Investigating the Use of Study Resources by Introduction Level Chemistry Students

Sara Saleh, “Investigating the Use of Study Resources by Introduction Level Chemistry Students”
Mentor: Anja Blecking, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry is the basis of many natural sciences. Understanding the fundamentals of chemistry is critical for proper training and career development in many scientific fields. Without a thorough understanding of these fundamentals, one will always struggle to make connections and see the bigger picture. This is because chemical literacy harbors multiple perspectives, without which, one is scientifically shortsighted. It is for this reason that low levels of chemical literacy in the United States are so concerning. This is a global issue, across many scientific fields; looking at these levels in detail reveals some socio-economic implications which will take years and significant social changes to overcome. Investigating students’ preferred study methods can give insight into what type of resources students value. It is also important to look into what students consider to be the more difficult concepts in introductory chemistry. Surveys were designed for each lower-level chemistry course and improved over the course of two semesters. The questions were all specific for their courses, so we could better apply our results to the courses in question. The questions identified preferred study and review methods, methods for reaching out and getting help, and categorized chemistry topics in terms of difficulty. The surveys were published in the spring of 2020. Analysis of the surveys showed that students rank calculation-based concepts to be the most difficult; it also showed that students utilize a lot of online help from websites to online tutoring.

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