Instructors Margie Haak and Michael Burand will give a lecture on Less Class Time, More Learning at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3-7 at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
A hybrid-format general chemistry course for science-majors was implemented in the winter term of 2014. Two sections of approximately 160 students each were included. This course was a “trailer” course insomuch as students began the sequence in the second 10-week term of the academic year. Students in trailer courses have historically been more at risk for poor academic performance.
The format of the course included short, topical videos which were custom-made for this course and were made available to students online. Students were assigned to groups of approximately four for the duration of the term and biweekly class meetings consisted almost exclusively of students working on solving problems within their groups. Generally two faculty members and four teaching assistants were present to assist student groups. Typically some time was reserved at the end of the class periods for student groups (selected at random) to come before the class and present their solution to a problem.
Preliminary data show that students in this hybrid course performed significantly better on exams than historical averages for the traditional lecture format. This result is especially noteworthy given that the students in the hybrid course have only 60% of the class time compared to students in the traditional version of the course. A survey of students’ views regarding this hybrid course format was also conducted and will be discussed.