published October 3, 2013

Students Develop Chemistry Projects that Impact Daily Campus and Community Life

Marcy Dubroff, SECEIJ Managing Editor

One of the major obstacles to the implementation of anything novel into the course a large lecture class is the substantial amount of organization and assessment required. The class size, coupled with the lack of funding for teaching assistants, can make the proper implementation and assessment of novel coursework a monumental task. In addition to large lecture sizes, the level of interest and motivation of "general education" students in required lecture courses has always been a significant obstacle to learning.

In an effort to keep the students motivated while integrating new key elements into the curriculum, a flexible, modular SENCER project was developed at Southern Connecticut State University, where students could, with minimal guidance, develop a project related to their own interests. "Integrating SENCER into a Large Lecture General Education Chemistry Course," by Dr. Jeffrey A. Webb, details these efforts, as follows:

Students were tasked with researching chemical topics found anywhere within the campus/local community, resulting in projects that were extremely diverse. These projects ranged from researching the feasibility of opening an on-campus can/bottle redemption center to exploring the disposal procedures of supplies in the art department. The SENCER-SALG assessment tool was used to evaluate the success of the projects and showed that the majority of students reported a gain in their understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of societal issues and in their perception of how studying chemistry helps people address real world issues.

Read the entire article about how SENCER was successfully integrated into this large lecture environment in the latest issue of Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal here.