Education, Chemistry, Reformed, Pedagogy


Students often hold negative expectations when enrolling in rigorous undergraduate courses. PhysicalChemistry is a challenging upper-level course for Chemistry majors; the course has a reputation as a demandingcourse that leads to students building negative expectations. This worsened when ambiguity existed in an instructor’s pedagogy. Not addressing those initial expectations of the students abates their motivation, which does not put them in the best place to learn, leading to poor academic performance. The course syllabus is often the first interaction a student has with the course; it can be a critical tool in (re)setting students' initial expectations and allows the instructor to create a teaching plan that will indicate what the students should anticipate in the course. However, discrepancies between students' initial expectations and lived experience of the course may lead students to develop a negative perception of the course and perform poorly. This study addresses this issue by using the syllabus's content as a learning tool to adjust students' expectations, create transparency on behalf of the instructor, and use a reformed pedagogy. This new course structure is introduced by shifting the course from instructor-centered to a more effective teaching method, Process-Oriented-Guided-Inquiry- Learning (POGIL). Rather than being instructor-centered, POGIL focuses on a learning-centered experience for students. This allowed participants to engage more with others via group work while encountering complex concepts in the course. This study collected responses fromPhysical Chemistry students via three Qualtrics surveys using Likert-Scale questions. The surveys evaluated how students' expectations shifted before reading the syllabus (initial expectation), after oriented to the reformed pedagogy (new/evolved expectation), and finally at the end of the course (experience).

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Donnelly, Julie


College of Sciences


Department of Chemistry

Thesis Discipline




Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus