Design, implementation, and evaluation of a hybrid scale-up model for general chemistry courses

Hannah G Sturtevant, Purdue University


Research has consistently shown that active problem-solving in a collaborative environment supports more effective learning than lecturing alone. Student Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-UP) is a collaborative classroom environment model developed and evaluated for classroom use with positive outcomes such as increased student exam scores and passing rates. However, SCALE-UP was designed for and implemented only in classrooms of approximately 100 students or less. For large enrollment classes of 400 students, such a model is not applicable in its current form. For this study, a flipped approach using online, voice-over PowerPoint lectures paired with an in-class SCALE-UP model was implemented and evaluated in the chemistry majors’ sequence at Purdue University for three years. The purpose of this study is to test the viability and explore the immediate and longitudinal effects of the large-lecture design by examining student learning outcomes and perceptions. The first implementation tested the large lecture design while the second and third implementations, based on feedback from the first, tested a design more amenable to smaller classes. The second year also introduced a new professor to see if the same positive results could be duplicated by a professor not involved in the design of the approach. All three years were evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively. Three years of results from the quantitative portion of the evaluation using ACS exams, showed that students’ ACS general chemistry exam scores in the hybrid class increased significantly by almost a full standard deviation when compared with the students’ previous scores in the traditional class. In order to elucidate additional effects of the course on students, open-ended surveys were given at the end of the semester and again two years later along with a follow-up interview, where students were asked to share their personal experiences and views on the course. The longitudinal study revealed that some students do change their mind about the flipped format over time, despite initial resistance, and many students express deep, detailed views about the course looking back on it based on their college experience. These views vary depending on the in-class instructor and structure of the in-class sessions.




Towns, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Chemistry|Science education|Higher education

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