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Students’ professional skills, such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking, can be enhanced when assessment and feedback on the development of these skills are provided.
One way these skills are developed in active learning environments is through student-student interactions as they work collectively on tasks. Monitoring these interactions provides feedback to the students on the quality of the observed skill and insights for the instructor on the overall effectiveness of the learning environment.These skills may also be developed and assessed in written assignments. Evaluating student written work allows an instructor to give feedback to individual students as well as reflect on the quality of the given assignments in eliciting evidence of professional skills. Intentional assessment of professional skills and subsequent feedback provides a means to explicitly incorporate these skills into regular classroom practice and better align the enacted curriculum with the intended learning outcomes.
Prof. Renee Cole
Dr. Renée Cole is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Iowa. Dr. Cole earned a B.A. in chemistry from Hendrix College, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physical chemistry from the University of Oklahoma before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in chemistry education at the University of Wisconsin. She began her career at the University of Central Missouri, where she was active in both undergraduate education and teacher preparation, before moving to Iowa in 2011. She is also an associate editor for the Journal of Chemical Education and a member of the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee.
Renée’s research focuses on issues related to how students learn chemistry and how that can guide the design of instructional materials and teaching strategies as well on efforts related to faculty development and the connection between chemistry education research and the practice of teaching. She is involved as a PI in multiple interdisciplinary research projects, including the ELIPSS Project (www.elipss.com), which is developing resources for STEM instructors to assess transferable skills in the classroom as well as for a campus initiative to increase evidence-based instructional practices across campus. She was one of the PIs for the Increase the Impact Project (www.increasetheimpact.com), which developed resources for PIs to improve the propagation of their innovations.