Teaching chemistry at tertiary level: Lessons learned from the constraints of the pandemic

26 August 2021 16:00-17:30, Online (Pretoria), South Africa

This event will appeal to anyone interested in teaching chemistry in higher education. Note the start time is 16:00 SAST and 15:00 BST.
COVID-19 disrupted education totally and educators and students around the world have worked incredibly hard to ensure teaching and learning in "the new normal" continued. What lessons can we learn from this experience? In this talk I will discuss three major changes in the context of chemistry in higher education. Firstly the pandemic catalysed changes already under way over several years in blended and distance learning and introduced faculty and students en masse to these other modes of learning. [1]  Many of these approaches have value and higher education institutions are interested in how to maintain some of these approaches for various strategic and pedagogic reasons. Secondly, the pandemic crystallised our thinking on laboratory education; long languishing and in need of substantial reform. In the moment we could not access our teaching labs, we were tasked with identifying what it is labs are for as we sought to replace them with online alternatives. [2]  The results of this work have potential to be transformative in how we incorporate laboratory education in our curricula. Finally, we have transmuted our approaches to assessment of chemistry and there is much interest in maintaining alternatives, many of which are seen as more equitable for students. [3] We are then at a potentially pivotal moment in how we teach chemistry. I will aim to discuss the above in the context of broader strategic objectives, maintaining and growing student demand to study chemistry, and accreditation requirements.
 [1] Nordmann E., Horlin C., Hutchison J., Murray J.-A., Robson L., Seery M. K., and MacKay, J. Ten simple rules for supporting a temporary online pivot in higher education. PLoS Computational Biology, 2020, 16 (10): e1008242.
[2] Seery, M. K. Establishing the Laboratory as the Place to Learn How to Do Chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 2020, 97 (6), 1511–1514.
[3] Seery, M. K. RSC COVID Assessment Survey. Report to the RSC Education Division Council., June 2021.
Speaker Biography
Michael Seery is Professor of Chemistry Education. Until recently he was at the University of Edinburgh, where he was Director of Teaching in the School of Chemistry, leading a large-scale curriculum transformation of their accredited degree programmes. He is former Editor in Chief of the RSC journal Chemistry Education Research and Practice. His research interests are learning in laboratories and digital education. His current work focuses on learning design and technology, and he is consultant advisor to institutions looking to implement strategic change. Michael is recipient of numerous awards, including the RSC Higher Education Teaching Award, RSC “Inspirational Member” Award, Principal’s Medal for Exceptional Contribution to the University of Edinburgh, and a UK National Teaching Fellowship. He writes about education and technology on his website: www.michaelseery.com.

GoToWebinar (chaired from the University of Pretoria)

GoToWebinar (chaired from the University of Pretoria), Online via GoToWebinar, Online (Pretoria), 0002, South Africa

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