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LAMP Fellow of the Month (November, 2018)

Stephanie Fiedler
Stephanie Fiedler (center back) engages in Collaborative
Communication with a group of fellow educators at the
LAMP Science Initiative Summer Institute. 

Our LAMP fellow of the Month for November was Stephanie Fiedler! Stephanie instructs Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne. When Stephanie applied for the LAMP Summer Institute and yearlong training, she related a goal of enhancing the active learning in both courses. She noted that the challenge in this is, “making the in-class activities really engaging/interesting, rather than just answer[ing] questions or solving practice problems.”

After immersive training in team-based learning, problem-based learning, and other student-centered pedagogies during the Summer Institute (June 4th-8th, 2018), Stephanie wrote a detailed instructional strategy proposing learning outcomes, active learning strategies, and assessments. She aimed to have students build upon their prior knowledge in order to better understand bonds/molecules and, interactions between molecules.

She wanted students to be able to not only drawstructural formulas and identify intermolecular bonds, but she wanted them to be able to use this knowledge to predict physical properties. Moreover, she wanted them to situate this knowing in tangible, reallife situations, to apply their knowledge to things like nutrition. In education lingo, this approach is called constructivism. It allows students to scaffold their learning on existing knowledge that they already have from everyday living. 

To accomplish these goals, Stephanie employed team-based learning. In this model, she assigned students to diverse teams who work together for the entire semester. Before coming to class, the students complete specific readiness tasks. In our Summer Institute, we dubbed these tasks the “pre-party”! When students arrive to class, they take a short individual readiness assessment test, and then they come together with their team to repeat the readiness test together. Stephanie modified this a bit further and incorporated both pre- and post-tests so that she could encourage reflective practice and selfassessment. This freed students to use the remainder of the class time to draw chemical structures, make balloon models and come to understand the unequal sharing of electrons in a covalent bond by playing tug of war! 

Throughout her semester of implementation, Stephanie constantly considered inclusion. She states, “I added a diversity statement & a group-work contract to my syllabus & I think that has had a positive impact on student expectations & engagement in the course.”

When asked about the active learning component of CHEM 1000, one of Stephanie’s students commented, “Despite the complexity of this course, I enjoyed the active learning activities that were provided ...  They went along with course material and helped my overall understanding of the material.” 

Stephanie, you have certainly overcome the challenge that you expressed when you applied to the LAMP. Your class activities have done more than become truly engaging, they have evolved to nurture students’ metacognition, reflective practice, and deep learning! We are elated to be able to honor her with this Fellow of the Month Award. Keep rocking students’ worlds Stephanie!

 


< October, 2018 |January, 2019 >

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