Assessing an elaborate visual analogy in an undergraduate chemistry course

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Presentation given at 2014 SoTL Commons: A Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Savannah, GA.

The study will present the results of semester I of a two-semester project evaluating the effects of a visual analogy on student learning and perceptions in the teaching of a nomenclature (naming organic compounds) topic in an organic chemistry I course. Two sections of an organic chemistry I course were targeted for the fall semester and pretest/posttest, exam 1 and final exam data were analyzed to examine gains in student learning. One section served as a control group and was presented with a lecture, whereas the study group learned about the nomenclature topic through a “Mail Man” visual analogy. The newly hired “Mail Man” (character) is trying to remember “addresses” of all the houses on a particular block; so he “asks” questions that enable students to learn the location and numbering of alkyl groups in organic compounds based on “rules of nomenclature”. An additional survey on student perceptions was administered to both sections after teaching the nomenclature topic. Initial results indicate that both groups improved significantly from pretest to posttest, but there was no significant difference between the groups on the posttest and exam I. There was also no difference between the groups on the perceptions survey; however, women in both groups provided higher ratings than men. The presenters will facilitate a discussion on the effects of active learning strategies such as visual analogies and brainstorm possible applications of it.


SoTL Commons: A Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


Savannah, GA