Course-based research in an Organic II lab: Course structure, scientific results, and student assessment

Author(s): 
Kevin M. Shea
Author Affiliation: 
Smith College
Abstract: 
This session will describe a semester-long course-based research experience in an Organic Chemistry II lab section at Smith College.  Students in the section used a literature protocol to isolate bioactive natural products neurolenin B and D.  These molecules are potential treatments for the neglected tropical disease lymphatic filariasis.  Students then used their Organic I knowledge to propose chemical transformations of the neurolenins to produce previously unknown analogs that might have enhanced bioactivity.  They found literature precedent for their reactions, presented their proposal to the class, and ran the proposed reactions in the lab.  The semester ended with a group poster session and written scientific paper to highlight student results.  Students' performances were assessed based on comparison to the six other traditional lab sections and demonstrated higher than average grades on exams and overall course grades.  Students also reported higher levels of content understanding and motivation, among other measures, using formal and informal survey instruments.  Complete assessment details from CURE survey questions comparing the experimental and traditional lab sections will be presented.
Conference: 
Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, 2016
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