Title

Assessing the Impact of Integrating POGIL in Elementary Organic Chemistry

Author

Ahmad Shatila

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Robert C. Bateman, Jr.

Advisor Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Abstract

Organic chemistry is a difficult subject to teach especially to non-chemistry majors. CHE 251, Elementary Organic Chemistry, is an introductory course in organic chemistry given to non-chemistry majors. It is usually taught the traditional way using lectures as the main method of presentation. In the fall of 2006, POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) activities were introduced in this course. POGIL is a program that integrates guided inquiry and cooperative learning in chemistry education. The purpose of this research study was to determine the effect of using POGIL activities in elementary organic chemistry. CHE 251, Elementary Organic Chemistry, was taught using a mixture of traditional teaching, lecturing, and POGIL activities. This was assessed by looking at the effect of using POGIL activities on student achievement. Furthermore, the study investigated possible effects of POGIL activities on students' attitudes toward chemistry. Archival data on 28 students enrolled in the fall 2004 semester were used in this study. In addition, 27 students enrolled in the 2006 semester participated in the study by completing an attitudinal survey that was developed by the researcher. Finally, 9 students enrolled in the 2006 semester were interviewed to give additional insight to the study. The quantitative data concerning achievement revealed no significant difference between groups, students who used POGIL did not differ from students who did not. Further, the quantitative data concerning confidence levels of students in understanding and applying organic chemistry before and after going through the POGIL activities revealed no significant difference. This study showed that students in general (88.8% of surveyed students) liked POGIL activities and preferred them over lecturing. Students thought that POGIL activities helped them better understand and learn chemistry. Furthermore, students acknowledged the benefits of guided inquiry and cooperative learning, the two major ingredients of a POGIL workshop.