OER Project Spotlight: Chemistry Learning Modules

OER Grant Funded Project: SPOTLIGHT Context-Embedded Guided-Inquiry Learning Modules for Large Introductory Chemistry Courses

Project title: Context-Embedded Guided-Inquiry Learning Modules for Large Introductory Chemistry Courses

Project team: W. Stephen McNeil, Tamara K. Freeman, Riley J. Petillion

Background on the Open Educational Resource project.
UBC Okanagan chemistry professors Dr. McNeil and Dr. Freeman and PhD student Riley J. Petillion developed a series of guided-inquiry learning modules for use as small-group activities in large introductory chemistry classes. These activities are designed to reinforce content-based cognitive outcomes and to develop affective outcomes involving learner attitudes and beliefs regarding the roles of chemistry in society. Students are guided through a series of prompts requiring application of concepts from multiple course topics within the context of a societal issue or problem.

Student feedback on earlier iterations of these learning activities suggests that they are largely achieving their intended goals; however, the current form demands initial assimilation of large amounts of written information, detracting from the active learning experience in the classroom

The goal of the OER project is to undertake a revision of each of these learning resource modules in order to create a final, publicly-available resource to be released on multiple platforms in an editable format.

Project Impact
Since these learning resources are being used in courses at UBC Okanagan, students are already benefiting from zero-cost educational instructional videos and learning activities. However, this project is serving as the impetus to finalize revisions and provide these learning activities with an improved structure. This is an initial step in a longer-term plan to develop and utilize OER with the eventual goal of replacing the current use of textbooks for the first-year chemistry courses at UBCO. The learning activities being developed in this project will form a significant part of the total course package.

Advice from this team for those considering OERs
If you expect that a learning resource will be utilized as OER, consider that during its initial development and creation. The intended audience is not just your own students in your own class, but students in many different educational contexts. This means that your resources cannot rely on, make use of content from, or refer to information in any other specific textbook or other resource.

Learn more about the Open Educational Resources Grant Program and other grant funded OER projects.