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The University of Southampton

Research Group: Education

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The members of Southampton's Chemistry Education  Group share the common objective of enhancing the teaching and learning experience of all members of our learning community. We share this responsibility with colleagues in the research theme groups who also commit a significant proportion of their time to teaching throughout our degree courses. This sharing of teaching between education specialists and world leading researchers is a key strength of our provision and one which both staff and students value highly.

The Education Group includes members who provide the technical support that ensures our teaching laboratory experience is effective in preparing our undergraduates for research. It includes staff responsible for outreach activities aimed at enthusing the next generation of chemists who have yet to decide that chemistry is their future, as well as those responsible for admissions to our undergraduate community. The majority are Teaching Fellows who design and deliver theory and practical courses that bring their diverse experiences to bear on the undergraduate courses during (primarily) the first two years of their study.

In these rapidly changing times the benefit of having this focussed group of teaching expertise is that we are able to investigate and exploit new approaches to teaching and assessment. Notably in the last few years we have implemented an innovative placement system, developed high quality remotely accessed learning material; pioneered the use of automated voting systems (‘zappers’) and innovated in the area of using video resources to improve the student learning experience.

Four of the Education Group have been recognised by either local or national awards for their contribution to chemistry education. As a group we are committed to the improvement of knowledge in our student cohort and to sharing best practice through publication of our work and observations.

Education is not just about subject skills and our group is very much aware of this. We exploit the skills development opportunities that are an inherent part of learning chemistry and complement this with specialist activities that challenge and reward in equal measure.

To a great extent it is the combination of these activities, alongside our effective pastoral care, that places us at (or close to) the top of the league tables which use quality of student experience and level of preparedness for the next career move as key measures.


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