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Open AccessArticle

Implementing Reflective Group Work Activities in a Large Chemistry Lab to Support Collaborative Learning

by Hannah Leopold 1,* and Ann Smith 2,*
1
Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering, Twin Cities, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
2
Internationalizing the Curriculum and Campus, Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, Twin Cities, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10010007
Received: 1 December 2019 / Revised: 23 December 2019 / Accepted: 26 December 2019 / Published: 27 December 2019
Many classrooms in higher education are becoming increasingly diverse. Diversity is an asset when student interactions are promoted and facilitated by instructors. The challenge is, many times students are grouped together for a collaborative project without attention to or skilled support for the learning and development that can occur through the intercultural collaborative process itself. Instructors often assume this learning happens automatically or organically and does not need to be acted upon explicitly. However, collaboration skills do not come naturally; simply putting students in groups is not enough. When collaboration is facilitated skillfully it benefits all students, especially those from marginalized and historically underserved groups. Here, we enumerate barriers instructors face in supporting groups, describe/share a model, and explore the implementation of this model in a general chemistry lab, which relies heavily on group work. We found that these activities are feasible in a large STEM class, that students participated and found value in them, and that they enhanced students’ content learning and the development of cross-cutting competencies sought by employers. We hope after reading this paper, instructors will recognize the responsibility and opportunity they have in supporting interactions, and have new inspiration and a pathway to do so. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative learning; undergraduate general chemistry; group work; inclusive pedagogy collaborative learning; undergraduate general chemistry; group work; inclusive pedagogy
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Leopold, H.; Smith, A. Implementing Reflective Group Work Activities in a Large Chemistry Lab to Support Collaborative Learning. Educ. Sci. 2020, 10, 7.

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