail typically < 10%
3
Challenges
Large sections
little personal interaction
inability to give adequate, personal
feedback
diversity of student preparation/background
Course content (volume!)
4
Goals in Using Technology
Engage students during lecture
“I love
technology”
Give individual feedback
Do this without
sacrificing content
increasing instructor load
I use technology primarily for pedagogical reasons;
assessment is a distant secondary purpose
this avoids potential concerns about security /cheating
5
Redesign Strategies We
Have Used
Use of recitation sections
Use of Blackboard / “Micro Exams”
Use of Chem Tutor
Use of iClicker quizzes
Use of online homework (Mastering
Chemistry)
6
In-Class Interactive
Quiz Systems
Keep students engaged
Easy way to track attendance
Allow instructor to monitor learning and adapt
teaching
Costs to students
Requires change in teaching methods
7
iClicker Adoption
(all voluntary)
HITT at BYU was first used in Physics (adopted in
Chemistry soon thereafter)
Requires IR receiver installation and line-of-sight;
nice recording/grading package
Turning Point adopted university-wide
Requires PowerPoint; Windows-centric; relatively
expensive; grading unwieldy
Transition to iClicker about 2 years ago
Good combination of low cost, small tech footprint,
features; grading package weak
8
iClicker “Best Practices”
Spread questions through lecture
Mix “participation” questions with “right
answer” questions
Get students to teach each other
Re-poll to assess learning
Adjust lecture based on student understanding
Allow ample “drops”
Transmitter registration
9
iClicker Outcomes
Students generally liked using the system
Attendance improved markedly (from about
60% at end of term before using iClickers to
~90% after using them)
My teaching style has changed as a result of
using the immediate feedback
10
Online Homework
Use provided problems or write your own (or
use a mixture)
Gives graded feedback
can be in form of “hints” or answer-based
instruction
Instructor can monitor
Computer does the grading
Learning curve for students and instructor
11
MasteringChemistry
Implementation
Faculty participation was voluntary in Fall ’07
By Winter ’08, all sections had adopted
Ranged from 1st time teachers to a retired
faculty member who returned to teach
“Easier than I thought it would be”
Use has since spread to the follow-on course
(Chem 106) and to 2 courses in the GOB
series
12
MasteringChemistry
“Best Practices”
Use the publisher-provided best practices
Have students do introductory exercises
Allow ample retries with small penalties for looking at hints
points are like candy!
give most of the credit for completing
Allow ample “drops”
Be flexible with due dates early on
Leave problems available for review
Work problems yourself before allowing student access
13
Student Perceptions
Dearden General Chemistry, Fall 2007
"How helpful to you is each of the following in learning general chemistry"
60.00
Percent answering (of ~450 students)
lectures
3.74 ± 0.90
50.00
recitation
3.97 ± 1.04
40.00
end-of-chapter problems
2.32 ± 1.23
30.00
MasteringChemistry
4.35 ± 0.95
20.00
ChemTutor
10.00
4.10 ± 1.09
Textbook
0.00
1
2
3
4
Effectiveness ranking (1=low, 5=high)
5
3.38 ± 1.07
14
Exam Scores
Before & After Mastering Chemistry
95.0
% Mean score on exams
85.0
75.0
54.5 ± 24.5%
65.0
W07 Mean (Before)
F07 Mean (After)
55.0
60.6 ± 21.7%
45.0
35.0
25.0
Macro1
Macro2
Macro3
Final
15
Acknowledgments
BYU Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Chem 105 instructors
BYU Physical Science 100 program and
instructors
National Science Foundation
16
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