Many students find chemistry courses exceptionally challenging because of the depth and breadth of content, the rapid pace of the course and, particularly in the case of organic chemistry, the notion that each successive lesson builds directly on previous lessons over the course of the entire year-long sequence.
In the Mobile Learning Project at GGC, instructors integrate handheld technology and applications into organic chemistry course lectures and labs that engage students with the same tools and techniques they use to engage life in the modern world.
Based on the Thayer Method of Teaching and Learning initially developed in the 19th century by Sylvanus Thayer, the iTouch project helps students prepare before coming to class and lab in order to maximize student-instructor class time.
How We Help Students Prepare Before Class
Students may access smart phone viewable course administrative materials including:
- Detailed syllabus that guides student preparation before class
- Student-friendly text and solutions manual
- MyCourses with all course materials
- Digital flashcards containing basic organic chemistry nomenclature, molecular structures and chemical reactions
- Audio/visual demonstrations of chemical lab techniques they will perform as part of laboratory experimentation
- Video mini-lectures of material for upcoming class periods prepared using the Smart Board Airliner Interactive Tablet
- Cell phone text/voice messaging between faculty and students
How we Help Students in the Classroom
Using this method of instruction, there is no fixed class agenda. The instructor begins each class with a series of questions to gauge student progress, then guides the class' daily lesson based on student discussion, questions and issues with course material. Students perform in-class chemical demonstrations, participate in individual/group problem solving “at the whiteboards” and discuss solutions to the board exercise with classmates. Each class period is 75 minutes long, allowing sufficient time for discussion, exploration of more challenging topics in-depth and student discussion under the guiding and mentoring eye of the instructor. The lab program is directly integrated with the class, using the same sections and instructors.
A Typical Day in the Mobile Learning Project
- Students prepare before class by reviewing flashcards, videos and other podcasts
- Instructor gauges student understanding at beginning of class with targeted questions
- Students drive discussion, questions and answers, focused on daily lesson
- Chemical demonstrations and discussion
- Mini-lectures from instructor on course material as needed
- Students complete individual and group exercises “at the whiteboard” and discuss
- A quiz on the daily lesson