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ERIC Number: EJ804924
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1059-0145
A Cognitive Framework for the Analysis of Online Chemistry Courses
Evans, Karen L.; Leinhardt, Gaea
Journal of Science Education and Technology, v17 n1 p100-120 Feb 2008
Many students now are receiving instruction in online environments created by universities, museums, corporations, and even students. What features of a given online course contribute to its effectiveness? This paper addresses that query by proposing and applying an analytic framework to five online introductory chemistry courses. Introductory chemistry was chosen because, as the central science, chemistry is a core component of scientific literacy as well as a long-established prerequisite for science, engineering, and medical fields. An online instructional delivery system has the potential to overcome the limitations of the traditionally large and passive lecture format characteristic of an introductory chemistry course by providing students with opportunities for active engagement and support in the learning process via self-pacing, dynamic expositions, interactive problem solving, and open ended or scaffolded explorations of new information. The proposed framework for addressing the effectiveness of online chemistry courses is informed by both cognitive and chemistry education research on examples, tasks, and explorations and includes a catalog of possible online resources. As a demonstration of the framework, an analysis was conducted on each course's instruction in stoichiometry, a tool that is both challenging to students and fundamental to the solution-chemistry topics addressed during subsequent coursework. The application of this framework revealed characteristics of the courses that could affect their instructional effectiveness as well as students' impressions of what it means to "do chemistry."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A