Welcome to the Interactive Inorganic Challenge Forum!
Inorganic Challenges were inspired by the peer-led team learning (PLTL) method, part of a broader effort in the chemistry education community to incorporate interactive learning into courses. Workshops consist of small groups of students working together to solve a conceptually involved problem; an important feature is minimal guidance, so that students refine class concepts through negotiation rather than being told the answer by an instructor. Workshops let students practice scientific problem solving and correct misconceptions.
PLTL is an example of a range of small-group strategies that have been useful, but they have exclusively been applied to courses in general chemistry and organic chemistry. Upper-level chemistry courses should also benefit from interactive learning, to supplement the lecture material or even replace some lecture material through discovery. It is natural for advanced courses to use an interactive format, because students should be trained to express scientific ideas persuasively. Note that graduate education is accomplished largely through a "group meeting" model where concepts are worked out in a group of peers, and chemists in industry typically work in teams.
One problem that inhibits the use of interactive group learning in class is a lack of appropriate questions for the groups. The questions must be carefully worded to avoid ambiguity, but require deep thought and nontrivial answers. Only experience shows the amount of time that it takes students to finish. And, questions have to get the students interested! We believe that inorganic chemistry teachers should utilize the easy sharing of information via the Internet to benefit from the experience of others. This allows them to reduce or eliminate difficulties in incorporating team questions, which we call "Challenges," into their courses.This Web site is meant to be a forum for inorganic chemistry professors interested in sharing their ideas of Challenges. You can look at previously posted Challenges, and submit Challenges yourself. Any feedback is welcomed.
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