P175: Utilizing an active learning approach to create authentic research experiences for first-year chemistry majors

Author: Katherine L. Hayden, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Co-Author: Mitzy A. Erdmann, David E. Graves and Joe L. March, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: MAK B1100

Related Symposium: S19

We have designed a first year “Current Research Methods in Chemistry” course for chemistry majors and STEM honor s students that intend to participate in research utilizing chemical techniques. We introduce authentic research questions that compare the interactions of small molecules with well-defined nucleic acid secondary structures providing students with basic laboratory skills, exposure to the scientific method, and experience in discussing scientific data. While active learning techniques are employed to encourage discussion and collaboration within the classroom, hands on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation is done outside the class in real research laboratories. Throughout the semester, groups of students are expected to develop their own research questions through exploration of the scientific literature, test their hypotheses through available instrumentation, and present their results as a poster presentation at UAB’s undergraduate research fair. We will present the types of activities we have developed and describe typical student research projects.

P179: Assessing the effectiveness of a first-year undergraduate research methods course designed to give students an authentic research experience

Author: Mitzy A. Erdmann, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Co-Author: Katherine L. Hayden, David E. Graves and Joe L. March, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 11:50 AM12:10 PM

Room: MAK B1100

Related Symposium: S19

In the interest of encouraging first-year chemistry majors to pursue undergraduate research opportunities at UAB, a research methods course (CH201) was established. Three main objectives were proposed to increase undergraduate research participation: (1) give students hands-on laboratory experience to gain basic research-related skills, (2) enable students to approach problems in a scientific manner, and (3) instruct students to effectively share their results with the scientific community. Student research preparedness after completion of CH201 was gauged using student evaluations and faculty and peer performance reviews. Students were asked to self-assess whether the course helped them develop research skills necessary to perform in a laboratory through a variety of methods including pre- and post-course surveys and oral interviews. This presentation will present the formative evaluation toward the course objectives and describe how these students have progressed in their studies including graduation rates in STEM fields, participation in undergraduate research, and post-graduation plans.