Jessica D’eon

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry, Faculty of Arts & Science

Title: Student Perceptions of Project-Based Learning in Chemistry

Research Focus: Since beginning my position as a teaching stream faculty member in environmental chemistry in 2012, I have developed and implemented several project-based learning (PBL) initiatives and course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) as a way of providing students with authentic and integrated learning experiences. One of these initiatives is a student-directed group lab project that I introduced into a capstone environmental chemistry courses CHM 410-1410 Environmental Analytical Chemistry. This project has transformed the class, increasing student engagement both in the lab and with the class content. My research project looks to assess the CHM 410-1410 student experience of this student-directed lab project and see if it agrees with my experience as the instructor and laboratory coordinator. I am specifically interested in assessing how the experience of the lab projects differ from that of a typical chemistry lab course. Did the students feel challenged to be creative? Did they feel they had the power to make real decisions? Did they feel their experience was authentic?

Study Design: These outcomes will be assessed through a student focus group recruited from the Fall 2018 iteration of CHM 410-1410 as well as a reflection exercise the students completed as part of their projects. Teaching assistant mentors, who are themselves trainees, are facilitating these projects. We will also solicit feedback from current and previous teaching assistants using an anonymous online questionnaire.

Impact: I will use feedback on the successes and shortcomings of this CHM 410-1410 CURE to inform future iterations of the class and will be used as evidence of learning gains in the dissemination of this teaching tool in conference presentations and pedagogical publications.

SoTL Cohort Poster presented at the 2019 Teaching and Learning Symposium