U of Maryland, Baltimore County Seeks Fresh Ways To Teach Familiar Introductory Courses

Ann McClure's picture

Bill LaCourse felt inadequate.

Some of his Chemistry 101 students sat in the back of the lecture hall and spaced out. Others simply left class as they pleased. "Maybe you're just not a good teacher," his department head said when LaCourse sought advice.

His ego would not tolerate that as a final answer. So the University of Maryland, Baltimore County professor decided to put up a fight. If he couldn't make the class work in a traditional lecture format, the format would have to change.

"We need to do something drastic," he remembers thinking as he and his colleagues dreamed up a space they christened the Chemistry Discovery Center. The center would become a prime example of the teaching innovation that is a major component of UMBC's rising national reputation.

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