The general chemistry I and II courses have multiple components (lecture, recitation, lab, computerized homework). Our efforts to optimize the recitation sections include additional graduate teaching assistant training, and in some cases, the use of undergraduate learning assistants (in addition to TA's).
We have developed materials for use in recitation that encourage group work, focus on developing both conceptual understanding and problem-solving abilities, and when possible, make connections between chemistry and the real world. In lecture, the faculty have been using clickers to engage their students and to promote sharing of reasoning, often in coordination with lecture demonstrations. We have been collecting samples of student work and developing concept surveys to inform us about what students are learning and where they are struggling to develop understanding or skills. Data related to students’ attitudes and beliefs towards chemistry and learning chemistry are also being analyzed. Results from these surveys have impacted curriculum development, discussions within our working group, and faculty classroom practices.
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