Journal for STEM Education Research
Engagement in active learning and learning communities is important for persistence of STEM students early in their academic programs. Colleges and universities have an ongoing call to facilitate active learning techniques, yet large group, lecture-based instruction is still the prominent method of instruction. This qualitative case study examines interviews and classroom observations of undergraduate chemistry students enrolled at a primarily undergraduate institution. Critical educational elements were identified for chemistry students participating in a redesigned, introductory course which included a collaborative peer-lead learning experience. The participants engaged in required, weekly sessions structured around community building and active learning. The data were framed through a community of practice (CoP) framework, and emergent themes were centered on the following components: mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. Findings show participant engagement created opportunities for collaboration beyond the required, weekly sessions, which included forming study groups and seeking assistance from chemistry tutors. Participants also shared study techniques based on a mutual understanding that effective learning required routine practice. Implications for STEM departments and researchers about implementing research-based curriculum are discussed.
Hall, Jonathan L.; Whitaker, Katherine R.; Seals, Samantha R.; and Benz, Pamela P., "Building a Community of Practice: A Case Study of Introductory College Chemistry Students" (2022). Teacher Education and Technology Faculty Publications. 3.