Engaging Organic Chemistry Students While Using an Active Learning Process That Promotes Development of Critical Thinking, Analysis, and Application Skills

A goal when teaching organic chemistry is to help students gain a knowledge base of fundamental concepts as well as to build their analytical skills so that they can apply those concepts. However, it is well known that many organic chemistry students try to memorize a limited set of reactions and facts just long enough to spit them back on a test paper. Other students work enough problems to be able to solve a limited number of reactions by rote. Most students don’t really understand the concepts of organic chemistry and don’t develop the ability to think through a problem. As a result, they are generally unable to apply organic chemistry outside the course. In that case, the class is of little long-term value.

In this workshop, you will gain hands-on experience using an innovative and objectively assessed method for improving student engagement and true learning. These teaching techniques help organic chemistry students deeply understand essential concepts and build analysis skills. By learning and using these techniques, your students will be better able to work organic reactions, retain information in long term memory, seamlessly correlate concepts, and apply information and analysis skills to newly encountered situations. In addition, your students will become much more proficient at working with complex ideas, engage as life-long learners, interpret new discoveries, tackle new questions in research, and apply organic chemistry to other disciplines.

Participants will receive a sample workbook that illustrates this teaching method.

Undergraduate Education
Classroom Practice and Learning Environments
Cross-cutting Thread(s):

Barbara Van Kuiken