This week I’m reading… Changing STEM education

Jul 29, 2015 | | Say something

Summer is a great time for Good Intentions and Forward Planning… with that in mind I’ve been reading about what way we teach chemistry, how we know it’s not the best approach, and what might be done to change it. Is changing the curriculum enough? Bodner (1992) opens his discussion on reform in chemistry education [...more]

Discussing the role of Inquiry Based Learning

Jun 5, 2015 |

My two recent blog posts on the Education in Chemistry blog have generated a lot of discussion around inquiry-based learning in particular, and “innovative” methods in general. It is really well worth looking at some of the comments. There are two posts, opening gambits are below: The case against inquiry based learning…  Writing recently in The [...more]

Flipped Conference Presentation Video Online

May 6, 2015 | | 4 comments

The last post described the AHEAD Conference Flipped Lecture presentation, which was itself a flipped lecture. Participants were asked to watch a video in advance of the conference and then the conference session itself discussed the themes emerging from that pre-lecture presentation. AHEAD have published the conference presentation, so if you want to watch the [...more]

What are your thoughts on lecture flipping?

Feb 23, 2015 | | 12 comments

I am giving a keynote at the AHEAD conference in March, and the lecture itself will be a flipped lecture on lecture flipping. The audience will be a mixture of academics and support staff from all over Europe and beyond, and the idea is that they will watch the presentation in advance (hmmmm) and we [...more]

Eurovariety in Chemistry Education 2015

Feb 9, 2015 |

Registration is now open for the 2015 Eurovariety in Chemistry Education meeting, being held in Tartu, Estonia from June 30th to July 2nd. Dates on the conference website are currently listed as: Registration opens: February,1 Submission of abstracts opens: February 1, ends March 15 Acceptance of the papers: April 15 Conference Website: Related Posts:Variety in [...more]

Embracing diversity in higher education

Jan 31, 2015 | | 1 comment

The Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) published their first journal recently which I printed off with (I confess) just a passing interest. It turned out to be a compelling read from start to finish. Being time-poor and work weary, I would suggest that most lecturers don’t really like the idea of considering [...more]

The role of prior knowledge

Jan 22, 2015 | | 4 comments

One of the main challenges in teaching first year university students is that they have a great variety of backgrounds. A quick survey of any year one class will likely yield students who have come straight from school, students returning to education, and students who have taken a circuitous route through pre-university courses. Even the [...more]

How difficult are Gas Law questions?

May 20, 2014 | | 1 comment

At last – a way to quantify if you are asking a nasty question or not! Problem solving imposes a cognitive load on novice learners. Even if the problem is simple (often called exercises, if they involve routine algorithmic tasks), the learner will need to recall how to approach each stage of the exercise in [...more]

Plagiarism: Detection, Prevention, Monitoring

Apr 25, 2014 | | 1 comment

I attended the National Forum for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning seminar on plagiarism organised by Kevin O’Rourke at DIT’s Learning Teaching and Technology Centre. The meeting was interesting as it covered three aspects of plagiarism (in my opinion): Plagiarism detection Designing out plagiarism through various L&T methods Institutional and national profiling of extents of [...more]

Peer Pressure

Apr 1, 2014 | | 9 comments

I should be convinced about peer teaching but I’m not. Educators who I respect and who advocate the benefits of peer-tutoring, Peerwise and well, general peeriness, have demonstrated improved grades where lecturers use one of a multitude of peer activities. In what follows, I consider peer teaching to be one where students take some or [...more]

What happens during a lecture?

Mar 3, 2014 | | 1 comment

A question always likely to give strong response is whether PowerPoint should be used in lectures. Those advocating its use point to a more organised lecture where the structure has been thought out in advance. Those against it say that PowerPoint makes it too easy to put too much content in lectures and accompanying handouts. I [...more]

Registration for Irish Variety in Chemistry Education now open

Jan 21, 2014 |

Registration for the Irish Variety in Chemistry Education (#iViCE14) is now open. [Link to Conference Webpage] The conference is being held on Tuesday 6th May 2014 and aims to bring together practitioners and others interested in higher education chemistry teaching. It is a popular meeting allowing for the sharing of ideas and discussion of interesting [...more]

Irish Variety in Chemistry Education 6th May 2014 at DIT

Dec 18, 2013 |

Save the date! The 9th Irish Variety in Chemistry Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 6th May 2014 at DIT. This meeting is always a popular event with 3rd level chemistry practitioners from around the country and beyond sharing good practice in their chemistry teaching. The meeting is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry Republic [...more]

Six questions on video lectures still unanswered

Dec 11, 2013 | | Say something

A recent review by Kay gives a brief overview of video lectures which provides some useful information [see here for open access version]. Perhaps more interesting though are a list of questions at the end of the paper which Kay feels remain unanswered. I’ve listed them below, and thrown in a few of my own [...more]

Screencasts and Videos in Science Education

Dec 11, 2013 | | Say something

This article discusses screencasts and videos in education, with examples relevant to science education. After summarising some principles of good practice, several areas are discussed: Development of lecture preparation videos incorporating interactivity. Developing videos for flipped lectures. Using screencasts for worked examples. Using videos for laboratory preparation. Different methods of creating screencasts (Articulate, Camtasia, Tablet [...more]

Designing e-resources – the transient information effect

Dec 10, 2013 | | Say something

One thing I have often wondered about when considering videos/animations/audio files is that unlike something written on a piece of paper, the information in multimedia presentation moves on quite quickly. With paper, one can get a sense of the whole, see the sequence, refer back quickly to what went before. With audio or video, information, [...more]

Technology enhanced learning in the chemistry classroom [Paper]

Nov 28, 2013 |

Abstract Technology has the potential to assist us in our role as teachers, but the overwhelming amount of technology can make it difficult for new practitioners to know where to begin in the process of selecting fit-for-purpose technologies. In this paper, I aim to highlight some teaching scenarios where technology can have an impact. These include [...more]

#Eurovariety13 Day 1 Report

Jul 3, 2013 |

Action-packed day on context-based chemistry, using technology for innovative assessment, and some reconsideration of problem-based learning… Rainer Glaser (University of Missouri) spoke about the need to include writing and the concept of relating chemistry in the everyday world. Discussion and understanding about how to structure an argument and considering the role and value of science [...more]

Lack of literature on flipped lecture rooms

Apr 16, 2013 |

Compiling literature on flipped/inverted classrooms for higher education isn’t easy. A lot of returns are of the “I couldn’t believe my ears!” type blog, which is fine for what it is, but not an academic study. Yet more literature, typically of the Chronicle or Educause type, tends to say flipped classrooms are great, and they lead on [...more]

If scientists designed the history curriculum…

Mar 26, 2013 | | 1 comment

We’ve been here before. Such was the fever to promote science at the expense of everything else in the mid nineteenth century that Thomas Wyse told an audience at the Waterford Literary and Scientific Society in 1833 to ‘banish all modem politics and controversial theology from their arenas’ and look to ‘Priestley, Brougham, and Watt as the true Promethei of our [...more]