Supporting student success in chemistry using peer mentoring, laboratory experiments, and eye-tracking analysis
Perera, Viveka Lakruwani
AdvisorMlsna, Debra Ann
Emerson, Joseph P.
Mlsna, Todd E.
Scott, Colleen N.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 1 Year
Embargo Lift Date12/15/2020
Active participation in the learning process enhance students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. We implemented peer-focused, active learning, recitation sessions with the large-enrollment sections for General Chemistry I courses at Mississippi State University (MSState) over a period of four semesters beginning in Spring 2016. The peer-focused recitation program was a success improving student final (standardized ACS) exam scores, pass/fail rates for the course, and continuation on to General Chemistry II (CH 1223) courses. Peer-focused collaborative learning and students possessing ownership over their learning significantly enhanced academic outcomes of our program. Worked-example effect is the best known and apparently the most effective cognitive load reducing technique. We incorporated a modified version of worked examples, employing “incorrect worked examples” and studied the impact of incorrect worked examples vs correct worked examples. We hypothesized that looking for errors in incorrect worked examples would achieve greater attention and would prompt students to actively engage on calculation steps than correct worked examples. Eye-tracking results showed that incorrect worked example format was effective at obtaining student attention and engaging students actively on calculation steps. Survey results showed that incorrect worked example format inspired students’ motivation and enhanced student engagement and attentiveness to examine the worked examples intensively. This research provided insights on student focus while reading and learning chemistry worked examples, and opened new avenues for supporting online learning and usage of tablet PC in the learning process. Laboratory experiments provide students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience on laboratory techniques and instrumentation. We created a biochemistry laboratory course (CH4990) for third-year chemistry major undergraduate students at Mississippi State University. I wrote the biochemistry lab manual consisting of eleven experiments, which involved protein and DNA extraction, ion-exchange chromatography, UV/vis spectroscopy, SDS PAGE electrophoresis, and enzyme kinetics experiments. A new laboratory experiment was incorporated which allowed students exposure to peptide sequencing and proteomics experiments in conjunction with mass spectrometry. The CH4990 biochemistry lab course is open for enrollment in Fall semesters since Fall 2018.