Guided Inquiry Learning in an Introductory Chemistry Course

Natalie M. Williamson, David M. Huang, Stephen G. Bella, Gregory F. Metha

Abstract


Foundations of Chemistry (FoC), the University of Adelaide’s introductory chemistry pathway, recently underwent a complete restructure to assume no prior chemistry knowledge in order to better cater to students with little or no chemistry background. The restructure introduced Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) style activities in lectures to deliver the majority of the course content and a new online learning platform for summative assessment. Three entirely new FoC courses were developed, one in each of semester 1 (FoC IA), semester 2 (FoC IB) and the University’s Summer Semester (FoC IS). Successful completion of all three courses provides students with a pathway into second year Chemistry in addition to the pathway provided by completing Chemistry IA and IB. To date, FoC IS has run from 2013 to 2015, with half of the students in each of these classes progressing to level II Chemistry courses. This paper outlines the restructure process that led to the creation of three new courses and how these developments have impacted student learning outcomes. Students have responded positively to the restructured courses, and end-of-semester results for FoC IA and IB have seen an increase in the proportion of Distinction and High Distinction grades.

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