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Theme: Strategies and innovations in teaching and learning

Introductory Chemistry for Science Majors.
Can we Match the Syllabus and the Students?

Geoffrey T. Crisp
Department of Chemistry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 5005, South Australia, Australia
Email: [email protected]

Our Department has been involved in a major review of our Level I Chemistry subject over the past 5 years. We realized that both staff and students needed to be aware of new paradigms in learning and teaching and that changes in pedagogy would necessitate changes in the syllabus, mode of presentation and method of assessment for our subject. In addition to the factual information that students must assimilate, chemical educators need to provide students with a framework within which the information can be used in a constructive manner and encourage strategies that will be of benefit to lifelong learning. Society expects graduates who are critical thinkers and not simply laboratory machines. New discoveries and significant advances in science do not spring from repetition. The visual aspects of chemistry rather than abstract ideas or historical derivations should be emphasised. What the student does with the information is just as important as the information itself. We have departed from the formalism that emphasises that students cannot understand new or advanced topics before having a thorough understanding of all previous, basic concepts. This formal approach restricts students to an historical perspective to chemical problem solving rather than approaches that are likely to be of benefit in the future.

Full Paper in MS Word

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