Before Class Explorations:

This project is a result of work by Dr. John I. Gelder (Oklahoma State University) and Dr. Michael R. Abraham (The University of Oklahoma), along with the assistance of Kirk Haines.

A BCE consists of a series of questions that each student will answer, to the best of their ability, using a web-based form, prior to a class meeting.  BCEs can be used to: pool data to be used to invent concepts in lecture, identify student misconceptions to be addressed in lecture, and review concepts needed as prerequisite knowledge for a lecture topic. The instructor can access student responses to BCEs and use them to customize their lecture, to address specific students’ misconceptions, to assess students’ prerequisite knowledge, and to develop charts and graphs of student-generated observations that can be used to invent concepts. One of the goals of BCEs is to encourage students to come to the lecture already thinking about the topic to be discussed. Taking large lecture classes can be a passive experience for most students. BCEs are one method for more actively involving them.

Student response(s) to the BCE are stored in a database the instructor can access.  The BCE takes approximately 10 minutes of the student's time before class and provides the instructor with several interesting pieces of information about the knowledge and understanding students bring to the classroom about the content of that day’s material.  By answering a few questions students will be able to demonstrate some basic knowledge.  Student misconceptions about a topic can be easily identified when the right questions are asked.  The questions used on the BCE are scaffolded and progress from the simple to the more complex.  After completing the BCE students receive a page with their answers juxtaposed to an Expert’s answer.  By comparing their answers to the expert’s the student will see whether they understand the material or not.  As a result of doing the BCE students will have some questions when they come to class that they want answered.  Students will not know about their misconceptions, but when the instructor reviews the student responses in the database misconceptions can be quickly and easily identified.  Thus empowered the instructor can point out common misunderstandings to the students in the class.

This web site (Instructor's) is designed to allow faculty to integrate BCEs into their Introductory Chemistry Class(es). By creating a Teacher Personal Page access to a set of BCEs for a first semester introductory chemistry class (the complete year will be available in May, 2007). The set of available BCEs and the Expert's Response Page can be accessed from the Teacher Personal Page. To create a Teacher Personal Page click on the New Teacher Login link and complete the form. I am looking for interested faculty (High school and College) to test this web site in their classes. By creating a Teacher Login I will know of you possible interest in this project.