Teaching and Learning

Catalysts to learning

Chemistry is an exciting subject and we try to teach it that way, by mixing excellent course content and tuition with imaginative ways of learning.

Lectures, small group tutorials, laboratory work, workshops and problem-solving sessions will all challenge your thinking and expand your knowledge.

Additionally we make innovative use of technology. Below are some examples.

ChemTube3D

 Logo for ChemTube3D

ChemTube3D is a web-based visualisation of reaction mechanisms and molecular/crystal structures. Initially introduced by Dr Nick Greeves, the holder of a prestigious Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship, ChemTube3D is constantly expanding with new reactions being added regularly.

This project has been funded by wide variety of educational research bodies (the Higher Education Academy, UK Physical Sciences Centre, JISC, Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund and the EPSRC).

Lecture Recording

Lecture recording screenshot

Lectures in over 20 of our modules are now recorded and made available to students through our virtual learning environment. The lectures can also be viewed on portable media devices (see left).

Also funded by the Higher Education Academy, lecture recording has numerous benefits for the students particularly when it comes to revision, or for those who are learning from a distance.

Additionally in the event of illness, the students are able to catch up by viewing the recordings. After significant studies, evidence shows that the students like being able to access the recordings of lectures, they use them and find them very useful.

Pre-lab Exercises and Tutorials

Screenshot of an example pre-lab resource

As the result of a third project funded by the Higher Education Academy, we have recently rolled out a series of pre-lab activities across our year 1/2 undergraduate lab course. There are two main points:

  1. There are web-based exercises that student must complete before starting lab work. The aim is to make sure that students can be confident in what chemistry they are undertaking in the lab by ensuring they have a grasp of the important concepts beforehand.
  2. Web-based tutorials in the form of videos, photographs and guides to help students get to grips with key techniques they are going to be using. For example, they can watch a video of how to perform thin-layer chromatography so that when they get to the lab, they know what equipment they need and the theory behind why they are doing it.

Lab time is for doing practical work, and both of these points allow students to spend most of their lab hours perfecting their lab techniques.

Personal Response Systems

Student using the clicker devices in a lecture

In a project funded by the University's Benefactors' Fund, we were able to purchase 128 'clickers' for use in a variety of our lecture courses. They work in a "ask the audience" manner and make lectures more interactive.

Evidence shows that these devices enhance student engagement and retention of information presented. Clickers encourage students to be active during a teaching session, and allows students to monitor their progress. Since their introduction, feedback from students has been overwhelmingly positive.

For more information on any of these resources please contact us