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Sustainable Chemistry at Keele


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Given at the HEA Thematic Seminar: Sustainability Culture by a Thousand Cuts: An integrated whole institution approach to Greening your Academy; 21st May 2014, Keele University. Gives an overview of progress in our 2nd year module 'sustainable chemsitry'.

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Sustainable Chemistry at Keele

  1. 1. Sustainable Chemistry Katherine Haxton, @kjhaxton May 2014
  2. 2. Course Context: Change ‘Traditional’ Chemistry Course Dual Honours, Major Route Major Curriculum Redesign: • redevelop every module • create Single Honours Route • create new modules • develope UG Masters (MChem) Image CC BY-SA 2.0
  3. 3. 2nd Year Sustainable Chemistry v1 2013/14, full year. No exam. Focus on developing transferrable skills hand-in-hand with chemistry knowledge. Several aspects taught through narratives. Disjointed list of topics: - polymer chemistry - environmental chemistry - industrial chemistry - chemistry of gadgets
  4. 4. A Moment of Flippancy… …and we called it ‘Sustainable Chemistry’. It was a ‘theme’ for the module. Then we had no option but to ‘do’ Education for Sustainable Development. CC-BY 2.0
  5. 5. Chemistry Perspective CC BY 2.0
  6. 6. Foundations Intro lecture on sustainability concepts - thanks to Zoe Robinson and Phillipa Calver - produced a toolkit of key issues. Inclusion of relevant examples in other aspects - biodegradable polymers - environmental chemistry and life cycle analysis - focus on chemical perspective of a product - 12 principles of green chemistry in the laboratory
  7. 7. Activities & Skills Greening a 1st year laboratory experiment Group work, experiment planning, delving into the ‘economics’ of the laboratory Group and Individual Presentations Group work, presentation skills (oral) Life Cycle Analysis Research skills (sources, referencing), writing (summarising) Infographic, short written work, magazine article and poster Presentation skills (written and graphical), writing (audience awareness)
  8. 8. 88 94 12 6 0 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Sustainability is relevant to my degree This module has helped me understand sustainability better % agree % neutral % disagree
  9. 9. 29 24 6 47 38 18 24 47 29 47 53 53 47 24 13 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 I found it difficult to concentrate in 2 hour sessions I would have paid more attention if there had been an exam at the end of the module Exams are more important than coursework Exams motivate me to learn I could not reasonably have done more work for assessment in this module % agree % neutral % disagree
  10. 10. Beyond 2nd Year (2013/14) One Module IS NOT ENOUGH - but access is a problem. 1st Year DKC Session - skills with sustainability themes 1st Year Screencast Presentations (15 %) - last year ‘any aspect’ of chemistry. - this year ‘chemistry relating to sustainability or the environment’ - required scaffolding: intro lecture and DKC session
  11. 11. 2014/15 Sus. Chem. v2.0, 1st Year SH Focus on sustainability and environmental issues related to chemistry. ‘Pump priming’ for the rest of the SH degree. Industrial Chem. v1.5, 2nd Yr SH Industrial topics with strong emphasis on sustainability… - polymer chemistry - chemistry of gadgets - industrial processes One module becomes two! No exams, focus on developing transferrable skills hand-in-hand with chemistry knowledge.
  12. 12. Lessons Depressed students (‘we’re all gonna die’) Extremely complex role of subject within sustainable development - chemistry is both saint and sinner Easy to consider the environment, harder to move deeper into issues No exam, all coursework: rewarding but much harder work than ‘standard’ lecturing. [hybrid of science comm. and teaching: must retain interest and attention]
  13. 13. CC-BY-NC-2.0 In January my goals were: survive semester 2 (Industrial Chem, DKC, 1st year presentations); evaluate, revise and prepare for next year; read more!
  14. 14. CC-BY-2.0 Now, the goals are: reflect on evaluation (students and staff); read A LOT more; create more relevant narratives (holds attention better).
  15. 15. Acknowledgements The Staff and Students of Chemistry at Keele 15