Discipline: Chemistry and Chemical Sciences
Emily Oshita - North Carolina State University
Co-Author(s): Cevdet Akbay, Daniel Autrey, Abdirahman Abokor, and Carolina Sloan, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC
Many students struggle with traditionally difficult science subjects in higher education settings. This has led to a deficit of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates entering the workforce. To address this loss of professional potential and address the urgent student educational needs, Fayetteville State University (FSU) has been striving, since 2014, to improve the quality of STEM education for underserved and disadvantaged students with the financial support of the National Science Foundation (HBCU UP TIP award number: HRD-1436613). A Hi-Tech Studio Classroom was constructed with five modular round tables, 3 laptop computers per table, and nine chairs per table to be able to implement the ‘student centered active learning environment with upside down pedagogy’ (SCALE-UP) at FSU. The room is also equipped with two projectors on opposite sides of the room and smaller flat panel screens mounted on the walls to maximize student accessibility to information presented in class. The students participating in the active learning program are taught how to learn rather than what to learn. Emphasis is placed on problem solving, hands on activities, and team work. Instructors for the course act as facilitators who, with the assistance of undergraduate learning assistants (ULA), guide students toward subject mastery rather than traditional lecture paced material. Students receive topical instruction outside of class at their convenience in the form of videos, reading assignments, and other multi-media sources. In class, all time is devoted to group paced problem sets under the guidance of the faculty member and ULAs. Active learning environments have shown great promise at other institutions, and our preliminary results indicate that FSU students’ attendance, test scores, and passing rates have all improved under the SCALE-UP program. Prior to implementation, student attendance averaged between 60% and 70% for general chemistry; under SCALE-UP this average has increased up to 95%. The ACS Standard Test scores have increased by more than 20 points, and passing rates have increased from 40% to close to 85% in preliminary analysis.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This work was supported by an HBCU UP Targeted Infusion Project grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No: HRD-1436613).
Faculty Advisor: Cevdet Akbay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I have worked as the Undergraduate Learning Assistant for three semesters and after graduation as Instructional Support Coordinator. I have been generating work books for General Chemistry and Physics courses. In association with the faculty members, I am collecting the data that will be presented during my oral presentation.