(293f) Design of Differentiated Curricula in Freshman Chemical Engineering Courses | AIChE

(293f) Design of Differentiated Curricula in Freshman Chemical Engineering Courses


O'Haver, J., University of Mississippi
A differentiated curriculum within the K-12 educational setting is common-place, and is frequently used by educators to address the many differences in learning amongst students within a class. It has also been adapted into STEM-related subjects and has shown enhanced depth of learning and independence achieved by students of all year levels. Yet, despite these successes, this pedagogy is little utilized at post-secondary level by educators. At freshman level in particular, students enter college from a wide range of secondary-school experiences, and come with differing levels of college-preparedness, attitudes towards study, study skills, academic performance, and levels of independence. Retention rates are far from acceptable from freshman to sophomore level, and are even lower for STEM-based courses.

A differentiation framework for post-secondary education is currently being implemented at the University of Mississippi, Chemical Engineering Department, for ChE101: Introduction to Chemical Engineering, to target both lower and higher performing students and to improve retention rates. This framework has carefully organized the main differentiation principles into a logical and progressive sequence for learning, starting with an understanding of student need, providing multiple approaches to learning and challenging learning experiences, through to the ultimate goal of creating independent learners. This presentation describes the initial outcomes of implementation into ChE101, using instructor observation, student feedback and achievement to judge the overall success of the program. Future work will include the development of user guides for educators and students, adapting the framework into useful instructions for educators to develop a differentiated course, and for students to become independent learners.


This paper has an Extended Abstract file available; you must purchase the conference proceedings to access it.


Do you already own this?



AIChE Pro Members $150.00
AIChE Graduate Student Members Free
AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
AIChE Explorer Members $225.00
Non-Members $225.00