Impact on Students
University of Wisconsin–Madison
In the redesign, did students learn more, less or the same compared to the traditional format?
The impact of the course redesign on students’ learning was examined through a controlled experiment, which found learning to be equivalent to that of students who were conventionally taught. Data consisted of performance on common examinations, quizzes, and lab scores, accumulated into a single score for each group. Means of the total points earned were 633.9 for those in the traditionally taught classes and 640.8 for those in the redesigned course—a difference that was not significant. Various multiple regression models were also constructed to control for the effects of students’ backgrounds, and again, no significant differences in learning outcomes were found. However, because of problems involved in implementing the original project plan, these results are likely conservative estimates of impact on learning.
The chemistry team has also taught part of a course using only Web-based tutorials and found that students were able to learn effectively in the absence of lectures and textbook material.
Data on end-of-semester performance on the ACS Special General Chemistry exams were also collected for each semester during which the online homework and/or online quizzing system was being used. But these data have not yet been analyzed in detail to identify any differences in ability to solve algorithmic problems and to answer conceptual questions.
Other Impacts on Students
Students involved in focus groups reported that they appreciated and enjoyed viewing multimedia videos and animations while they were learning chemistry concepts. But this did not always translate into greater satisfaction with the online materials. Students’ responses were also compared with their performance on a Group Assessment of Logical Thinking. Students who scored low on this measure were especially likely to report that they benefited from the structure provided by the online material, whereas students scoring high on this measure expressed less enthusiasm.
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