Thursday, September 4, 2014

URSP Student Angeline Palmer Develops a Collaborative Learning Classroom

URSP Highlights: Angeline Palmer

My undergraduate research began when I became a Learning Assistant for Quantitative Chemical Analysis (CHEM 321) in the spring of 2013. As a Learning Assistant, I developed an interest in teaching and deepened my understanding of the course material. I worked in parallel with the professor to help students understand the key topics and facilitate student discussions during the class time. In the fall of 2013, I continued assisting with CHEM 321, which was one of six pilot courses being taught in the Active Learning with Technology (ALT) classroom, as a completely flipped course.  A flipped class contains no traditional lecture, students must prepare for class on their own and during class actively apply the reading assignment to in class discussions and problem sets. My summer URSP consists of reformatting the online homework system with more due dates and pooled questions, combining the statistical results from the previous three semesters and preparing for fall 2014 statistics and reading chemical education, STEM education and Active Learning articles and books.

This week my project is editing the course syllabus with the changes to the online homework assignments. I finished working with the representative and the final draft of assignments will be completed in the next two weeks. I have gathered all of the potential questions for the in class problem sets which still need to be sourced and solutions attached. The final schedule for the syllabus will be completed and the guest speaker scheduled. The topics for in class discussion need to be prepared with full assignment guidelines for participation credit.

A day in the life of my project, starts with checking my to-do list from my mentor and making sure that everything from the previous day was completed. Next, I check the status of the online homework sets that I am organizing. This requires exchanging emails with the online representative, vetting the problem sets and checking for errors. Then, I review the topic that I am analyzing for that week’s discussion, this includes gathering more information, organizing the information into a chemical discussion format. In the afternoon, I meet with my mentor to give her an update on what I accomplished in the morning, we address anything that needs to be accomplished that day and update the ‘To do’ list for the next day with any new priorities.