P893: Transforming the general chemistry laboratory program at a large research university

Author: Cherie L. Yestrebsky, University of Central Florida, USA

Co-Author: Erin K. H. Saitta, University of Central Florida, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:20 PM

Room: HON 148

Related Symposium: S64

The University of Central Florida has one of the largest student populations in the United States and offers many general chemistry laboratory courses taught by graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) every semester. Like many U.S. institutions, an assumption was made that Chemistry Department GTAs enter the program with knowledge of effective teaching and that they have retained the necessary chemistry knowledge to teach the courses. Additionally, the courses were taught as verification, or “cookbook,” style laboratories which encouraged a more passive learning environment, and did not promote critical thinking for both GTAs and students. A transformation project of the second semester General Chemistry Laboratory instruction was begun in 2011 with a focus on improving the learning experience for the undergraduate students and providing long-term training in teaching methods and professional development for the GTAs. The vision driving this change is that the faculty members in charge of these courses have two populations of students they are responsible for: the undergraduates taking the laboratory course and the GTAs teaching the courses. The transformation began with testing a guided-inquiry method of teaching the laboratories. With successful results from the initial tests, further implementation of this teaching method continued. Pre-semester GTA training has been developed and successfully implemented and this training is further supported by weekly meetings with GTAs (from 10 to 14) teaching as many as 26 sections of the course. This presentation will cover the entire process of this transformation and the observations of the success/challenges of its various components.

P699: Flipping a large general chemistry class: Comparisons of results with traditional lecture and suggestions for success

Author: Cherie L. Yestrebsky, University of Central Florida, USA


Date: 8/6/14

Time: 12:10 PM12:30 PM

Room: LTT 101

Related Symposium: S21

A study was done to ascertain the effectiveness of ‘flipping the classroom’ for very large, freshman chemistry classes at a large research university. The term ‘flipping the classroom’ refers to having recorded lectures available to students on-line and using class time for the instructor to work out extra examples and facilitate more interaction in problem solving. The study involved two very large classes (415 and 330 students) of second semester freshman chemistry. The class of 330 students served as the control class and was taught in the traditional lecture format normally utilized within the department. The class of 415 students was the test class and accessed all lectures (same lectures provided in-class to the control group) on-line with class time devoted to instructor led problem solving and examples. Results of the study show that the percentage of high final grades (‘A’ and ‘B’) increased in the test group compared to the control group but average performing students (final grade of ‘C’) decreased in the test group. The percent of students with final grades of ‘D’ or ‘F’ was statistically the same for both groups. This indicates that the average performing students were aided by this teaching method compared to the traditional teaching format. Surveys were also administered to both groups to determine their perception of instruction.