The University of Missouri at Columbia
Chemistry 433, Computational Chemistry, FS02

Collaborative Learning
and Peer Review
in Chemical Learning Communities

The Utopian Goal: Teaching to Enable Autodidactic Behavior

About Learning in Customary Educational Settings: Not only do individuals learn at vastly different speeds and in different ways, but man seems capable of astonishing feats of rapid learning when the attendant circumstances are favourable. It seems that, in customary educational settings, one habitually uses only a tiny fraction of one's learning capacities.

Complexities of Human Learning: Educators are therefore becoming increasingly concerned with these concomitant learnings. They are aware that the long-term significance of the arithmetical skill that the student consciously learns may be nugatory compared with the importance of what he learns about himself as a learner, about his capacities and limits, about his relationship with his teacher, about power and authority, about his relationships with his fellow students, about equality, collaboration, competition, and friendship.

Scope of the Collaborative Projects

Having recognized the complexities of learning, it is the purpose of the Chemistry 433 (Group) Projects to engage the students in collaborative learning and to train and develop their ability to work with peers and their peer review skills.

Depending on the number of enrolled students, study "groups" might consist of individuals or of two students. Each "group" will carry out two projects.

The written part of both projects will be submitted to the instructor in form of an electronic report and, upon approval, this report will be hyperlinked and posted on the Chemistry 433 Project Page. Both projects will require oral presentation to the class in form of a lecture/discussion session. All projects will be evaluated via a guided peer review by all of other groups.

Working in the projects, the oral interaction with your peers and the feedback obtained through peer review, all of these mechanisms will provide you with an opportunity for more active learning, will provide the framework for support and constructive criticism, and will teach you valuable lessons on group dynamics. You will have to focus on the peer group rather than your internal standards alone. Also, there will be only one grade for the members of a given group.

Relevant Dates and Deadlines

Formation of Groups. Friday, September 26, 2002. Send an email note to the instructor that contains the name of the group and lists the names of two group members and their email addresses. If you will work alone, send an email and state so.

Further Information

The Collaborative Projects are being carried out in Chemistry 433 for the third time (first in Chem 433 in WS98) in the present fashion and your input is welcome. Please be open and frank when commenting on any aspect of the design, planning, and execution of the Collaborative Projects.

Absolument mon ami, l'excellence est une habitude.