Student Feedback on new Learning Designs – Update

After running a student focus group at one of the partner HEI’s we received some very encouraging feedback on how students use ChemTube3D outside of the University of Liverpool and also how the resource could be improved. Students said it would be useful to have an introductory workshop at the start of 1st year, which introduces the most important parts of ChemTube3D and allows them to get used to using the resource. This would allow students to engage more with certain aspects of the site. However, we will also be producing guidelines for using the resource so even if it is not possible to run such a workshop these guidelines should provide an alternative way of learning what the resource has to offer.

Students who attended the focus group where the first to be shown how the new learning designs work by a member of the team and all said that they think the “new learning designs are useful in supporting learning”. Comments about what they like about the new designs included “clearer – the screen is a lot cleaner”, “navigate easily” and “motivates you to look in more detail and test yourself”.

Constructive comments were also given on how to improve the draft designs like adding in a refresh button for the Jmol window.

Student Feedback on new Learning Designs

Early feedback from one of the students at the University of Liverpool shows that the new learning sequences and self-assessment activities are useful in supporting learning. The step by step approach was appreciated as it pointed out the most important aspects of the reaction mechanisms and the self-assessment activity allowed the student to test how much of the learning sequence they understood.

Hopefully the positive feedback will be backed up when we show the designs to the first groups of students at other universities over the coming months.

Student Focus Groups

We are currently trying to set up a number of student focus groups at other UK universities to find out if students find ChemTube3D useful and also how they use it inside and outside lectures.

Hopefully visiting other chemistry departments will allow us to gain some different feedback, as students will not have been directed to the resource by its creator, which is the case here at Liverpool.

Quandary – Update (Undergraduate designs)

Draft learning sequences have been produced for a number of undergraduate chemistry topics ranging from 1st year up to Masters level. Aromatic heterocyclic chemistry was the first topic to be tackled and the first draft of these designs have been sent to academic staff for evaluation.

Two learning sequences and self-assessment activities have also been created to use in a focus group for 1st year students, focusing on work that is relevant to their tutorial problems. We hope to set up the focus group in the next fortnight and gain students opinions on the designs.

Quandary – Update (A Level designs)

As previously mentioned a number of learning designs are being created using Quandary at two academic levels, the first being A Level, followed by an Undergraduate level.

Feedback from Sixth Form College indicates that the learning sequences are liked by staff and a few comments for improvements have been made. These will be put into effect in the near future and then we can hopefully give the students access to the learning designs for them to test and evaluate.

Update – Creating Self Assessment Activities

Using the Hot Potatoes exercises, two different draft styles of assessment activities have been produced.

The first is a multiple choice exercise, which allows you to have text or images for the answers. While the second is a drag and drop exercise. The colour scheme/layout of both designs is based on the same style as the learning sequences in order to provide consistency.

Using multiple choice questions we hope to encourage users to interact more with the 3D representations provided on the site, in order to gain more understanding of what is happening.

The drag and drop exercises seem to be a good way to match the correct reactants and products up for each reaction. Matching the correct products to the reactants will hopefully encourage the students to think more about the reactions. In the draft designs I have chosen to include two incorrect answers in order to make it slightly more difficult.

Survey Results – ChemTube3D website

We have now closed the survey on ChemTube3D with 362 responses and would like to say thanks to everyone who participated.

From the responses we have received the countries with the highest number of visits are India, the USA and the UK, which tallies up with the results provided by Google Analytics. The main source of visits to the site came through a Search Engine, with the majority of people initially looking at the site to seek help learning chemistry and then now using the site to learn new material.

The features of the site that are most commonly used are the animated reaction mechanisms and the ability to rotate the models in 3D. In relation to the functionality of the site over 60% of the responses were either “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied” with each of the aspects of the site, which included the Subjects Covered, the Search Box, the Site Navigation and finally the Overall site.

The final questions of the survey contained comment boxes for users to express their opinion on what they liked or dislike about the resource and also about what they would like to see improved. By the time these questions came nearly two thirds of the respondents had stopped answering the questions. However, all of the responses that we received were very encouraging and will be used to improve the resource.

Feedback from Student Focus Groups

The 1st and 2nd year chemistry students came up with some very good points on their use of ChemTube3D and also on how they would like it to be improved.

Most of the 1st year students found they they would like guidelines to be produced for the resource in order for them to be able to use it to its full potential. This is something that will be developed during the iChem3D project and will hopefully be useful to visitors using the resource.

The Focus groups contained a short workshop, which was based on the material available on ChemTube3D. Part of this workshop involved students being presented with a structured sequence on how to look at the animations and when asked to provide feedback they said it is easier to understand what is happening in a reaction when being led through it in stages.

Hot Potatoes – Creating Self Assessment Activities

As I previously mentioned Hot Potatoes allows you to make a number of different types of exercises.

After developing the learning sequence idea with quandary I am now going to look into making some draft self-assessment activities using some of the Hot Potatoes features.

Feedback for the learning sequences will hopefully arrive soon and then we can get a better idea on whether these types of designs are beneficial to students.