No Prerequisites

20 Jun 2009
Description: 

All VIPEr learning objects are supposed to include clear student learning goals and a suggested way to assess the learning. This "five slides about" provides a brief introduction to the "Understanding by Design" or "backward design" approach to curriculum development and will help you develop your VIPEr learning object.

Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
Corequisites: 
Learning Goals: 

Faculty will

  • understand the "backward design" concept
  • learn to write learning outcomes and assessments using the verbs ("activities") and "products" provided
  • learn how a rubric can be used to discriminate students' levels of achievement
Implementation Notes: 

These slides are a quick and dirty summary of a longer hands-on faculty development workshop I do. They provide an introduction to the Understanding by Design process, help in writing learning goals, suggestions for developing assessments of student learning, and helpful hints for preparing a VIPEr learning object.

Time Required: 
15 minutes to read the slides; a lifetime to practice the skill :)
Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

I hope that faculty will use these slides to aid their writing of learning goals and assessments for the VIPEr site.

27 Aug 2018

Interactive Syllabus

Submitted by Amanda Reig, Ursinus College
Description: 

The Interactive Syllabus is a web-based survey delivery of syllabus content to your students prior to the first day of classes.  The web link below explains many of the features and advantages, but in my opinion some of the best benefits are (1) students actually engage with the content on the syllabus in meaningful ways, (2) it saves class time on the first day, and (3) can encourage students to share questions/concerns they may not have been as eager to share in person.

The survey is built on the qualtrics platform, but could be adapted for other programs.  

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Related activities: 
Implementation Notes: 

I implemented the approach in my General Chemistry I course this fall, and will likely adapt for all future courses.  I based my survey on the one that can be obtained at the website, but did make modifications. I have uploaded a pdf of my version of the survey, and would be happy to share the Qualtric Survey File to anyone interested (it is not an allowed file type so cannot be posted here).

I sent an email to students on Friday before classes began Monday morning containing a PDF of the syllabus and the link to the survey.  I did not assign any points for completion of the survey - just asked them to do so before 8 pm on Sunday (so I would have time to review their answers).  I sent a reminder email mid-day on Sunday.  I had around an 85% response rate.  I estimate it takes around 15 - 20 minutes for a student to work through.  It took around 2 hours for me to adapt the survey to my own preferences based on my syllabus.

7 Aug 2018
Description: 

Rules for quantum numbers are confusing but not arbitrary.  They are based on wave mathmatics, and once laid out properly are symmetric and beautiful.  Within four animation-clicks of the first slide of this PowerPoint Presentation, this beauty will unfold.  I do not exaggerate to say, faculty members will be agape and students will say, "Why didn't you show us this before."  No other presentation shows in as elegant a way the relationship between 1)  n, l and ml, 2) the ordering of orbitals in hydrogen-like atoms, and 3) the ordering of orbitals in the periodic table (along with the difficulty of assigning orbital filling in transition and f-block elements).  

Beauty is in every atom.  Let it loose.

Topics Covered: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

A student will be able to relate the quantum numbers n, l and ml to each other.

A student will be able to correctly describe the number of subshells and number of orbitals in a shell.

A student will be able to describe the orbital energies in a hydrogen-like atom.

A student will be able to order subshells in a multi-electron system and relate this to the periodic table.

A student will realize the symmetry and beauty of quantum chemistry without ever seeing the shape of one orbtal.  

Implementation Notes: 

In the first two slides, often use the phrase "because it's a square."

This is useful for Inorganic Chemistry students as well because it will cement in their mind long lost rules of quantum numbers.

 

Evaluation
Evaluation Methods: 

1) Short answer quiz questions

2) Multiple choice questions on hour and final exams.

3) Awe.

Evaluation Results: 

1) From a quiz killer to a typical A, B, C student gets it right, the D student is still a bit confused and the F student still misses the idea.

2)  On a question asking, "how many orbitals in the n=3 shell", the results increased from the 40's to 80's %.  

3) As jaws dropped, quarters could be slipped into their mouths.  Faculty pulled out phones to take pictures of a white-board version before I told them I had a PowerPoint version.

26 Jul 2018

General Chemistry Collection for New Faculty

Submitted by Kari Stone, Benedictine University

VIPEr to the rescue!

The first year as a faculty member is extremely stressful and getting through each class day to day is a challenge. This collection was developed with new faculty teaching general chemistry in mind pulling together resources on the VIPEr site to refer back to as the semester drags along. There are some nice in-class activities, lab experiments, literature discussions, and problem sets for use in the general chemistry course. There are also some nice videos and graphics that could be used to spark interest in your students.

Subdiscipline: 
Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
19 Jul 2018

Teaching Forum Posts for New Faculty

Submitted by Shirley Lin, United States Naval Academy
Evaluation Methods: 

Not applicable.

Evaluation Results: 

Not applicable.

Description: 

This web resource is a diverse list of VIPEr forum topics about teaching that may be of interest to new faculty assigned to teach general chemistry for the first time. It was created as part of a larger collection to help new faculty get started in the classroom.

Prerequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

There are no specific learning goals since this web resource is for faculty to become familiar with some of the topics that have been discussed in the teaching forum on VIPEr. 

Implementation Notes: 

Not applicable.

Time Required: 
If a faculty member reads through all the forum topics, this could take an hour.
17 Jul 2018

Stoichiometric Calculations: A General Chemistry Flipped Classroom Module

Submitted by Jack F Eichler, University of California, Riverside
Evaluation Methods: 

1) Performance on the pre-lecture online quiz

2) Performance on the in-class activity (clicker scores or hand-graded worksheet)

Evaluation Results: 

Students generally score on average 70% or higher on the pre-lecdure quiz, and on average 70% or more of students correctly answer the in-class clicker questions. As  noted in the worksheet answer key, question #4 generally gives students the most trouble as they may not yet have learned how to sum a series of reactions to yield an overall reaction. Instructors are encoruaged to do an example of this in the acitivty introduction. 

Description: 

This is a flipped classroom activity intended for use in a first semester general chemistry course. Students are expected to have prior knowledge in determining the molar mass of compounds, how to carry out mole/gram conversions, and how to write balanced chemical reactions. The activity includes: 1) pre-lecture learning videos that guide students through carrying out basic stoichiometric calculations, determining the limiting reactant, and determining the percent yield of a reaction; 2) a pre-lecture interactive tutorial that helps students learn the concept of limiting reactant; 3) pre-lecture quiz questions; and 4) an in-class activity that requires students to apply their knowledge of stoichiometry and limiting reactant in the real-world application of converting coal to liquid fuel.

 

Learning Goals: 

Students are expected to complete the following learning objectives:

a) using mole-gram conversions and mole-mole conversions to carry out stoichiometric calculations for balanced chemical reactions;

b) gaining appreciation for how stoichiometric calculations are used in real-world chemical reactions.

Prior to completing this activity, students will be expected to have learned how to use molar masses of elements and compounds to carry out mole-gram conversions, how to balance chemical reactions, and how to use balanced chemical reactions to carry out mole-mole conversions.

 

Equipment needs: 

Suggested technology:

1) online test/quiz function in course management system

2) in-class response system (clickers)

Corequisites: 
Subdiscipline: 
Topics Covered: 
Prerequisites: 
Course Level: 
Implementation Notes: 

Attached as separate file. 

Time Required: 
50-80 minutes
15 Jun 2018
Evaluation Methods: 

I typically evaluate this activity through class participation although the answer key is posted after class to let the students evaluate their own understanding of concepts.  The students do know that they will be tested on the material within the activity and usually I have a density problem on the exam.

Evaluation Results: 

This activity is designed to give the students more freedom as they move from the first density calculation to the last set of calculations.  Within the last set of calculations, they encounter a hexagonal unit cell so that may require some additional intervention to get them to think about how to calculate the volume of a hexagonal unit cell.

Description: 

This activity is designed to relate solid-state structures to the density of materials and then provide a real world example where density is used to design a new method to explore nanotoxicity in human health.  Students can learn how to calculate the density of different materials (gold, cerium oxide, and zinc oxide) using basic principles of solid state chemistry and then compare it to the centrifugation method that was developed to evaluate nanoparticle dose rate and agglomeration in solution.

 

Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to calculate a unit cell volume from structural information, determine the mass of one unit cell, and combine these two parameters to calculate the density for both cubic and hexagonal structures.  In addition, students will have an opportunity to read a scientific article and summarize the major findings, place data in a table, and explain the similarities and differences between the densities calculated in the activity and the experimental values that are reported in the literature.

Corequisites: 
Course Level: 
Equipment needs: 

None

Prerequisites: 
Implementation Notes: 

I have used this activity in our first semester inorganic chemistry course when we cover solid-state materials.  One thing to note is that I do use 2-D projections to describe structures and we cover that in a previous activity.  You could remove 2-D projections from this activity if it is not something that you previously covered.  

 

Time Required: 
This activity usually takes about 40 to 45 minutes.
18 Apr 2018

A use for organic textbooks

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College
Description: 

This morning before class I was picking on one of my students for having her organic chemistry textbook out on her desk. I believe I said something along the lines of 'how dare you contaminate my classroom with that!' She explained how she had an exam today and I let it drop. That is until later in the class when I was teaching about chelates. I had a sudden inspiration. I asked the student to pick up her organic book with one hand. I then warned her that I was going to smack the book. I did and she dropped it. Based on the size of most organic textbooks, I believe that very few people would be able to hold on to one with one hand while it is being smacked. I then handed her back the book and asked her to hold it with two hands while I smacked it. Sure enough, she was able to maintain her grasp of the book. I think this rather simple deomonstration did a surprisingly good job of driving home the point.

Learning Goals: 

From this in-class activity students will develop a simple appreciation for the chelate effect.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Course Level: 
Equipment needs: 

Organic (or p-chem) textbook

26 Mar 2018

Identifying Isomers

Submitted by Anne Bentley, Lewis & Clark College
Evaluation Methods: 

I did not require students to turn in their worksheets, but I did circulate to answer questions and confirm their pairings.

Evaluation Results: 

All my groups were able to identify the pairs.  I think learning the labels is harder.

Description: 

This in-class activity can be used to teach structural (or constitutional) isomers. This worksheet presumes that students have already had some experience with transition metal complexes such as determining metal oxidation state, recognizing the coordination sphere, and converting between formulas and structures.

Learning Goals: 

A student should be able to

  • recognize pairs of ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
  • describe the difference between ionization, coordination, and linkage isomers
Subdiscipline: 
Equipment needs: 

none

Prerequisites: 
Corequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Implementation Notes: 

I developed this short in-class activity this spring to take the place of a lecture on the topic. The students had already spent a couple of days learning about coordination complexes and stereoisomers. I handed out the in-class activity and asked them to work in groups of 2-3.  I circulated to answer questions, and after about 5-10 minutes of work, I brought everyone back together and summarized the categories. I chose not to give them any introduction to structural isomers in the hopes that by working through the activity, the students would develop their own understanding of the types of isomers.

Time Required: 
10-15 minutes
22 Jan 2018

Streamlining Lab Report Grading: Errors Checklists

Submitted by Sabrina G. Sobel, Hofstra University
Evaluation Methods: 

Errors Checklists are most effective when you list the most common errors with explanations. You will see if you are successful if you use the items on the checklist repeatedly in your grading. Students will better understand their grades because of the clear communication of their errors. You should see a reduction of student inquiries as to why a certain grade was assigned on lab work.

Evaluation Results: 

My students really appreciate the errors checklists because my expectations and my grading choices are made clear. I have found that the formulation of Errors Checklists cause me to focus on and articulate the most common students errors; I subsequently pay more attention to the items in my pre-lab lectures, and student misunderstanding has decreased.

Description: 

I present a format for more effective communiction of errors in lab reports to students that I term Errors Checklists. Grading lab reports are one of the banes of our existence as professors. They are endless, unremitting papers that need to be scrutinized for accuracy, precision and understanding. Instead of tearing your hair out at the fifteenth report in which the student failed to use to proper number of significant figures, or failed to produce a readable graph, why not just breezily check a box on your Errors Checklist (in which you have provided a complete and thoughtful explanation), and staple to the student report?

I have created and used Errors Checklists for General Chemistry and Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry lab classes for almost two decades. I have passed them on to junior colleagues in my department, which they have modified to suit their needs. Errors Checklists lower my anxiety and anger when grading multiple lab reports, and provide clearer communication with students.

Corequisites: 
Prerequisites: 
Topics Covered: 
Learning Goals: 

1. More effective communication of student errors on lab reports.

2. Streamline lab report grading to enable quick turnaround to students.

3. Better communicate expectations on lab reports to enable students to improve performance during the semester.

Equipment needs: 

None.

Implementation Notes: 

You need to develop your own Errors Checklists customized for the experiments in your curriculum. A template is provided. I have included two example checklists; the first is for a Chemical Kinetics lab in which students determine the orders WRT iodide and peroxide for the iodine clock reaction. The second is for the synthesis of potassium alum from aluminum foil, with supplemental analysis of the unit cell (available online).

Time Required: 
not applicable

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