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Wednesday, June 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
POSTER.24 – Students as Key Stakeholders: Exploring Undergraduates’ Perceptions of Teaching and Learning in an Introductory Organic Chemistry Course

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In higher education across the country, many educators have been replacing some or all lecturing with in-class activities and formative assessments to enhance student learning and engagement. As such, it is not only important to theorize and assess the effectiveness of these movements, but also to gain an understanding of how students engage with and approach learning in these non-traditional settings. Students are key stakeholders in teaching and learning practices; therefore, their perceptions and feedback are significant to the curricular and pedagogical movements occurring in higher education within and outside of Canada (Author, 2012; Herreid & Schiller, 2013; Wieman, 2012).

In this poster presentation, we will examine undergraduate students’ perceptions of their learning strategies and experiences in an introductory organic chemistry course that encouraged active learning strategies. Organic chemistry is a challenging, cumulative course where students often struggle to develop meaningful learning strategies and easily fall behind (Grove & Bretz, 2012; Lynch & Trujillo, 2010). This particular course used a “flipped classroom” format and provided students with ample opportunity to practice/discuss their skills through in-class quizzes and worksheets, assignments, and an online discussion forum. Since this course offered a variety of interactive, formative feedback we were interested in understanding what moments, activities, or interactions students deemed as influencing (and changing) their learning strategies and experience in the course, and also why students’ held these views. Hour-long interviews were conducted with twenty-six students, which revealed a spectrum of raw and detailed feedback on their experiences in the course. While most of the students acknowledged that the course format/activities were designed to keep them engaged with the material and in contact with their peers/instructor, many of them expressed difficulty keeping up with the content and using the resources available to them. Almost every student mentioned that their lack of time management skills and reliance on “cramming” was disadvantageous to their learning. Students who were successful in the course attributed their success to their desire to take responsibility for their learning and to become more diligent in their pre-class preparation, to ask questions, and to focus on what they understood and did not understand. Students also offered advice on how the course structure could be improved and how incoming students could be successful in the course. The information presented in this poster will engage the STLHE community in discussions of how we may use students’ perceptions to inform our complex decisions about curriculum and pedagogy.

Wednesday June 18, 2014 4:00pm - 5:30pm
McArthur Hall

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