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Publication Date


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Journal of Chemical Education


Our first-semester organic chemistry class focused on structured group work to enable active learning in class. When Smith College switched to online learning after spring break, the class was adapted to fit into an online learning model while retaining active learning. Using feedback from students, we implemented two tracks, one focused on independent work and one focused on group work. Using Zoom’s breakout rooms, we were able to simulate the full class and small group experiences of our in-person class with the help of student learning assistants to facilitate group learning. Slack was introduced for class questions and communications. Student feedback was positive overall and indicated that their perceptions about group work improved over the semester. In the case of in-person classes in the fall, this method might be preferable to a class in which social distancing hampers student-to-student discussion.


Second-year undergraduate, organic chemistry, collaborative/cooperative learning, distance learning, student-centered learning



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Licensed to Smith College and distributed CC-BY under the Smith College Faculty Open Access Policy.


Peer reviewed accepted manuscript.

Available for download on Sunday, August 01, 2021