Links to the web material for each course I teach are provided in the menu at the left.
I think my job is to make it possible for students to succeed. That is, I need to provide a learning environment that contributes positively to student learning, has appropriate standards and expectations, and is clear about all aspects of evaluation of performance. Some aspects of such an environment are:
I provide students with a feedback blog for each course. The blogs are hosted by Blogger.com. I set up the blog to enable students to comment on various questions posed by the instructor. I usually start with "Do you have any questions or comments about the lectures? Any suggestions on how the course is managed? Would you like me to review some material previously covered?" As an example, here is a link to the blog for Chemistry 101, Fall 2007: blog
One of the biggest challenges with larger class sizes is creating opportunities for students to be actively engaged with the material rather than observers of my engagement with the material. I address this issue by posing questions that the students have to answer during the class. In the quantum chemistry class, I pose questions and allow the students to work in groups of about 4 to work out their answers and write their answers on the board. In this class I also require homework assignments of the students and give surprise quizzes for bonus marks.
In the large enrollment first year class I pose conceptual questions during the lecture for students to answer by working with their neighbours. I am privileged to teach in a classroom that provides personal response systems (clickers) for the students so I can poll the class for their answers and display the group results. Students enjoy the opportunity to engage the material and discover their misunderstandings. We often have lively discussions after a clicker question session. Examples of the types of questions I use in the first semester of Fundamentals of Chemistry are provided in this file.
I provide lecture outlines to my students prior to class. This system gives the students advance notice of the topics we will be covering and the reading material to review before class. I prefer providing some of the lecture notes to the students so that they can think and reason during class rather than be so busy writing they can't follow the material.
© Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria. Updated 21 August, 2007 .