P681: Student-centered learning in a writing-intensive upper-division undergraduate seminar: An assignment-based curriculum to teach scientific writing and peer review

Author: Rainer E. Glaser, University of Missouri, USA

Co-Author: Lindsey Ellis and Megan Anderson, University of Missouri, USA; Kaidi Yang, Northwest University, China

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 11:10 AM11:30 AM

Room: MAN 122

Related Symposium: S15

We will report on an assignment-based curriculum to teach scientific writing and peer review in an undergraduate seminar on Scientific Writing in Chemistry. The curriculum consists in a framework for the formulation of writing-intensive assignments and the evaluation of students’ submissions by peer review. The approach combines the need for the instruction of all the elements of disciplined scientific writing with the desired flexibility in the selection of the theme of the course. We have implemented this curriculum five times and each time with a different theme: Painkillers (SP10); Chemical Sensors (SP11); Detergents (SP12); Solar Energy (SP13); and Nutraceuticals (SP14). All assignments and peer review devices are available online (http://faculty.missouri.edu/~glaserr/RG_T_SP14.html) along with samples of student submissions. We will describe the curriculum and explain the intended instructional goals of the assignments. We will describe a robust course organization chosen to support the curriculum both with regard to chemistry and science writing content and with regard to the use of different pedagogical techniques in lecture settings and computer laboratory instruction. Peer review is essential to science and the students learn about various forms of peer review. The seminar exemplifies a path for instruction on peer review and we will describe how this instruction begins with rubric-based evaluations of elements of papers and leads all the way to near-authentic peer review of original research papers. We will comment on possible grading schemes and present results of assessments.

P323: Integrating chemistry and mathematics education: Cross-disciplinary research projects are excellent seed events

Author: Rainer E. Glaser, University of Missouri, USA

Co-Author: Carmen Chicone, Marco A. Delarosa, Ethan Zars, Cory Camasta and Mary Jost, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 3:05 PM3:25 PM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S26

It is a simple equation: Sciences + Mathematics = Success. The sciences and mathematics are intrinsically intertwined and educators are becoming increasingly aware that the quantitative and mathematical culture needs to be integrated more fully with science education. Recent assessments provide evidence that students’ performance on quantitative problems run in parallel with success in science courses. We will report on one specific approach to solve the equation within the context of the Mathematics and Life Sciences (MLS) Program at the University of Missouri. We will report on the evolution of a cross-disciplinary research project in nonlinear dynamics over five years to study the mechanism of Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillating reactions. The project is hard and ambitious because we seek to reproduce systematic series of experiments by kinetic simulation without simplifying assumptions. The project plan is intrinsically cross-disciplinary: It is not enough for chemists and mathematicians to work on separate aspects of a project. Instead, progress was made by working together on all aspects and with much effort directed toward cross-disciplinary tutoring to negotiate mutual interdependencies. The collaboration produced unique research experiences for several undergraduate students and resulted in several bona fide research publications. Moreover, the collaboration increased the faculties’ interests in and capacity to engage in cross-disciplinary research and education and affected the faculties’ teaching of their courses. We will argue that cross-disciplinary research projects are excellent, and perhaps even required seed events for the integration of chemistry and mathematics education.

P321: Teaching chemistry in the context of a cross-disciplinary research seminar

Author: Nazneen Ali, University of Missouri, USA

Co-Author: Rainer E. Glaser, Jennifer Hart, Eric Ludwig, and Jennifer Fellabaum, George Smith, Francis Schmidt, Dix Pettey and Carmen Chicone, University of Missouri, USA

Date: 8/4/14

Time: 2:25 PM2:45 PM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S26

We report on the design, implementation and assessment of the research seminar offered as part of the NSF-PRISM supported “Mathematics and Life Sciences” program at MU. The seminar format aims for 25-minute research talks followed by 25 minutes of defense, discussion and extrapolation. The emphasis on equal time between presentation and scientific discussion is a stratagem of this course to stimulate open and frank discussion and cross- and interdisciplinary brainstorming, exchange and education, and student performance is assessed in this spirit. The seminar grade is affected by the student’s attendance, the assessment of the student’s research presentation (rubric-based peer review of science content and presentation skills), the assessment of the student’s peer reviewer performance (meaningful, balanced, written constructive criticism), and the assessment of the student’s discussant performance (attention and comprehension; seeking and providing clarification; content of mini-paper; contribution to discussion). The grading scheme reflects a shift from the traditional assessment of the speaker to an assessment of members of the learning community. The presentation will highlight how such a class is socializing students for research.