Readers may be familiar with Harvard physicist Eric Mazur's ConcepTests, which have been shown to enhance substantially the comprehension of introductory physics concepts. Briefly, conceptual questions are posed in the lecture room along with a few possible answers. Students vote on the possible answers, then try to persuade their neighbors in the lecture room that they are correct, and finally vote again. This form of peer instruction is often an effective pedagogical method, and it also provides the instructor with on-line feedback as to how well the class is following the lecture. Mazur has established a library of physics ConcepTest questions that can be accessed on the world wide web at http://galileo.harvard.edu.
Some instructors have found that ConcepTests that elicit feedback from their students without first giving possible answers are effective. These ConcepTests are often multi-concept in nature and may require more classtime. Instructors can access these ConcepTests through the index, listed as MultiStep ConcepTests. Currently, there are MultiStep ConcepTests in the Organic category.
The New Traditions Project has produced a videotape illustrating how ConcepTests can be used to promote active learning in large lectures. Four teachers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison are shown in real classes, each using this innovation in a slightly different manner. In all cases the object is to encourage the students to process information for themselves and not simply to record passively the instructor's lecture. Arthur Ellis and Lorena Tribe are shown teaching Chemistry 109 (General & Analytical Chemistry), Charles Casey is shown teaching Chemistry 343 (Introductory Organic Chemistry), and G. Earl Peace is shown teaching Chemistry 103 (General Chemistry). Although each of these classes enrolls more than 150 students, the techniques shown have also been found to be effective in much smaller classes. Copies of this videotape are available in limited quantity. If you would like to receive a complimentary copy, please contact the Journal of Chemical Education, at JCE@chem.wisc.edu.
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Developed and maintaind by Arthur B. Ellis, Ann Cappellari, George C. Lisensky, Julie K. Lorenz, Katie Meeker, Dale Moore , Karen Campbell, Jennifer Billmann, and Kimberly Rickert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Department.
About the contributors. Each ConcepTest having a blue number is hot-linked to the name and email address of its author. ConcepTests having a black number have been contributed by the website development and maintenance team.
Last updated 4 May 2000
Copyright 1996 by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, except where individual contributors retain their own copyright. The contents are supplied for classroom use only. Chemistry ConcepTest questions should not be duplicated, transmitted via the network, or published.