• ISSN: 2155-7993
  • Journal of Modern Education Review

 Fostering A Positive Collaborative Learning Experience in an Optional Student Success Program

Travis R. McDowell, Emmalou T. Schmittzehe, Klaus Woelk, Harvest Collier
(Chemistry Department, Missouri University of Science & Technology, USA)
Abstract: The evolution of a student success program for the gatekeeper general chemistry course at a primarily STEM focused university is discussed with regards to student participation and program effectiveness. The program advanced from its beginnings as a minimally utilized study session into a peer-assisted active-learning environment with significant participation. The current model shares similarities with typical supplemental instruction models consisting of a problem-solving workshop with instructor and peer-led support, and a focus on active collaborative learning. The program provides incoming students, most of which are non-chemistry majors, an opportunity to improve their academic skills through peer interactions resulting in higher levels of performance in the college environment. Student participation in the program was significantly strengthened through campus-wide advertisement and the incorporation of a small, tangible incentive. Participation and course performance data indicate enhanced student success for those attending the non-mandatory sessions at least once a week.

Key words: STEM education, general chemistry, gatekeeper course, supplemental instruction, collaborative learning, non-mandatory attendance

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