Variety in Chemistry Education and Physics Higher Education Conference ViCEPHEC21 (16-20 August 2021)

University of Glasgow (virtual)

University of Glasgow (virtual)

Beth Paschke (University of Glasgow) , Linnea Soler (University of Glasgow) , Nicolas Labrosse (University of Glasgow) , Paul Soler (University of Glasgow) , Peter Sneddon (University of Glasgow) , Smita Odedra (University of Glasgow)

Variety iChemistry Education / Physics Higher Education Conference (ViCEPHEC) is an annual national conference that brings together educators in Chemistry and Physics to discuss and share developments, ideas and good practice in learning and teaching at tertiary level.

Main conference website:

In order to submit an abstract and manage the materials on Indico, you will require a CERN "Lightweight" account to give you access to the Indico system. Instructions on setting up the CERN Lightweight account can be found here:

  • Adrian Wright
  • Aleksey Kozikov
  • Alex Crombie
  • Alfred Kamuyango
  • Alice Collier
  • Alice Henley
  • Alison Hill
  • Alison Voice
  • Amber Eggleton
  • Amy Smith
  • Anand Sengodan
  • Andrew Nortcliffe
  • Angela Dyson
  • Anna Bertram
  • Anna Kirkham
  • Anna Roffey
  • Annabel Cartwright
  • Annabelle Lolinco
  • Arin Mizouri
  • Axel Langner
  • Barbara Villa Marcos
  • Beth Paschke
  • Bianca Sala
  • Bozidar Butorac
  • Bunmi Ibrahim
  • Carl Poree
  • Caroline Clewley
  • Caroline Muellenbroich
  • Cate Cropper
  • Charlotte Clark
  • Charlotte Farrow
  • Chiran Mistry
  • Chris Armstrong
  • Chris Workman
  • Claire McDonnell
  • Cosma Gottardi
  • Craig Campbell
  • Cristina Navarro
  • Cristina Zambon
  • Dan Cornwell
  • Danica Pinto
  • Daniel Godden
  • Danielle Pearson
  • David Cheung
  • David Griffin
  • David Sands
  • Deborah Lowry
  • Debra Willison
  • Deon Nzou
  • Dino Spagnoli
  • Dylan Williams
  • Emily Brunsden
  • Emily King
  • Ewan Bottomley
  • Fiona Dickinson
  • Frances Docherty
  • Gan Shermer
  • Gareth Few
  • Giedre Astrauskaite
  • Glenn Hurst
  • Gráinne Walshe
  • Hanno Kossen
  • Hayley Wootton
  • Heather Coleman
  • Helen Coulshed
  • Helen Heath
  • Helen Vaughan
  • Ian Horsewell
  • Izzy Barker
  • James de winter
  • James Harvey
  • James Redman
  • James Wright
  • Jane Essex
  • Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway
  • Jean Baptiste FANKAM FANKAM
  • Jeffrey Raker
  • Jenna Spencer-Briggs
  • Jennie Dickinson
  • Jenny Burnham
  • Jessica Gusthart
  • Jessie Durk
  • JL Kiappes
  • John O’Donoghue
  • Jonathan Nylk
  • Josie Rawes
  • Juliana Maria Abreu da Silva Morbec
  • Karen Moss
  • Kate Baxter
  • Katherine Haxton
  • Katherine Jolley
  • Kevin Cowtan
  • Kevin Parker
  • Kristian Haverson
  • Laura Hancock
  • Linnea Soler
  • Lorrie Murphy
  • Louise Dash
  • Lucy Rowlands
  • Lydia Gilday
  • Malcolm Stewart
  • Mamun Rashid
  • Manoj Ravi
  • Marianne Rial
  • Mark Angelo Ordonio
  • Mark Jones
  • Mark Jones
  • Martin McPhillie
  • Megan Midson
  • Meirin Oan Evans
  • Michael Fox
  • Michael O'Neill
  • Michael Piperakis
  • Miguel Rivera
  • Morag Casey
  • Nabihah Rahman
  • Nancy El-Farargy
  • Natalie Capel
  • Natalie Rowley
  • Natasha Galea
  • Neil Williams
  • Nicholas Braithwaite
  • Nicolas Labrosse
  • Nicole Graulich
  • Oscar Siles Brugge
  • Patrick Bergstrom Mann
  • Patrick Johnson
  • Paul Davies
  • Paul Duckmanton
  • Paul Soler
  • Peter Henderson
  • Peter Main
  • Peter Miedziak
  • Peter Sneddon
  • Peter Swift
  • Philip Craven
  • Philippa Cranwell
  • Pippa Petts
  • Rachel Kerr
  • Rahma Al Harthi
  • Rebecca Smith
  • Rebekah Christie
  • Rehana Karim
  • Rens van Wingerden
  • Richard Blackburn
  • River Riley
  • Robyn Henriegel
  • Ryszard Babecki
  • Sally Jordan
  • Samantha Pugh
  • Samuel Cahill
  • Sarah Walker
  • Saskia O'Sullivan
  • Shaianne Murray
  • Shane Lo
  • Shivam Paritosh
  • Simon Goorney
  • Simon Lancaster
  • Smita Odedra
  • Sophie McDougall
  • Stan Zochowski
  • Stefano Vezzoli
  • Stephen Doughty
  • Stephen Flower
  • Stephen Hendry
  • Stephen McVitie
  • Stephen Potts
  • steven wye
  • Stuart Christie
  • Suzanne Fergus
  • Sweta Ladwa
  • Tamara Alhilfi
  • Tamas Bansagi
  • Tess Phillips
  • Thomas Anderson
  • Thomas Chen
  • Vicki Dale
  • Vicky Mason
  • Victoria Hilborne
  • Vijay Tymms
  • Wendy Sadler
  • Will Yeadon
  • Yasmin Andrew
  • Younous Affejee
  • Zhaopeng Zhang
  • Zoe Smallwood
    • 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
      Plenary Session 1
      Convener: Dr Linnea Soler (University of Glasgow)
      • 10:00 AM
        Welcome 10m
      • 10:10 AM
        Keynote: The Importance of doing SoTL 30m

        The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is a widely disputed term, and an even wider disputed discipline within the field of education. As of today, there is no agreed definition yet. However, the sector does agree on some defining characteristics of SoTL. SoTL is concerned with matters of learning and teaching in higher education, SoTL is public, and SoTL is subject to a form of peer feedback. After this, opinions then diversify. SoTL can be anything, for example, from a published literature review on an issue, to a reflective practice piece, to a blog, to an evaluation and even all the way to full blown inter-institutional educational research. My suggestion, thus, is not to attempt one definition to rule them all, but to think about SoTL in terms of different categories or potentially sub disciplines. Boyer (1990) already suggested different types of SoTL, but it seems this classification hasn’t stuck. Other aspects I will try to disentangle are the differentiations between “Scholarship”, “Scholarly”, and “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning”. We will explore some basics about how to get started with SoTL.

        Speaker: Dr Nathalie Tasler (University of Glasgow)
      • 10:40 AM
        Break 20m
      • 11:00 AM
        Contributed talk: Are our students studying smart? Insights into the study strategies and metacognitive awareness of undergraduate students in Spain and the UK 15m

        The approach that students take in their studies at university is critical not only for their academic success but is equally important in life-long learning for their career and professional development. Cognitive science has demonstrated that re-testing oneself on material when learning, enhances and promotes greater retention of knowledge compared to re-reading the material. Learning that is spaced out over multiple study sessions also allows for greater retention of knowledge in the longer-term compared to ‘cramming’ of information. A survey study with first- and second-year undergraduate students (n=135) at a university in Spain and in the UK was carried out to investi- gate the study strategies and habits prevalent in these cohorts and to explore the extent of their metacognitive awareness. It was of interest to explore the reported study strategies and habits among students studying chemistry courses in two distinct geographical locations. It is expected that the findings from this study in two distinct locations will apply to other chemistry teaching contexts and locations. It was found that most students endorsed self-testing but also suboptimal study methods such as re-reading, copying notes and cramming. There was evidence of a differ- ence between UK and Spain in relation to decisions for prioritizing studying, returning to review course material and time of study. Implications of the findings will be considered in relation to curricula and teaching.

        Speaker: Suzanne Fergus (University of Hertfordshire)
      • 11:15 AM
        Contributed talk: Development and evaluation of an assessment rubric to enhance student understanding and development of scientific writing skill 15m

        Scientific writing encourages students to develop and support an argument and communicate their findings in a clear and concise manner (Kalman, 2011). Teaching effective scientific writing skills requires clear communication to students what is expected in relation to the structure and content of a scientific report. Assessment rubrics are tools used to accurately communicate assignment re- quirements by articulating the structure and components of the assignment and have been shown to increase consistency in marking (Andrade and Du, 2005). Co-construction has the potential to enhance shared understanding of an assignments learning outcomes and offer students the oppor- tunity to be active in their own learning by engaging with the rubric to self-assess the quality of their work before submission and improve their academic performance (Bacchus et al, 2020). The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of a rubric co- designed and developed to support and improve student understanding of how to appropriately structure and write a scientific report that effectively communicates the information.
        Staff and student focus groups were utilised to elicit opinions and perspectives as to what to in- clude in a scientific report rubric. The co-developed rubric was used to assess and provide feedback for a scientific report in an MPharm module and marks were compared pre and post rubric. Fol- lowing the report feedback staff and student questionnaires were used to gather opinions on the usefulness of the rubric and to collect thoughts on how to further improve.
        Consultation with staff and students on the rubric were overwhelmingly positive with students highlighting the rubric was ‘self-explanatory’ and staff stressing that ‘critical analysis’ and ‘clarity’ were important to include. Following use of the rubric the majority of students had less queries and all students agreed that the rubric clearly communicated the assignment requirements and adds to the learning experience.
        Andrade, H.L. and Du, Y. (2005) Student perspectives on rubric-referenced assessment. Practical Assessment Research and Evaluation, 10(3), 1-11.
        Bacchus, R. and Colvin, E., Knight, E.B., Ritter, L. (2020) When rubrics aren’t enough: Exploring exemplars and student rubric co-construction. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 17(1), 48-61. Kalman, C. (2011) Enhancing students’ conceptual understanding by engaging science text with reflective writing as a hermeneutical circle Science and Education, 20, 159-172.

        Speaker: Deborah Lowry
      • 11:30 AM
        Contributed talk: Developing reasoning and metacognitive skills through reflective lab reports 15m

        In physics labs learning objectives tend to include ability for students to evaluate any difference between experimental data and theoretical models, then critique what those differences mean in terms of data collection and analysis method used, therefore developing students’ reasoning and metacognitive skills. However, due to the assessment structure of a typical lab report, students tend to focus on completing the lab tasks and provide mainly superficial responses when asked to make inference from their experiment.
        I will present an approach to re-designing an assessment for a physics laboratory that is aligned with a student-centred teaching approach. The new assessment includes a two-step submission process, with the second step asking students to explicitly reflect on how their answers compare to answers of an expert, given via an exemplar. This new approach motivated students to engage deeper in their learning process and work on improving their reasoning skills in their lab reports, increasing awareness of the thought process (metacognition) involved. Furthermore, the students appreciated the fact that assessment focused on asking them to demonstrate that they are in the process of learning, rather than focusing just on how much they know.

        Speaker: Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway (Eindhoven University of Technology)
      • 11:45 AM
        Contributed talk: Does moving oral presentations online affect students’ performance? 15m

        A key point in fourth-year chemistry calendar is the Symposium for Advanced Research Projects in Chemistry (SARPIC), which comprises up to two days of seminars where final-year students present their work from the past six months. These presentations are marked by staff and provide credit for their project module. The unwelcome appearance of COVID-19 last year forced the remaining teaching of 2019/20 online, and the vast majority of teaching remained online for the 2020/21 academic year. To address the challenges of pivoting online with students spread over the world, we tried two different approaches to SARPIC over the past two academic years that ensured the intended learning outcomes of the assignment were met despite remote working. The first was that students could pre-record their presentation, which would be played to the audience, and students could opt in to presenting live if they wished. The second was making presenting live the default option and only allowing students to rely on a recorded presentation as a backup (e.g., for technical problems with connections etc.). The presentation marks and qualitative student feedback were analysed for both approaches and compared with marks for previous years, where students had presented live in a lecture theatre. In this presentation, we will discuss these results and how the method of assessment can be tailored to make it more accessible to students.

        Speaker: Stephen Potts (University College London)
    • 12:00 PM 12:15 PM
      Break 15m
    • 12:15 PM 1:30 PM
      Poster session: (A)
    • 9:30 AM 12:00 PM
      Plenary Session 2
      Convener: Dr Peter Sneddon (University of Glasgow)
      • 9:30 AM
        Welcome 10m
      • 9:40 AM
        Keynote: Partners in learning through times of crisis 30m

        I will draw on my own experience and research of staff-student partnership projects to reflect upon whether the pandemic has put a greater emphasis on fundamental partnership principles in learning, such as shared ownership, students’ enhanced control of their own learning and inclusivity through flexibility. I will illustrate this with various examples in module design, delivery, and evaluation / educational research and finish off with a discussion of how this development may have a lasting impact upon student partnership in their own learning in the future.

        Speaker: Dr Caroline Clewley (Imperial College London)
      • 10:10 AM
        IoP 2020 Lawrence Bragg Medal and Prize Lecture: Virtually better than the real thing: the hopes and realities of remote experiments 30m

        Driven by the context of distance learning (within the OU model of supported open learning) we have been getting to grips with the practicalities of remote experiments for several years. We are interested in their effectiveness in meeting QAA benchmarks and accreditation requirements relating to practical skills in experimental classwork and projects. We are interested therefore in their effectiveness for independent learning. We have been particularly inspired by recent examples of remote experimentation from field work on Mars landings to lateral flow tests.

        Over the last ten years or so we have gained practical experience of using remote experiments in the curriculum, at scale, and we have recognised the criticality of telecommunications and internet services and the limited scope for design and build activities. The aim is to provide students with access to real data via authentic interfaces. Our OpenSTEM Labs now enable students to plan and conduct experiments that provide each with their own data, obtained under their own control, individually or in teams. The cohort size ranges from tens to hundreds. The equipment accessed ranges from telescopes in professional observatories to analytical instruments in research laboratories. The scenarios include time-domain astronomy, collaborative planetary-surface exploration, relativistic electron dynamics, acid-base titration and FTIR spectroscopy.

        There are pedagogical advantages to preparing general learning resources especially for online delivery rather than retrofitting ‘online connectivity’ to conventional resources; the benefits come at a price. In much the same way, we have found there are advantages to designing remote experiments from scratch rather than automating a traditional lab; we have found the investment worthwhile, not least because our teaching labs have remained fully functional throughout the CV-19 pandemic.

        We are planning to collaborate with others in the development and use of remotely-accessible teaching labs, to enhance the social and educational experience of students through incorporating tools for collaboration and ‘over-the-shoulder’ support.

        Speaker: Prof. Nick Braithwaite (The Open University)
      • 10:40 AM
        Break 20m
      • 11:00 AM
        Contributed talk: Perceptions of Teaching Aims in Physics 15m

        Previous studies in physics education have shown that perceptions of learning have a direct corre- lation on a student’s understanding of their subject, and consequently the quality of their learning outcome. Also, it follows that lecturers who conduct their teaching with the same aims as the stu- dents would have a higher overall satisfaction on average. But how well do the two perceptions actually mesh? We report on the outcome of a survey on the perceptions of teaching offered to all undergraduate students and teaching staff in the UCL Physics and Astronomy department. A sim- ilar set of multiple choice and free text questions was given to both groups. Questions included those on their own overall aims in learning/teaching, their perceptions of the aims of the other group, approaches to studying, what was found useful, and opinions on online teaching. Con- trarily to past research, the survey results show that a large proportion of students took a deep approach to learning. A direct comparison is done between the responses of staff and students. We report on this comparison and on the distribution of responses and discuss potential issues that arose, focusing on the implications for the practice of teaching physics. We also look at how the COVID-19 pandemic move to an online teaching format affected attitudes towards learning and teaching.

        Speaker: Stan Zochowski (University College London)
      • 11:15 AM
        Contributed talk: Structured to open-ended at home experiments for first year physics labs. 15m

        As with many colleagues the pandemic necessitated a rapid shift to remote laboratory activities in Newcastle where we were in lockdown for almost the entire academic year. I will reflect on the experience of planning, developing and running remote first year physics labs this year. Students had already learned Matlab and had produced a portfolio with structured worksheets intended to build data plotting and analysis skills. After Christmas students received an experiment box in the post containing everything they needed to construct their own spectrometer and calibration circuit. The aim being to provide students with hands on experimental and problem-solving skills. Students were guided through a series of build workshops in groups of ~10 via breakout rooms during 2 x 1.5 hr live online sessions per week supported by 3 academic staff and 6 PGR’s for a class of ~80. Groups retained the same PGR helper throughout. Following the build and calibrate sessions students were then asked to devise their own experiment using their spectrometer; ideas were discussed in a workshop with the PGR helpers.
        Despite the remote nature of these activities and a move to a more open experiment style; we saw a slight improvement in student engagement and assessment scores as compared to the previous year with in-person labs.

        Speaker: Angela Dyson (Newcastle University)
      • 11:30 AM
        Contributed talk: Synoptic Physics- evolution of a problem solving, teamwork module 15m

        Synoptic Physics is a 10 credit Level 5 module which was introduced in 2013/14 and has been taught every year since. Over that period the original designer of the module has experimented with ad- justments to the basic design of a different problem every week, solved by teams in real time (3 hours), over 9 weeks. The module is consistently highly rated by the students and introduces op- portunities for them to develop creativity and leadership, as well as the usual ‘employability skills’ such as communication and teamwork. A recent graduate working in Data Science comments ‘I use the skills I learned in Synoptic Physics every day’.
        The Module Organiser will present recommendations on assigning students to teams, ice-breaking activities, how to build confidence in the students’ leadership skills, and the sort of problems that students love solving.

        Speaker: Annabel Cartwright (Cartwright University)
      • 11:45 AM
        Contributed talk: The Development of a Maths Toolkit for Physicists 15m

        The physics course at Sheffield Hallam accepts a range of mathematical expertise as a prerequisite. To enable this position, we deliver a dedicated maths module (as many courses do) which provides all the foundational knowledge students will need in order to complete the course. Despite this we have consistently encountered students struggling to put this maths into practice when they move on to topics which require them to do so.
        This talk discusses the steps we have taken recently to provide bespoke maths support for our students. The main output of this intervention has been a ‘maths toolkit’ which can be used as a self-signposting resource to enable students to troubleshoot their own difficulties.
        This sort of development is not new in and of itself, however, through research into our students’ attitudes to mathematics we have found that there is a distinct lack of understanding that the maths they are studying is a tool to be used in performing the science of physics rather than a series of esoteric oddities that they must learn for their own sake. With this in mind, we have intended our toolkit to act not only as a technical support resource, but also a way to change student attitudes to maths in the service of physics - to see it as a tool to be used akin to spanners for an engineer This project has been student led at all stages. We discuss the findings of our research into student opinions of maths, as well as how they engage with the material they are provided. We then touch on the disconnect between how students compartmentalise maths and how we intend for it to be used by them can inhibit learning and increase maths anxiety. Finally we discuss the mechanics of putting this toolkit together.

        Speakers: Alex Crombie (Sheffield Hallam University) , Daniel Godden (Sheffield Hallam University) , Kris Haverson (Sheffield Hallam University) , Patrick Johnson (Sheffield Hallam University)
    • 12:00 PM 12:15 PM
      Break 15m
    • 12:15 PM 1:30 PM
      Poster session: (B)
    • 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
      Invited Outreach Workshop: Principles for building diversity through inclusive outreach: an exploration through case studies
      Convener: Dr Jane Essex (Strathclyde University)
    • 2:00 PM 4:00 PM
      Satellite 1: Physics
    • 2:00 PM 4:00 PM
      Satellite 2: Chemistry
    • 6:00 PM 7:30 PM
      Outreach Talk
      • 6:00 PM
        Towards A Research-Informed Education: Applying Cognitive Psychology To Teaching and Learning 1h

        What is the best way to study or teach? Are we intuitively already using the most successful strategies? This talk provides an overview of the most successful strategies to enhance memory that resulted from years of rigorous research in Cognitive Psychology. Cognitive Psychology is a research area that investigates how we remember information, solve problems, transfer knowledge, and obtain understanding of complex material. Consequently, it provides a range of strategies that can be applied to education and beyond. The most important research findings alongside hands-on practical tips will be highlighted.

        Speaker: Dr Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel (University of Glasgow)
      • 7:00 PM
        Questions and Answers 30m
    • 9:30 AM 12:00 PM
      Plenary Session 3
      Convener: Dr Smita Odedra (University of Glasgow)
      • 9:30 AM
        Welcome 10m
      • 9:40 AM
        Keynote: Chemistry for All: Global, Diverse, and Fit for Purpose 30m

        Chemistry is often called the central science, one that enables further study across a wider range of disciplines. At the same time, chemistry can be exclusive. We don’t like to think of it in those terms, but the emphasis on hands-on practical work, rigid ideas about what must be taught in our degree programmes and how we must assess learning, and certain assumptions about what chemistry graduates will go on to do, can lead to many feeling chemistry is not for them. Many UK universities are engaged in work to make their curricula more inclusive through initiatives to decolonize the curriculum, become anti-racist institutions, and other projects to increase equity and accessibility through widening participation. It can be difficult to know where to start, particularly in STEM disciplines. This work is essential: the challenges faced by humanity will not easily be solved without a global perspective, and diverse voices. This work is hard: reconsidering what is taught, who is teaching, and where we place the emphasis in our curriculum takes reflection and empathy. This work is worthwhile: reconsidering content, context and assessment can provide an opportunity to make chemistry more inclusive and relevant, and to become a subject that is truly central to tackling global challenges. This talk will highlight some examples of what can be done to make chemistry teaching and assessment more accessible and inclusive, particularly by giving students flexibility and choice to research their own context for assessments. At the end, a challenge will be issued to make one small change to what is taught, it’s amazing what you can do in 15 minutes.

        Speaker: Dr Katherine J. Haxton (Keele University)
      • 10:10 AM
        RSC Higher Education Teaching Award 2020 Lecture: Green chemistry education for a sustainable future 30m

        This talk will outline how, using a systems thinking theoretical framework, green and sustainable chemistry principles, activities and courses have been implemented at multiple levels by working with students as partners to drive innovative change in curricula. During the design stage, specific emphasis was placed on creating interventions that are internationally transferrable, which, as of consequence, have been integrated into the specialised manual on green and sustainable chemistry education, published by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2021. This journey together with associated examples detailing their design, implementation and efficacy will be articulated.

        Speaker: Dr Glenn Hurst (University of York)
      • 10:40 AM
        Break 20m
      • 11:00 AM
        Contributed talk: Integration of the Chemistry-3 textbook with the first year curriculum 15m

        Chemistry has a reputation of being one of the most difficult degree programmes on offer, resulting in comparatively high drop-out rates as students struggle to adapt to independent learning and expectations of being fully autonomous learners. I therefore focused my research on creating resources for first year chemists that would support them throughout the year, and that would encourage the development of positive study habits from the outset.
        Chemistry^3 is a textbook aimed toward first year chemists that incorporates organic, inorganic and physical chemistry content into one resource. My research focused specifically its integration with the first year curriculum at UEA, which was achieved via the distribution of weekly info- graphics titled ‘getting the most out of your textbook/module’. Infographics were created each week for each core module, detailing both structured teaching events but also pages and practice questions for students relevant to that weeks learning.
        The project was evaluated primarily through semi-structured interviews, with both students and academics, to explore the relationship between students and chemistry textbooks at university. While no definitive statistical result explicitly states the impact of increased textbook integration and the infographic intervention, data showed Chemistry3 to be the most used chemistry textbook at UEA. Qualitative data revealed students reasons for previously not engaging with textbooks, why they like Chemistry3, and how the infographics have helped navigate their independent study. This then gave insight into how textbooks are currently used by both students and academics, and therefore how usage could be optimised for all those involved. An indirect result of the study was the surveyance of the various pedagogical methods used on the first year chemistry curriculum at UEA and the effect these have on student learning, particularly as many lecturers have changed their methods to adapt to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Speaker: Amber Eggleton
      • 11:15 AM
        Contributed talk: Mini-projects: CURE-like lab projects to increase student learning 15m

        Undergraduate research is one of the most powerful pedagogical tools to educate and inspire stu- dents, especially those from diverse backgrounds.[1] Course-based undergraduate research experi- ences (CUREs) are excellent examples of implementing research-type problems in undergraduate courses allowing students freedom to experiment and even fail while trying to answer interesting questions. CUREs normally include setting the research question in context, providing a true sense of discovery where neither students nor instructors know the outcome of experiments and foster- ing student ownership over the research experience.[2] They have been shown to be successful at increasing student learning in a range of courses.[2]
        This talk will detail a CURE-like course implemented over the past two years at the University of Birmingham for third-year undergraduate students. The course utilises the research developed at the University to produce one-week and two-week long research mini-projects. These mini- projects are open-ended and allow the students to explore the research area for themselves under the guidance of world-leading experts in the area. Projects range from battery synthesis to drug discovery to plastic recycling. The talk will outline details of exemplar mini-projects and the new course will be evaluated through student feedback and student outcome analysis.
        (1) Eagan, M. K.; Hurtado, S.; Chang, M. J.; Garcia, G. A.; Herrera, F. A.; Garibay, J. C. Am. Ed. Res. J. 2013, 50, 683−713.
        (2) Williams, L. C.; Reddish, M. J. J. Chem. Educ. 2018, 95, 928−938.

        Speakers: Philip Craven (University of Birmingham) , Robert Laverick (University of Birmingham)
      • 11:30 AM
        Contributed talk: Face-to-Face Lab Teaching in an Age of Pandemic: Tragedy, Triumph and the Student Voice 15m

        The transition from school to Higher Education is central to the student experience. Alterations to that experience are frequently missed in the organisation of HE, leading to missed opportunities and a loss of student confidence in their course design. With recent changes to the Chemistry A- level to favour independent lab working, I employed input from students and pedagogic research in order to inform appropriate changes to the University of Sheffield’s first-year Chemistry lab course. Yet no sooner was my new course deployed, a new challenge arose: the Covid-19 pandemic. Suddenly, a year group would be called upon to work more independently than ever, as I designed socially-distanced, Covid-safe lab practicals. This is the story of how vision and hard work from myself, Health and Safety, technical staff, postgrad demonstrators and the students themselves resulted in the successful delivery of over 85% of a normal year’s worth of face-to-face lab practicals, all without a single case of Covid transmission. Throughout the year, surveys and focus groups were used to maintain close communication with students and head off potential crises before they could arise. The results of this student input in overcoming Covid-related challenges are discussed, good practice is shared and future plans are outlined.

        Speaker: Tom Anderson (The University of Sheffield)
      • 11:45 AM
        Contributed talk: Developing a systems thinking-based curriculum for catalysis education 15m

        The extension of a holistic or ‘systems thinking’ approach to chemical education is a recent ad- vancement[1]. Enabling students to appreciate the broader interconnections that chemical science shares with societal issues and other disciplines of study is paramount for chemistry to be a ‘cen- tral science’, particularly in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that will shape the next decade[2].
        While the first set of scientific publications (Special issue J. Chem. Educ., Vol 96, Issue 12, 2019) have identified ways to integrate systems thinking in general chemistry courses typically delivered to first-year University students, there is a necessity to embrace the same approach also in more advanced chemistry course modules, such as catalysis. Catalysis is undeniably an important tool in developing green and sustainable chemical processes, yet course units on catalysis have conven- tionally been taught through a reductionist perspective. This presentation identifies ways to transi- tion to a systems thinking teaching style for catalysis courses. The analysis is built on the principle of constructive alignment with a focus on how intended learning outcomes, learning activities and student assessments will need to be modified to foster systems thinking[3]. Using diverse exam- ples, the presentation will highlight how this rather seismic shift can be initiated through small incremental steps with minimal effort, eventually paving way to a full-fledged catalysis course grounded in systems thinking[3]. Furthermore, strategies to prevent disciplinary knowledge silo- ing and evolve beyond context-based catalysis instruction will be outlined[3]. Importantly, the presentation will illustrate how students can be stimulated to place environmental considerations at the forefront of their thinking instead of them merely acknowledging the environmental conse- quences of catalysis-related decisions.
        [1] M.Orgill et al., J. Chem. Educ., 2019, 96, 2720-2729 [2] P. Mahaffy et al., J. Chem. Educ., 2019, 96, 2679-2681 [3] M. Ravi et al., J. Chem. Educ., 2021, 98, 1583-1593

        Speaker: Manoj Ravi (University of Birmingham)
    • 12:00 PM 12:15 PM
      Break 15m
    • 12:15 PM 1:30 PM
      Poster session: (A+B)
    • 10:00 AM 12:00 PM
      Plenary Session 4
      Convener: Dr Nicolas Labrosse (University of Glasgow)
      • 10:00 AM
        Welcome 10m
      • 10:10 AM
        Keynote: Digital practice: Blending ideas for a winning formula 30m

        What does innovation mean in STEM higher education? And how can we create space for reflection to encourage innovation? Drawing on the outcomes of a recent study of STEM educators’ characteristics and participation in developmental opportunities in relation to technology-enhanced learning and teaching (TELT), and examples of digital practice from chemistry and physics education, this keynote will consider not just the importance of blended learning for students in higher education, but also how educators can be best supported to engage in this space. Delegates will be encouraged to reflect on their own digital practice and how they can work together to develop their level of ‘digital practitionership’ to enhance student learning experience and optimise learning outcomes.

        Speaker: Dr Vicki Dale (University of Glasgow)
      • 10:40 AM
        Break 20m
      • 11:00 AM
        Contributed talk: RSC Women in Chemistry: Making the Difference 15m

        During the global pandemic, the University of Oxford co-ordinated and set up a multi-institution online open-access project promoting women working in the chemical sciences. The project pro- vides an opportunity for girls aged approx. 10-14 (Upper KS2-KS3 or equivalent) and their support- ers to engage in creative and enjoyable practical challenges linked to current chemical sciences research at UK universities. Monthly challenges, research explainers and team profiles have been developed and shared and each institution hosted a number of online live Q&A events to provide opportunities for the girls taking part to engage with the team of females behind the resources. The latter act as role models in terms of academic careers and qualification routes into the chemical sciences and are available to answer questions regarding the research undertaken by the institution and the linked challenge(s).
        This talk gives the background to the project, its aims, example resources (including video clips), and a selection of the responses from both institutional teams and the young people and supporters who engaged with the project. Additionally, conclusions are drawn from the first six months as well as suggestions for future adaptations.
        The Universities involved include the University of Oxford, University of Wolverhampton, University of Warwick, University of Durham, Imperial College London, and the University of Bristol.

        Speaker: Saskia O'Sullivan (University of Oxford)
      • 11:15 AM
        Contributed talk: The relationship between a sense of belonging and well-being in male and female undergraduate physics students 15m

        Coined ‘the social cure’, a strong sense of social support has been associated with greater health and well-being (Jetten, Haslam, & Alexander, 2012). However, recent research has suggested that women in physics undergraduate degrees report a lesser sense of belonging on their course, com- pared to men (Seyranian et al., 2018). Consequentially, we hypothesised that, as they are an under- represented group, women in university physics classes may report a lower sense of belonging and well-being, in comparison to men. Similarly, we posited that the link between belonging as part of the physics community and well-being would be weaker for women than it would be for men. We conducted a survey of 310 physics students (105 women, 205 men) from across all undergrad- uate levels at a small research-intensive university. This survey measured students’ identification with physics as a discipline, their sense of belonging, their self-efficacy (the beliefs in their abil- ity to complete physics tasks), and their sense of well-being. Our results revealed that women reported a similar level of belonging and well-being compared to men, but men reported signifi- cantly greater physics identity and self-efficacy than women. Despite this, belonging significantly predicted levels of well-being for men, but this association was not found for women. Therefore, it seems men could be benefitting from the social cure to a greater extent than women in physics. This raises a number of questions for future research: what contexts result in belonging relating to well-being, and is the lack of an association between belonging and well-being prevalent in other under-represented groups in education?
        Jetten, J., Haslam, C., & Alexander, S. H. (Eds.). (2012). The social cure: Identity, health and well- being. Psychology press.
        Seyranian, V., Madva, A., Duong, N., Abramzon, N., Tibbetts, Y., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2018). The longitudinal effects of STEM identity and gender on flourishing and achievement in college physics. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(1), 1-14.

        Speaker: Ewan Bottomley (University of St. Andrews)
      • 11:30 AM
        Contributed talk: Every Chemist a Programmer 15m

        Computing as a discipline suffers from a significant gender imbalance, with the imbalance in com- puter programming being particularly pronounced. I review the evolution of the way I have taught programming, from early courses which reinforced these biases, to my latest python programming course which is delivered in the first year of an undergraduate chemistry degree. In an already heavy teaching timetable we were only able to allocate 6 hours of contact time to the course. The course ran for the first time during the lockdown of spring 2021, which gave us freedom to experi- ment with online delivery. The resulting material was delivered as 12 short video lectures totalling 90 minutes, linked to exercises with online feedback.
        The course incorporates EDI material on gender bias both implicitly in the course design and explicitly in the lecture materials. While there was no control group, student feedback on the course as a whole and on the EDI material in particular has been positive and one student explicitly reported a change in attitude arising from the EDI material.
        I will discuss briefly how the inclusion goals of the course may have been enabled by my own experience as a genderqueer autistic scientist.

        Speaker: Kevin Cowtan (University of York)
      • 11:45 AM
        Contributed talk: Measuring Student Awareness of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences 15m

        In order to better support the diverse needs of all students, the School of Chemistry at the Univer- sity of Leicester has designed an inclusive induction programme which aims to develop a strong sense of community at the start of its undergraduate degree programmes. Developing strong learn- ing communities has numerous potential benefits including improved student retention, enhanced student outcomes and a greater sense of student satisfaction. An important part of developing a strong sense of community involves helping students and staff alike recognise and celebrate the diversity within our subject area and to recognise the significance of developing inclusive study environments.
        The induction programme includes a student-led poster conference which celebrates the diversity in chemistry research. Students work in small teams to design posters based on major research conducted by individuals (or small groups) from under-represented minority groups. Students present their posters to peers, staff and other undergraduate and postgraduate students.
        A study of first year student awareness of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in chemistry based on pre-University educational experiences was conducted. This was achieved by inviting all first year students to voluntarily participate in a questionnaire-based study. This study also investigated the impact of the poster conference on student awareness of EDI in chemistry.
        This study showed that only 51.4% of respondents (n = 72) had pre-University educational experi- ences that raised their awareness of EDI in the subject and 60.6% of respondents agreed that their pre-University education completely failed to address EDI in the subject. 86.1% of study partici- pants agreed that the poster conference improved their personal awareness of EDI in the subject, 87.5% of respondents agreed that was an effective way of discussing EDI in chemistry with their peers and 71.8% of respondents agreed that this approach was an effective way of discussing EDI in chemistry with staff.

        Speaker: Dylan Williams (University of Leicester)
    • 12:00 PM 12:30 PM
      Closing Session