4 Sep 2019

Feeling cute, might revise my foundational inorganic course later… IDK

Submitted by Steven Girard, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Cohort 1
Reflection Piece 1

…Actually, I’m already well on my way to revising and improving my course, with a little help from my new buddies in the IONIC VIPEr community.

What a great workshop, and what a great community. Where else would a large group of folks discuss the nuances of student-centered learning in bonding and solids? Looking back at our workshop experience, the single biggest benefit for me was the incredible sense of community fostered among colleagues. The environment was so generous, understanding, and supportive. And let’s be honest, having to watch a video of your own teaching can be pretty disarming. It was a special group of people singularly focused on improving the craft of teaching inorganic chemistry: no pretenses, no hidden agenda, no judgement. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it!

The workshop particularly helped me to focus and organize my course around specific outcomes within the discipline. As an instructor, I want my students to have it all: a mastery of the content, an ability to synthesize and apply the material, and be fantastic communicators. My workshop experience made me confront how, as an instructor, I might design or implement course content and activities that will facilitate in student learning, and how we can know these approaches have a positive effect. In the workshop, we had to craft specific student learning outcomes that I’ve already incorporated into my syllabus for this upcoming semester. Through analysis of my students’ course performance, I have a much better idea of where my students are doing well, where they could improve, and how they feel about their learning. From analyzing my own teaching, and using my VIPEr colleagues as exemplars, I feel much more comfortable trying some new instructional approaches that will push me out of my comfort zone, but also improve my teaching.

In the upcoming year, I’m going to try more small group work in my class, leveraging the many fantastic in-class LOs on this website. Folks were gushing about Gary’s coordination complexes nomenclature worksheet, so I’m definitely using that. I already use literature discussions in my class, but I now have a better idea of how I can best implement them, and ideas for others I could try. I also want to give back to the community by writing some of my own LOs and posting them, in due time.

All-in-all, I had a ball. Thanks for having me, and I look forward to continuing this important work in the upcoming year!

 

Comments

I'm excited to learn which LOs you decide to use this year and how they work in your class. Please share your experiences and feedback with the author and the rest of the community. I hope that the new instructional approaches you try go well!