Active Learning in Organic Chemistry at the BCCE

A search of “active learning” or “flipped classroom” in the 2016 BCCE program at the University of Northern Colorado certainly results in a number of hits.  From the OrganicERs community, Cathy Welder, Jennifer Muzyka, and Robert Rossi led the Active Learning in Organic Chemistry symposium which had 34 talks from 32 speakers over five sessions.  Speakers included many past alum from the cCWCS ALOC workshops over the past four years.  Along with presentations about the efficacy of the flipped classroom and JiTT, there were innovative combinations of these pedagogies with technology and other techniques.  Active learning was enhanced with iPads, iTunes, Chemwiki, Notability, and other websites, hardware, and software.  Other presentations introduced conscious assessment, specifications grading, and student produced videos into their active learning classes.  In one ambitious endeavor, the flipped classroom pedagogy was synchronously run at multiple sites.  Several presentations demonstrated how active learning was applied to organic laboratory classes.

Justin Houseknecht and Vincent Maloney conducted the Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Techniques to Engage Students in the Classroom workshop twice with a total of about 40 attendees.  Over three hours, each member of the workshop participated in proven activities that focused on how they could design and implement active learning in their classrooms.

 The interest in active learning was also demonstrated by two other symposia with multiple sessions that were run over the course of the conference: Interactive forum on practical strategies and active learning approaches to teaching and learning general chemistry and organic chemistry and Flipped classroom application in the university chemistry class.  Other talks and posters were spread throughout other sessions. Due to the high number of applicants, some past participants in the ALOC workshops presented active learning experiences at other sessions.

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