Evaluation of Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving Skills of Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors (2021-03-05)

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Evaluation of Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving Skills of Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors (2021-03-05)

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Real-world applications of science are often interdisciplinary, involvingoverlapping concepts from multiple STEM fields. However, undergraduatesmajoring in science are taught these concepts in separate courses, one for eachfield, and their performance is then evaluated by asking them to solve problemsin each subdiscipline separately. This approach is often not effective inexplicitly relating the subdisciplines of STEM to interdisciplinary applications inindustry or academic research. Therefore, our siloed approach to teaching andevaluating STEM students leaves us with an unassessed, but very importantquestion: How well can STEM graduates solve problems at the intersectionsbetween STEM subfields? To begin addressing this question, we first turn to theintersections and interdisciplinary problems that exist within our own field:Chemistry and Biochemistry. To assess students’ interdisciplinary problem-solving skills among the subdisciplines of chemistry, we have developed anovel instrument. Each item in the instrument is designed so that it requires anunderstanding of principles of multiple branches of chemistry and utilizesproblem-solving skills necessary in real-world applications and research. Tomeasure the reliability of the instrument, validation studies are beingconducted. Feedback obtained from validation studies will be used to optimizethe instrument. The optimized instrument is intended to be administered ongraduating seniors and the data obtained will be used in item analysis andfactor analysis. It is anticipated that the results obtained from the study could beused to interpret the output of undergraduate chemistry education andintroduce appropriate reforms to the undergraduate curriculum.


Friday, March 5, 2021; 3:30 p.m. Remote Via Zoom; Adeesha Jayathilaka, Master's Student, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Minnesota Duluth; Research Advisor's [sic]: Dr. Anne Hinderliter and Dr. Jacob Wainman

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Jayathilaka, Adeesha; University of Minnesota Duluth. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. (2021). Evaluation of Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving Skills of Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors (2021-03-05). Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/220630.

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