Date of this Version
Schnieder, K. 2023. Implementation of a Pre-Course in Organic Chemistry I to Improve Student Course Outcomes. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
The transition from general chemistry to organic chemistry can be difficult for students and induce feelings of anxiety and unpreparedness. Furthermore, students often have not retained prerequisite knowledge and skills from general chemistry that are necessary for student success in organic. In addition, at-risk student populations may feel these effects more intensely and may be more likely to shy away from STEM majors and courses as a result. Thus, a free, asynchronous, three-week pre-course was created to help students review important prerequisite skills. Students voluntarily participated and the relationship between participation in the pre-course and course outcomes for the organic chemistry I sequence was examined. All students (n=555) enrolled in the regular semester course completed a survey assaying background characteristics, self-efficacy, self-confidence, belongingness, and motivation as well as a general chemistry skills assessment (GCSA). Data collected was used to compare students who enrolled to those that did not enroll, compare students across semesters (Fall compared to Spring), and determine how the pre-course affected student course outcomes, specifically the number of students passing versus receiving a D, F or W. Students who enrolled in the pre-course had significant differences in their background characteristics such as increased levels of engagement and confidence in chemistry, and Fall and Spring student populations had significant differences. Since enrolled students as well as Fall versus Spring students had different background characteristics, and random assignment into the pre-course was not possible, a case control analysis was used. Students (n-235) were matched by first-generation status, GCSA score and engagement. Students who enrolled in the pre-course were significantly less likely to receive a D, F, or W (p