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"Everything Old is New Again": Teaching General Chemistry-F

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Jim Zubricky

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of "Everything Old is New Again": Teaching General Chemistry-F

The Response
Video projects: students loved being creative and having "freedom"
Do It Again....
Tried it again for Spring 2014
Smaller class size (now 12)
Most took CHEM 1090 in the fall (may not be academically prepared for Gen Chem)
So What Did I Learn?
You have to sell this method well at the VERY beginning of the semester - THIS IS KEY
"If you build it, they will come." = students may grumble, but will rise to the occasion when put to "the fire"
The flipped classroom may not be for every student.
Trying again this year - with an entire year of General Chemistry!
Quick Facts about Toledo
Known for automotive, glass, and "green" industries
General Chemistry
Approximately 2,500 students/year
So what next?
Summer 2013: flipping the classroom!
Connie Shriner and the staff of the University Teaching Center at UT
Matt Stoltzfus, Ohio State University
Andy Jorgensen, Kristi Mock, and Jon Kirchhoff, University of Toledo
University of Toledo Office of the Provost
UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
"Everything Old is New Again": Teaching General Chemistry-Flipped Using the iPad
James Zubricky
Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Toledo

Population is about 284,000 (4th largest)
About 60 miles south of Detroit and 100 miles west of Cleveland
Quick Facts About the University of Toledo
Open-enrollment university
23,000 students enrolled (18,000 undergraduates)
Carnegie Ranking: RU/H (high research activity)
15 colleges within the University
Dept of Chemistry and Biochemistry: 3rd largest FTE generator on campus
Reach ~5000 students with our chemistry classes and programs
Third largest university in Ohio
Chemistry Placement Exam
Fall 2013: ~1000 IN CHEM 1230, ~600 IN CHEM 1090
Of those in CHEM 1230, ~225 took CHEM 1200
Final exam issues
How Does CHEM 1230
No projects or discussions
UT College Algebra (preferred) or ACT Math score
High School GPA
ACS Placement Exam (California Diagnostic)
Strict placement guidelines
From that info, we can calculate a "predicted" grade for how successful a student will be in CHEM 1230
If students have had no prior chemistry experience, they are placed in CHEM 1090 - Elementary Chemistry
If a student's preparation is "borderline", we require students to take a PLTL problem solving course, CHEM 1200, concurrent with CHEM 1230
BTW: 80% of students earned +/- 1 letter grade from the original prediction
Lectures meet MWF (or MW) for 50 minutes (or 75 minutes)
Enrollment: 200-250 per lecture (150 in night lecture)
Recitation sections held on Tuesday for 50 minutes
Three hourly exams
Strictly traditional lecture
Lecture time was being used to work on basic-skills problems
Recitation time was being used to work on basic-skills problems, and not more challenging problems
Students were confused on heavy-duty multi-concept problems
Study skills were not enforced regularly
Retention: CHEM 1230 is seen as a weed-out course
Students were spending less time in this course than they need to: (F'11: 73% of students admit to spending less than 6 hours a week studying for CHEM 1230
First Solution
Issues remained
Students were not studying or engaged in the material
This was widespread across all sections and with all populations of students
What did we do?
Changed textbooks
Changed homework programs
Improvement on hourly exam averages (5 - 17% higher)
Improvement on ACS final exam (5% jump)
Replace one hourly exam with a project worth the same weight
Two hourly exams (from three)
More one-on-one interactions
Smaller class sizes (15-20 students)
Apple iPad was used as a means to deliver content (through iTunes U)
How Was the Material Delivered?
In Class Activities
(1-D particle in the box)
In-class activities includes:
PLTL problem solving sessions
Group worksheets
Discussions on additional readings
Activities using apps
Lectures (sparingly) on topics that don't necessarily appear in the gen chem curriculum
Within the first week, discussions were much deeper and were asking more meaningful questions (Rutherford Gold Foil experiment)
Students did originally complain about the workload - especially if the "homework" involved a previewing of an important topic
After discussion or JiTT, students understood my "madness"
Observation from my Chair: "I've been trying to get the same response out of my graduate students for 25 years!"
Exam scores: averages scores were 10% above
Final exam: 10% above all other sections
Students resisted the flipped classroom model
In reflection, students didn't understand the model or buy into the model
Exam scores were below the traditional lecture sections
Projects were not as creative as last semester
Full transcript