By combining synchronous and asynchronous teaching, we are able to balance different levels of knowledge and respond to individual learning styles and paces.
The biggest challenge in chemistry courses is that students arrive with very different levels of knowledge. By switching the lecture and the lab course to a blended learning format, we are able to bridge these differences and bring all students up to the same level because a blended learning format allows them to study at their own pace and revise complex content as often as they want.
Many parts of the “Organic Chemistry” course, which used to be held in a pure face-to-face format, are replaced by asynchronous elements (e.g. PowerPoint slides with audio comments). Following the flipped classroom principle, students are able to learn the basics remotely on their own with a study plan providing the necessary guidance, and practice, discuss and consolidate what they have learned in synchronous sessions with the lecturer, organized as online seminars in BigBlueButton.
By combining synchronous and asynchronous teaching we were able to create an environment that accommodated students' varying levels of knowledge and individual learning styles. In addition, we were able to provide direct student-teacher communication despite the physical distance.
Converting practical lab exercises into a digital format was particularly challenging. In total, twelve different experiments were filmed in the lab and uploaded to ILIAS. In addition, individual data sheets with sample data were created for all students to use as a basis for their own calculations and reports. To support the students, the team also prepared help videos and placed special emphasis on student-teacher communication. Individual feedback played a key role in this context and contributed to the successful learning process, which was reflected in the good average grades and the high number of students who took the final exam.