Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Peer instruction questions for DFT

Readers of this blog will know I am a fan of using peer instruction in teaching and I am happy to say that, as of this week, I am using peer instruction instruction in all the courses I contribute to.  This week I covered DFT in our Computational Chemistry course (which is the only week I currently contribute).

In the past I have always lectured, straight from the DFT section in my book, which the students get a copy of beforehand; all because I simply couldn't think of good multiple choice questions.  But now I use Socrative for polling, which has a very nifty "short answer" option: I ask a question, the students discuss and type in their answer, once finished they then get to vote for their favorite answer, and, once finished, I discuss some of the answers (including why some answers are wrong).  You can see the questions I asked above.

Of course this means the students have to prepare for class beforehand.  I had them read the electron correlation and DFT sections from my book, a perspective article by Kieron Burke, and the DFT chapter from Frank Jensen's book.  In addition they had to watch David Sherrill's video lecture on DFT:

I am very happy with the way the process went.  I'll definitely do it this way from now on.

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