Introductory Chemistry Redesign

Through a collaboration of the faculty, Learning Design & Technology Office, instructors, and a teaching postdoctoral fellow, I am leading the development of an inclusive curriculum for CHEM1410/1420. The redesign aims to include discovery and active-learning pedagogues in a course that has greater than 1300 participants. One major challenge is that all introductory courses and developed material thus far relies on a set of knowledge that is outdated and route especially considering that less than 4% of the students will become chemistry majors. After discussions with the faculty, we identified areas that could be modernized and focuses that were important to both majors and non-majors. Then, we designed a 75-minute “lecture” and a 75-minute activity that reinforced and explored the material more deeply. We have introduced writing to learn into the course through calibrated peer-review. The main emphasis is the inclusive curriculum. Students that have additional time on exams or other necessary adaptions do not need these implementations in this course (accept for the final). There are specific approaches that have been implemented that are meant to serve all students (institutional readiness) rather than assuming an expected skill set (student deficit). Thus far, assessments have been positive and even student evaluations were very positive (which is usually a problem with active learning designs because the responsibility of learning is shifted to the students). In addition, performance gaps between different student populations are not observed. We are in the 3rd year of the redesign and have 600 students enrolled in the first semester.

–Jennifer Martin, Gail Hunger, Kevin Welch, Josipa Roksa