Over the past decade, student engagement with traditional learning materials has changed substantially. The global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated even more extensive changes in the ways that faculty, teaching assistants, and students connect and interact. As we (hopefully) move toward a post-pandemic environment in higher education, how can we identify and capitalize on the more effective teaching and learning innovations of recent years?
McCollum will describe how his team is using quantitative and qualitative research methods to examine what students are doing and thinking when problem-solving in chemistry. He will share how online video conferencing between students in Canada, the United States, and Ireland – before and during the pandemic – has improved mechanistic thinking and facilitated the development of professional identity. He will also present how a systems-thinking approach to nuclear energy has resulted in one of the most popular elective courses at the university. McCollum’s results illustrate how chemistry education research can support a scientific approach to the teaching of science.