Instructional Innovation: Mike Knapp

Associate Professor, Chemistry

Fall 2016 Innovation Fellow

Fellow Project & Instructional Interests

My interests are understanding how biology controls the metal cofactors and protein recognition involved in O2-sensing, discovering bio-mimetic systems for controlled oxidation chemistry, and developing fluorescence-based sensors which are useful in new explosives-sensing strategies. Hybrid nanoparticle/protein adducts as engineered materials.

The challenge that I will address is to help first-year students to engage in General Chemistry – both with their peers as well as with course material. Introductory science courses can feel like a series of content-specific hurdles which tends to lead students to compartmentalize their learning and effort. Fortunately, there are ways to help students to build connections as a group of learners while also serving as formative/low-stakes assessments. I will use a free OpenStax textbook through Perusall, which will permit peer annotations on the reading material. This is intended to help students engage with course material regularly while building community. A second innovation will be to create a course Facebook page, which will allow me to make photo/video assignments for formative assessments – this will also create an instant community for my students. If successful, building this community will lead to more consistent student engagement throughout the semester, as well as providing me with insight into student comprehension prior to a high-stakes exam.