Harper College's blended learning chemistry course delivers instructions effectively through thoughtful course design.
Retention data: Students who completed the course from Fall 1996 - Fall 2003 indicate that students in the blended chemistry course had a high success rate (79%; n=220), which compared reasonably well with their counterparts in face-to-face chemistry courses (87%; n = 260). Grade comparisons showed that students in blended chemistry courses receive a much higher percentage of 'A's (40% vs. 22%) than students in face-to-face chemistry courses. Analysis of student outcomes also identified two key predictors of student success in the chemistry course: 1. Prior success in a science or algebra course: 88% of students who previously earned an 'A' or 'B' in a science or algebra course were successful in the chemistry course. 2. Non-Traditional Students: 80% of non-traditional students (those who have been out of the traditional educational environment for at least five years) were successful in the chemistry course.
learning effectiveness: Deepa Godambe's blended learning chemistry course at Harper College uses several key course design strategies to deliver chemistry instruction effectively in a blended learning format: 1. Create a sense of community and support for students in a blended environment: Godambe's course does this by using a discussion board which allows students an opportunity for instructor/student and student/student interaction. Related activities include asking students to share the most interesting and confusing points of each chapter, writing and posting short papers on chemistry-related topics, and writing a paragraph on an element a student has "adopted." 2. Create a student/learning-centered environment for students to understand chemistry foundations and concepts: Godambe has developed an array of audio and video teaching and learning materials to fit diverse learning styles. These materials were developed so that students can access, write about, analyze, and express opinions about pertinent topics and materials. 3. Create a lab environment that demonstrates applications of theoretical concepts: To design laboratory activities, Godambe distinguished between lab exercises that teach concepts vs. those that teach techniques, then divided lab activities into three types: A. Application of concepts (e.g., density) are done virtually via online lab exercises. B. Skills that are important to have (e.g., titration) are practiced in face-to-face labs. C. Activities that are important to observe but do not require skill practice are demonstrated by the instructor in face-to-face labs.
Costs associated with this practice are lower than that associated with a face to face course. This is mainly because of the number of labs performed in the face to face course. The blended course meets for labs three times during the semester. The face-to-face class meets once a week and traditionally performs 10 -12 labs during the semester.
Compare the way that this chemistry course is delivered with the effective practices at Northern Virginia Community College and the University of Colorado-Denver.