Dorian Canelas in Duke’s Department of Chemistry will be using 11 iPads in her Organic Chemistry class in an effort to engage her students and enhance group work.
We aim to transform the teaching of organic chemistry at Duke University to increase student engagement and improve retention in science, math, and engineering (SME) and pre-health tracks. This will be accomplished through development of a hybrid course containing lectures and small group activities in the classroom. The format will mirror the format we have successfully employed in Introduction to Chemistry: two thirds of the time normally devoted to lecture will be spent on in-class group activities and thought provoking problem solving and discussion, with the recitation and laboratory staying intact from previous semesters. By adding technology to the classroom (iPads), the vast array of readily available online material and apps will be accessed by students in class as a supplement to the textbook. To encourage collaboration, one iPad is requested per group (class enrollment will be 40 students). Apps to be employed during these activities will include Organic Chemistry Essentials, Organic Chemistry by WAGmob, Organic Chemistry Express, and Organic Chemistry Flashcards. These apps are useful both as reference materials (student problems will often not contain all of the information they need to find a solution; some things they will need to look up) and as tools to enhance learning (ability to rotate three dimensional structures, animations of reactions, flashcards for review, etc.) In addition, groups will be creating their own creative problems in these apps, and they will be able to save those reaction problems in their library. At this time I do not plan to project from the iPad. Some of these apps have been tested, and others will be incorporated into new materials as they are developed over the course of the semester. Surveys near the end of the term will be conducted in the section with the iPads vs. a control section without iPads to see how both groups used online content and apps to improve their understanding.