Wading through literature ?>

Wading through literature

I’m brewing a couple of literature reviews at the moment and I’d forgotten two particularly tedious bits of the process; being sufficiently comprehensive, and accessing the papers ‘off campus’. Bloody hell! In 2000 I wrote my first literature review as part of my MChem project and the topic was ‘dendrimer catalysis’. There were only about 2 papers on heterogeneous dendrimer catalysis and a quick Web of Science shows that up to 2000 it was possible to be fairly comprehensive with…

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Once more into the distance ?>

Once more into the distance

My distance learning modules are about to start. Modules – two of them this year – delivered via computer means fair and foul to an institution in China. Last year I delivered our sustainable chemistry module, this year I’m adding half a module on inorganic chemistry to the mix. Last year the module was delivered through a mixture of lecture recordings, directed reading and lecture notes, forums and Turnitin – all done through BlackBoard. This year the courses have been…

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Variable Working Spaces ?>

Variable Working Spaces

This morning on Twitter I’m picking up a lot of tweets from the SEDA conference and many focus on ‘innovative’ campuses and the abolishment of staff office space. Open plan academic office spaces are also being discussed and inevitably working from home. As someone who’s spent the morning setting up a home office because I have to work at home for health reasons for the next few months, this twitter thread is quite thought provoking. Whilst I have a decent…

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Assessing the Assessment Criteria ?>

Assessing the Assessment Criteria

Following on from my musings on word counts (http://wp.me/p3BLsC-pv), I’ve been writing a lot of assessment criteria and guidelines for new assignments in a revised module lately. And I’ve found myself writing: “These are suggestions only. I don’t want to be too specific because I want you to have the flexibility to tailor your report to what your project requires.” And then I’ve found myself struggling greatly to set out assessment criteria beyond general adherence to our institutional rubric. This…

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If I designed Learning Technology… ?>

If I designed Learning Technology…

1. The Turnitin screen could be customised to let the students self-assess their work at the point of submission. This could be with the rubric or with questions designed by the academic. 2. Blackboard tests could be deployed via the Blackboard interface during class on student devices, producing the kind of graphs that Turning Technology voting systems can produce and that Socrative doesn’t seem to. 3. Interoperability would be paramount in design – no proprietary formats, everything available for export…

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Metrics Metrics Everywhere and not a drop to drink ?>

Metrics Metrics Everywhere and not a drop to drink

Yeah, this isn’t going to be a rant about the types of metrics that ‘engaged’ me somewhat at a meeting yesterday. Rather, it’s about the metrics we use in setting assessment that seem to cause fairly significant damage to student learning: word counts and hours of effort. Firstly let’s establish one thing: there are occasions where strict adherence to a word count is an authentic twist in an assessment that mirrors many real scenarios. I have no contest with those,…

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Undergraduate Projects (again!) This Time: MChem ?>

Undergraduate Projects (again!) This Time: MChem

I wrote back in May about final year projects, meaning BSc final year. http://www.possibilitiesendless.com/2016/05/one-year-out-another-year-in/ It’s a nice aggregation of previous musings on the subject and therefor relevant to the brainfull of thoughts leaping from my fingers. For 2016/17 we have a new type of project: final year MChem projects. I’m yet to see assessment criteria for these projects but one thing I must do is consider my expectations as a supervisor of MChem projects and grapple with the difference between…

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When is a teaching innovation not a teaching innovation? ?>

When is a teaching innovation not a teaching innovation?

Is it when it is not evaluated? Is it when it is not effective? Is it when it causes harm to a small group of students? Is it when the staff members asked to try it hate it? What is the success criteria for a teaching innovation? At the weekend I was attempting to answer a question about why there are so many changes in education. Why haven’t we figured out how to teach in the right way yet? It’s…

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#ViCEPHEC16 post-conference musings ?>

#ViCEPHEC16 post-conference musings

The highlights of Variety in Chemistry Education/Physics Higher Education Conference are many and varied this year. The conference felt like it was having a wee bit of existential angst, initiated by this EiC blog post (http://www.rsc.org/eic/2016/07/community-clique-conference) on whether the community at the ViCE bit was community or clique, propagated by discussions about the division between practice and pedagogy, and ultimately terminated by everyone really finding presentations of all types very interesting. That being said, I’m glad it is a 2-day…

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#ViCEPHEC16 Pre-conference musings and updates ?>

#ViCEPHEC16 Pre-conference musings and updates

It’s that time of year again – Variety in Chemistry Education.  It’s so warm here in Southampton, I’m struggling to spell chemistry properly. In advance of the conference, I recommend Charles Harrison’s piece on the difference between community and clique within the ChemEd community. http://www.rsc.org/eic/2016/07/community-clique-conference   By way of update to my post last year recaping the previous few years, particularly the social media outputs: #ViCEPHEC15 Last year’s Storify can be found: https://storify.com/RSC_EiC/is-vicephec15-the-most-hotly-anticipated-conferencThere’s also one on Paul Taylor’s Ecopedagogy session: https://storify.com/S_J_Lancaster/ecopedagogy-at-vicephec15 Michael Seery’s…

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