A Semi-Flipped Classroom for Rural Students in General Chemistry

Mary Lenczewski has a recent article in JCE (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00320 ) documenting how she adapted active learning for her rural students at Ohio University Eastern (OUE).  Mary who attended the 2015 cCWCS Active Learning in Organic Chemistry (ALOC) Workshop in Washington knew that active learning would benefit her students but realized that a fully flipped classroom might not be the best method for general chemistry course.  The rural students at OUE had unique needs which had to be addressed in designing active learning for the class.

A fully flipped class exhibits the most benefits for students that take ownership of their learning, are motivated to learn, and have good time management skills. For less academically mature students, a fully flipped class may require an adjustment period and is potentially overwhelming.  Rural students tend to be more easily alienated from finishing their degrees if they perceive that they can’t succeed. They also have more outside time constraints.  These general chemistry students were transitioning from high school to college and might not initially be well prepared for the demands of a fully flipped class.

 Instead a “Semi-Flipped” model was developed for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 general chemistry classes where the students could gain confidence and focus on learning.  Prior to class, students were given assigned reading from the text along with online extra credit activities that assessed their comprehension.  In class, the students started with 10 – 15 min. of group problem solving covering topics from the previous meeting.  Subsequently, the class alternated between 10 – 15 min. mini-lectures followed by 5 – 10 min. of problem solving on the material.  Lenczewski describes the mini-lectures as more of a dialogue about the material.  Further practice follows the class with online homework.  Scaffolding was integral in some of the problem solving where problems were broken down into subquestions.  Although the assessment was informal, the early results and feedback were positive concerning the efficacy of the “Semi-Flipped” method.

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