P127: How do physical chemistry instructors design their curriculum? An embedded multiple-case study
Physical chemistry curriculum reform has spurred discussions in major chemistry education forums. Instructors share their repertoire of skills and voice their personal experiences about teaching physical chemistry. But there is little, if any, research about physical chemistry curriculum reform and its meaning for the broader chemistry education community. From an education researcher’s perspective, there is a need to design and carry out studies to make arguments about physical chemistry curriculum reform based on empirical data and not solely on personal experience. This is where my research comes in. The purpose of this embedded multiple-case study is to describe how physical chemistry instructors design their curriculum. My over-arching research question is: How do physical chemistry instructors develop their curriculum? The sub-questions are: What is their background in the field of physical chemistry? How do those experiences influence the development of their physical chemistry curriculum? And what characteristics are unique to the individual instructor? My presentation will highlight the development process of this research, including a preliminary analysis of interviews and observations with two physical chemistry instructors. I will then describe how I arrived at a theoretical framework to understand physical chemistry curriculum development. I will conclude the presentation with ideas about future work. Overall, this case study will contribute research-based implications for curriculum development in physical chemistry.