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Faculty Publication, Samantha Glazier and Nadia Marano

nadia_sam   Associate Professors of Chemistry Samantha Glazier and Nadia Marano have taught general chemistry for 10 and 22 years, respectively.  They have presented several workshops on teaching general chemistry and published two papers on related topics in the Journal of Chemical Educations,  and here in the new year they shared this about their recent work:

Our interest in student-centered learning led to the adoption of a new general chemistry textbook and accompanying curriculum in 2004.  The arrival of three new chemistry professors provided an opportunity to overhaul the chemistry department’s introductory course to make it more activity-based with an emphasis on deeper conceptual understanding of fewer topics.  As a result, we became aware of important omissions and misconceptions perpetuated by standard chemistry texts.  We quickly became involved in the American Chemical Society’s effort to provide workshops to help others use this approach.  As we did workshops, we noticed that participants were not aware of these misconceptions.  This prompted us to collaborate with another workshop leader to research and write our first paper on teaching about and explaining intermolecular attractions using boiling point data.  What we learned in the process allowed us to make further changes to the way we taught the topic.  Buoyed by our relative success, we moved on to a conceptually more difficult topic – why some things are soluble in water and others are not.  Although the explanations we wrote about are not new, the misconceptions make so much intuitive sense that it is hard for many to change their ideas and especially how they are presented to first year students.  After three years of substantial revisions, first our own and then in response to reviewer comments, the paper was finally published.  We were invited to present this paper at a Faculty Café, It’s Not Enough to be Hot, You Have to Know How to Move, and had a lot of fun with our engaged colleagues who participated in our activities and asked excellent questions.  Working together with each other, workshop participants and our students, we learned a lot more about chemistry and teaching, which has extended to all of our courses.

~ by pdoty on January 9, 2015.

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