Simona Marincean (University of Michigan-Dearborn)
As a faculty teaching large organic chemistry lectures (90+ students) I have been continually seeking new ways to engage students. Upon learning of the cCWCS workshops, I applied for and attended the Active Learning in Organic Chemistry one in Denver, Colorado. Since then I have incorporated in my lectures a considerable just-in-time component that is updated based on the available and emerging technology. The iterations are facilitated by the fact that I am responsible for both lectures and recitations associated with the course. In order to assess students learning and understanding I used initially the web-based platform that our university provides for courses to administer online quizzes before lecture. However, as I have wanted to have on-the-fly evaluations, and not ask my students to invest in Clickers, more recently I have been using Socrative, a free software, that students can access during lecture using their cell phones or tablets. Their answers determine that type of problems that we work on in class as groups. I have found out that this approach improved student performance and critical thinking skills. Additionally, I use an online homework system; provide recorded lectures occasionally, and recorded keys to problem sets or exam making use of the available technology.