General Chemistry eLearning resource for development of analytic problem solving skills: novel Infrastructure for hybrid teaching and online delivery of STEM courses
Graduation of students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are driven by the demands of powerhouse high tech industries that reside in New Jersey. As a consequence, the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) is faced with growing enrollment in core courses, and in particular General Chemistry which in recent semesters has had to accommodate approximately 2,000 students each semester, a number that has been projected to continue to rise. A concern expressed by both faculty and the CCB and SAS administration, involves the critical role played by gateway courses such as Gen Chem, and the percentage of tenure-stream faculty that teach them, in reducing the attrition of STEM majors. This entrepreneurial initiative is focused on the development of key infrastructure needed to facilitate hybrid teaching and online course delivery for STEM classes that specifically require development of analytic problem solving skills. We propose to develop a web service that provides an interactive Gen Chem eLearning environment that teaches self-guided problem solving. This service will generate revenue directly through marketing to students and universities locally and nation wide. Moreover, there will be additional indirect financial benefits for Rutgers realized through tuition from increased enrollment, and reduction of part time lecture and recitation teaching staff. This venture will create key infrastructure and establish a prototype model for modern hybrid teaching and online course delivery for STEM classes that could be more broadly applied to interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate education.