The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has a diverse student population, both in terms of racial diversity and diversity in educational background, as do many non-residential campuses. This diversity in the student body requires the use of a variety of instructional methods in order to effectively communicate scientific principles with the student audience. Guided inquiry has been recently used in a variety of chemistry courses, from general chemistry through upper-level undergraduate courses. This student-centered approach is an alternative to the traditional lecturer centered paradigm, and allows students to actively participate in class sessions through group work and collaboration, improving understanding and retention of material covered in class.
The NSF-funded Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL, NSF Award DUE-0231120) project has been a successful approach in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and other advanced chemistry courses, primarily at residential campuses. In the classes currently utilizing POGIL, the majority of the students are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors who take the courses as a part of their degree requirements.
Intellectual Merit: This project is introducing the POGIL method in a preparatory chemistry course. With guided inquiry approaches in a general-education level course, it is expected that students exposed to chemistry taught in this format may see chemistry or other natural sciences as a subject that they can comprehend and apply to activities in their daily lives. Applying the POGIL approach within a preparatory course at an urban, research-oriented campus also provides the opportunity to study the subsequent retention of under-prepared students in STEM majors. A set of 30 single class session new modules is being developed for the preparatory course by preparing new materials and adapting existing POGIL materials designed for use in general chemistry courses. For classes using these new modules, the retention of the students in the university and in STEM majors is being followed. Impacts being monitored in the study include the effects of the POGIL methods on the advancement of students to General Chemistry courses, the student's self-reported ability to understand science, the declaration of STEM majors by POGIL-instructed students, and development of logical thinking patterns, as monitored by the General Assessment of Logical Thinking (GALT) test.
Broader Impact: The modules are being disseminated through workshops for faculty, through listing on the existing POGIL web site, through talks at professional meetings, and through published papers and texts.
Joe March (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
This project was funded by the National Science Foundation under grant DUE-0536039.
|Award Start Date:||04/15/2006|
|Award Expiration Date:||09/30/2009|