(130d) Using Virtual Learning Communities for Remote Learning in Large Lecture-Based and Flipped Classrooms.
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 8, 2021 - 1:30pm to 1:50pm
One of the biggest challenges students faced during the COVID-19 pandemic was a loss of both social and learning communities. We examined the question of whether a virtual community within a class could serve some of the same purposes as their in-person communities. Our hypothesis was that putting students into virtual learning communities would encourage them to attend and participate in class and feel more supported in their learning. To test this hypothesis, we used learning communities in 2 large (>100 students) chemical engineering courses during remote and hybrid learning. The fluid mechanics course was taught in a lecture- based format while the material balances course had a flipped format. Both courses had full remote and hybrid modalities throughout the semester. Students stayed in their learning communities for either half of the semester or the entire semester and were put into breakout rooms with their community for many activities including: 1. brainstorming ideas on a shared google doc 2. Researching a topic such as types of valves and their uses and reporting back to the class, 3. working on in-class prolems together as a group, 4. Taking a practice test together. Peer evaluation of the group members was worth 5% of the final grade and focused on contributing to the learning of the group members in a safe environment and anonymous feedback was given throughout the semester. This presentation will report on surveys given to the students. Data from these surveys show that the learning communities created a sense of community among the students in the class while also holding the students accountable for participating during class. It will also discuss extending these ideas beyond the pandemic.