Dr. Nataliya Myshakina – Chemistry

Project Overview

Project 1: Use of Turnitin tool in Writing Intensive Course

I used several instruments implemented in Turnitin to help my students to develop their skills in writing scientific reports and reviews.

  1. Instead of writing a big report after completing laboratory experiment I asked students to submit pre-lab assignment which included scientific background, objectives for the experiment, working hypothesis, and a flow chart of major steps of the experimental procedure.
  2. Grading checklist/rubric was provided to students as soon as the assignment was posted, so students knew what expectations are, and what I am particularly looking for in their pre-lab write-ups.
  3. Peer-Review Assignments. As a part of the pre-lab assignment, each student was asked to read the other student’s work and provide feedback on that. To help students to analyze the work of their peers better, I provided students with questions which they needed to answer while analyzing someone’s work.
  4. Pre-lab graded and feedback was provided to students before they were asked to submit their full laboratory report.
  5. After completing the laboratory experiment, and discussing various aspects of the experiment in class, students had a chance to make any corrections to pre-lab parts of their reports, and then complete the remaining part of their report with Results, Discussion, and Conclusion sections.
  6. Grading checklist was provided to students for full lab report assignment to provide students guidance and clarify expectations

Project 2: Use of Problem-Solving Videos in First Year Chemistry Courses

Many students (first year and more senior students alike) search internet sources to watch practice videos on problems/questions solved in class. There are not always suitable or similar examples could be found on Internet, that is why I decided to create my own library of instructional videos which will explain problems/questions very similar to those covered in class and used in tests or exams.

Project Planning

Project 1. First, I re-visited my expectations on lab report assignments. Based on that I have created a general grading check-list for pre-lab assignment and for a complete laboratory report. I considered how typical research article is organized and wanted my students to recognize essential parts of research articles, what information each part contains and be able to write their reports in a similarity to a research article. I also wanted my students to analyze their own work, fix it as needed, that is why instead of one lab report assignment, I split it into two parts. I wanted students to see examples of other student’s work and learn from it, how they can improve their own writing, or be able to see flaws in someone else’s work and suggests ways to improve it. To achieve these  I created Peer Review assignments and give students a questionnaire to help them with the analysis.  I implemented Bloom’s model of integration, in which students learn information, then they apply that information to write their reports, and last they use their skills to analyze their own work, work of their peers, and suggest or find ways how to improve their work.

Project 2. I have selected topics, which students find particularly difficult, and then selected representative problems for these topics I want my students to see being solved. On the next step, I learned how I can record the videos and share those videos with my students via the course Moodle page.

Project Implementation

Project 1. I didn’t have any big difficulties with this projects, except some small technical Turnitin settings which I needed to set up in a particular way, so my students will have an excess to grading checklists on time or be able to access their peer’s assignments for review.

I didn’t actually have plan B, since the actual use of technology was outside of the classroom, not limited by the class period, and I had time and flexibility to adjust some project aspects.

For example, at the beginning of the semester when I still learning Turnitin, I choose wrong settings for Peer Review assignment and students could not access the assignment on time. As soon, as I learn it, I extended the assignment due date to give students sufficient timeframe to complete the assignment.

Project 2.  I did have some technical difficulties here. First, was the clicking noise of Apple Pencil which appeared very destructive on recorded videos. Use of external microphone helped me to overcome this issue. Next, was the choice of application which will provide the right canvas for writing with the iPencil. I have tried a few different applications and found GoodNotes be the most convenient for what I was planning to do. Last, but not least, was the way to record videos and share them. First, we planned to use Zoom, but after a few trials with Becky, we found it difficult to use. We tried recording videos using iPad screen recording, and then deposit those videos on Panopto and this worked just fine.

Project Assessment

For now, I have assessed both of my projects only informally. Developing an assessment tool for both of these projects is my goal for next year.

Informal assessment :

Project 1 (CHM340/BIO440 Macromolecules Laboratory, implemented in Fall 2018)

  1. More reports submitted on time
  2. Positive student feedback via course evaluations
  3. Paperless grading allowed for a faster turn out of submitted/graded assignments

Project 2 (CHM107 General Chemistry I and CHM108 General Chemistry II, in progress Spring 2019)

  • No assessment yet, plan to compare Final test results from this year to Final results from last year

Project Reflections and Next Steps

Project 1

  1. I will add more details to grading checklists, make them more specific for each lab experiment
  2. I will create student’s reflection questionary for the beginning and the end of the semester to help students to identify their goals in the development of academic writing skills in the beginning of the semester and reflect on the achievement of these goals at the end of the semester.

Project 2 

  1. I will continue to expand my library of videos.
  2. I will work on an assessment plan.
  3. I will work on ways to encourage more students to watch those videos
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