P582: Peer-supported programs to enhance learning in introductory chemistry courses

Author: Lois Zook-Gerdau, Muskingum University, USA

Co-Author: Deepa Perera, Paul Szalay and Eric Schurter, Muskegum University, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: LOH 174

Related Symposium: S42

For the past 10 years, Muskingum University has used Peer Leaders in a variety of ways to attempt to improve learning outcomes of students in General Chemistry I &II and in the nursing chemistry course, Organic/Biochemistry. The initiation of peer programs began with the NSF-supported Workshop Project Associates (WPA) grant we received for the 2004-2005 academic year to incorporate Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) workshops into the two semesters of general chemistry. We followed the PLTL model for 5 years, but this was not a financially sustainable model for our institution, and since 2009, we have moved to leaner versions of peer-supported programs. Information will be presented on the nature of these alternate peer programs as well as on the extent of success of these supplementary learning opportunities for our students.

P597: Undergraduate chemistry curricular enhancement through vertical integration and curricular mapping

Author: Paul Szalay, Muskingum University, USA

Co-Author: Deepa Perera, Eric Schurter and Lois Zook-Gerdau, Muskegum University, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK A1111

Related Symposium: S45

Over the past decade, the Department of Chemistry at Muskingum University has made a concerted effort to integrate instrumentation at all levels of the chemistry curriculum. This vertical integration methodology enabled students to progress from introductory concepts to increasingly sophisticated use of the instrumental methods culminating in student-driven inquiry projects. As a pedagogical approach, vertical integration can also be used to integrate core concepts within the curriculum such as separations, equilibrium, and thermodynamics. To help assess the effectiveness of these efforts, the department has been mapping learning objectives across the curriculum to check for unnecessary redundancies, inconsistencies, weaknesses, and gaps in the curriculum as well as to help identify opportunities for better vertical integration of key concepts among the courses. It is expected that such an approach will lead to better retention of specific content knowledge as well as an enhanced ability to apply this knowledge, thereby improving the critical thinking and problem solving skills of our students. The evolution of the vertical integration of a single instrument to the efforts to map the entire chemistry curriculum to identify areas for instructional improvement will be presented