“Form a study group” This is usually all the attention given to encouraging students to work together in science classes. Group work is regarded as something done outside of the actual class time and without the support of the course instructor.
One of the reasons I am choosing to develop a hybrid course (and ultimately a hybrid sequence of three courses, CH 231, 232, 233) is to continue moving away from being the “sage on the stage” I firmly believe it is true that you really learn something when you have to explain it to others. I’ve been amazed at how much better my students are understanding the chemical concepts as I have spent less time lecturing and more time having them work together on indepth and multi-concept problems in a supported environment. I am looking for ways to incorporate online collaboration in addition to that which will continue to take place in the f2f classes.
Using short, 5-10 minute, video lectures to supplement the textbook will, I hope, result in students coming to the f2f classes with the basics already partly mastered. One distinct advantage to video lectures is that the students can watch them as many times as needed to make sense of the topic – something that is not possible with traditional lectures, they are a one-shot deal.
It will be interesting to see how the class evolves over the course of the six months or so I suspect it will take to get the ‘beta version’ ready to go. I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking the best of both worlds and melding them into a single class.
Let the adventure begin!