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Our LAMP Fellow of the Month for April, 2020 is Ginka Kubelka. Dr. Kubelka is a faculty member in the department of Chemistry. She instructs both an in-depth, multi-semester Organic Chemistry course and a one-semester survey course. As such, she works with a diverse spectrum of learners. In fact, when Ginka applied to become a LAMP Fellow, she stated, “The spectrum of students with different backgrounds and abilities makes it impossible for any one approach to suit everyone.” Ginka’s recognition of student diversity has underscored her work as a LAMP Fellow throughout the year.
Ginka Kubelka (far right) works with her team at the 2019 Summer Institute.
Ginka’s LAMP participation began in June when, at the weeklong Summer Institute in Sheridan, WY, she worked to develop an instructional strategy for both her multi-semester and survey classes. Her strategy was guided by a student-centered philosophy but also by the awareness that instructors can motivate students and fuel their curiosity, therefore lifting barriers to learning. Ginka’s student learning outcomes spanned Bloom’s cognitive levels. She aimed to have her students utilize conceptual learning to enable them to derive reaction mechanisms and discuss the likelihood of that a reaction will occur under varying conditions. In order to enable students to practice these skills in her multi-semester class, Ginka implemented Draw-Pair-Share activities as well as several team-based learning (TBL) sessions. For the latter, students reviewed material before class. When they got to class, they took an individual readiness assurance test and them worked with their team to take the same test together. Using the results of these evaluations as an assessment, Ginka was able to design an ‘on the fly mini-lecture’ to address students areas of confusion. She then let them practice the skills that they found most challenging. In order to assure that all students felt included in these sessions, Ginka enabled students to interact with the material in different ways; she allowed them to learn through diverse representations.
In order to assess students’ learning over the course of the semester, Ginka designed her own knowledge survey. She launched this as both a pre- and post-assessment along with a vetted Science Literacy Concept Inventory. Ginka’s final data show that students’ scores on the knowledge survey increased by more than 50%. On the final knowledge survey, Ginka’s students averaged 82.5%. This shows class mastery of the skills and knowledge that Ginka deemed the most important learning outcomes. Additionally when asked about TBL sessions, students were highly satisfied with only 1 student expressing any negative feelings about the sessions. One student said, “Do more of these – group work has made my learning a lot easier and made the info stick.”
Students in Ginka’s survey class took a broad pre- and post-survey about their experience with active learning. Regarding their experience with active learning, one student commented, “Active learning from this semester helped me to better understand some of the processes and mechanisms in Organic Chemistry.” Another student thoughtfully considered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and said, “It was very different due to the many circumstances that we were faced but overall I learned a great amount and [am] very happy with how it was taught.”
Ginka’s final research poster, along with those of the other LAMP Fellows will remain on display in the virtual world called Second Life until the summer’s end. In order to visit the posters, you will need to become a free member in Second Life. You can do this at http://secondlife.com. Download the Second Life Viewer. Once you have opened the viewer and are logged in, you will find yourself on Orientation Island. Feel free to customize your avatar. Now, teleport to the poster pavilion on Genome Island http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Genome/175/27/24.