Last night, I had the students do an experiment on Lewis Structures, VSEPR (Valence-Shell Electron-Pair Repulsion) Theory, and Molecular Shape. Whilst learning about the molecular shapes of a variety of different compounds, they had the opportunity to practice writing Lewis dot structures, as well as to construct molecular models with a model kit.
I had thought if I had the students start at ca. 7.00 pm, they should be able to finish by around 9.00 pm. Boy, was I wrong. I didn't anticipate that they would have a heap of problems grasping the concepts in this experiment. For most of the other experiments, I was able to leave them alone, with minimal supervision, as they completed their tasks. This one, I noticed they were a lot more dependent on me as they muddled through this experiment. The last students did not leave until 9.45 pm, approximately 30 minutes over time. I suppose it compensates for the times the students left early (and class should go on until ca. 9.15 pm).
In addition, I gave them what I thought should have been a very very easy Question of the Day, asking them to identify what class a variety of compounds belong. They had five choices: alkane, alkene, alkyne, cycloalkanes, and aromatic compounds. No one received perfect marks, and one of them (whom I've been quite concerned for a while, actually) only managed to get one correct.
It is making me wonder - considering that the students received this information on-line, as opposed to me going over it in a lecture, if this is an example of how the Blended Course model is failing these students ... or if I need to re-think how to use the Blended Course model for this course. It makes me a little worried, actually.
The material certainly isn't getting any easier. I'm to administer an exam on-line tomorrow, and I already told the students they will have to answer 50 questions, multiple choice or fill in the blank. I might also add an extra credit problem, but it's one in which they'd have to think.
We'll see. I really want to see these students do well, but it is frustrating to me that, with one notable exception, they don't appear to be doing as well as I would have liked them to.