The Transforming Chemistry with Cognitive AppreNticeship for Engineers (ChANgE Chem) project is working to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education by transforming the general chemistry curriculum for engineering students to a more contextually relevant and engaging experience. ChANge Chem applies a unique approach to creating new learning materials and teaching strategies, developing faculty expertise, implementing an educational innovation and assessing student achievement. ChANge Chem employs the use of cognitive apprenticeship strategies, an educational framework steeped in our understanding of how students learn, to develop a sequence of activities that emulate and make explicit the way engineers think, comprehend, and work. The transformed curriculum situates water, air, waste and energy as fundamental organizing principles in practical engineering problems, communicated as human interest stories. Project goals are organized around the three overarching themes of the Design, Develop and Test components of the research and development cycle.
- Design a framework for a two-semester sequence of ChANge Chem that enacts the four dimensions of cognitive apprenticeship by applying the design elements for adaptive expertise.
- Develop a learning environment that supports the implementation of a field trial of ChANge Chem that includes materials and a combination of physical and online technologies.
- Test the fidelity and usability of the first iteration of the transformed ChANge Chem curriculum with a field trial.
ChANgE Chem advances our understanding of how people learn chemistry and develop the skills for addressing engineering design problems. The project applies a unique approach to create new learning materials and teaching strategies, develop faculty expertise, implement an educational innovation and assess student achievement. Collectively, the project leadership has extensive experience with instructional materials development, innovative pedagogical practices and the use of technology as a learning tool. Individually, the team possesses expertise in chemistry, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, chemical education and STEM education.
ChANgE Chem broadens participation in STEM by designing for the recruitment and retention of women and individuals from diverse cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Producing a transferable model of chemistry education for engineers and communicating results through established networks affords the potential of widespread adoption by a variety of institutions. By contributing a more diverse and better-qualified engineering workforce, ChANge Chem serves society by facilitating sustained economic growth, national security and an informed electorate.