Active Learning in Organic Chemistry: Backward Design

Active, student-centered pedagogies can dramatically improve student outcomes, but before implementing new teaching methods it is essential to clarify, both to yourself and to the students, what students should be learning. This workshop will apply principles of backward design from Wiggins and McTighe’s book Understanding by Design (2006) and Dee Fink’s Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (2013) to the undergraduate organic chemistry curriculum. Participants will develop course and topic-level desired learning outcomes as well as methods to assess student and course success. This clearer understanding of goals and assessment methods provides the foundation for instructional change. Results will be disseminated through the Organic Education Resources website at While the backward design process aids in the development of any course, the workshop leaders will be focusing on the application of backward design to an organic chemistry course. High school teachers who wish to participate should be teachers of organic chemistry.

High School
Undergraduate Education
Curriculum and Cognition
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