Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Outreach within the Bristol ChemLabS CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning)

Academic journal article Higher Education Studies

Outreach within the Bristol ChemLabS CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning)

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the Bristol ChemLabS project. In particular, it describes the development and impacts of the outreach project within Bristol ChemLabS, the UK's Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) in practical chemistry, and its continuation beyond the funded project. The major elements of working with both primary and secondary aged students, both within their schools and within the undergraduate teaching laboratories, are described together with aspects of the science teacher training. The teaching elements include school's conferences, workshops within the School of Chemistry as part of the Open Laboratory Programme, summer schools and overseas work. Evidence is provided that demonstrates the impact of this programme on enhancing positive attitudes toward science and further education for the school students, as well as providing enhancing and embedding learning opportunities for school students and their teachers. The very positive impacts on the postgraduate chemistry students that work alongside the School Teacher Fellow (STF), a secondary school teacher working within the School of Chemistry, is discussed and the vital role played by these postgraduates and the STF to the overall success of the Outreach Programme. Generating a sustainable (financially and in terms of personnel) Outreach programme of the size of Bristol ChemLabS (beyond the lifetime of the CETL programme) is a unique aspect amongst UK CETLs and the mechanism used to achieve this is also discussed.

Keywords: e-learning, outreach, practical chemistry, school teacher fellow, schools' conferences

1. Introduction

In 2005 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) invested approximately £300 million to establish 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) in Higher Education institutes in England (Chalkley, 2006). These CETLs (initiated by the UK Government White Paper "The future of Higher Education") were in part to redress the balance between the income associated with the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the lack of income attracted by teaching excellence. Indeed, in the U.K., the introduction of the RAE exacerbated the perceived divide between the value of research and teaching, where a successful research return by a department within an institution has led to financial rewards, whereas the teaching equivalent, the Quality Assessment Authority's (QAA) review carried no financial benefit at all (Trowler et al., 2005). It is hard to reconcile these two processes running simultaneously and indeed Hannan and Silver (2000) highlight the detrimental effect on the status of teaching and learning in tertiary education institutes that this has caused. The CETL programme ran for five years in terms of funding, from 2005-2010, with the expectation that the CETLs would be sustainable beyond that time and keep running unaided. The 74 CETLs (HEFCE, 2011), spread across 54 institutions, covered a variety of themes including widening participation, employability, e-learning (Morales and Carmichael, 2007; Clouder et al., 2008), blended learning, active learning, work based learning, enquiry based learning, enterprise, literacy, etc. as well as subject themes including Physics (Lambourne, 2007), Chemistry (Harrison and Shallcross, 2010a; Harrison et al., 2011a; Shallcross et al., 2006; Shallcross et al., 2007c; Shallcross et al., 2010; Shaw et al., 2011), Medicine, Geography (Chalkley, 2006), Art, Media, Design, Engineering, Performing Arts, Computing, Statistics, Mathematics, Genetics, Languages and Veterinary Science. Now that the CETL initiative is over it is timely to look at its impact. In this paper we focus on the CETL dedicated to Chemistry called Bristol ChemLabS, housed within the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, providing an overview of what has been achieved. In particular in this paper we look at the impact of the Outreach Programme to schools, their teachers and the general public. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.