C&CB Seminar - Steve McNeil - University of British Colombia


TITLE:              Assessment of a Strategic Redesign of a First-Year Chemistry Curriculum 

DATE:                Thursday, December 5th, 2019   

TIME:                1:30 p.m.   

LOCATION:       ABB 163 

HOST:                 Dr. Sharonna Greenberg



First-year chemistry at UBC’sOkanagan campus serves as a prerequisite to later courses required ofChemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology majors, but isalso a requirement BSc students who do not intend to proceed further in the chemicalsciences. We are undertaking a multi-year strategic redesign, revision, andassessment of our first-year course sequence, with the overarching goal ofidentifying and pursuing learning outcomes relevant for all of our studentsregardless of their academic and career paths. Cognitive and affective learningoutcomes were identified, followed by a mapping of concepts onto thoseobjectives, design of a curriculum promoting those concepts, and a selection ofactive learning delivery methods appropriate to the sophistication of eachconcept. An integrated suite of active learning resources has been developedand implemented, including personal response system questions, in-classguided-inquiry assignments, flipped-class modules including interactive instructionalvideos, and a thematic framework demonstrating the broader societalapplications of chemistry. This presentation will describe the pedagogicalimpetus for these changes, the detailed nature of the various learningactivities, and the findings of an ongoing multi-faceted research study toassess the impacts of our redesign process, which include a dramatic increasein student success rates.




W. Stephen McNeil is anAssociate Professor at the Okanagan campus of the University of BritishColumbia. Following his doctoral studies with Peter Legzdins at the Universityof British Columbia and an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship with James Mayer atthe University of Washington, he taught at both two-year college and four-yearundergraduate institutions before joining UBC Okanagan in 2005. McNeil is a2009 recipient of the UBC Okanagan Award for Teaching Excellence andInnovation, the inaugural 2018 recipient of the UBC Okanagan Killam TeachingPrize, and the 2019 recipient of the Chemical Institute of Canada ChemistryEducation Award. His professional interests include the development andassessment of active- and collaborative-learning methods, alternativeconceptions of advanced chemical bonding models, and science communication andchemistry outreach. According to ratemyprofessors.com, he is “…the epitome ofexcellent, middle-aged teaching.”

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