An online teacher CPD course from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Screenshot from Carbon Chemistry online CPD course

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s online CPD for teachers series covers a number of useful and broad-ranging subjects. The latest, Carbon Chemistry, is an excellent resource for all those who teach organic chemistry, from the non-specialist through to the experienced practitioner.

The course breaks down a very large subject into 13 bite-size topics. They cover everything from simple hydrocarbons through to reactions and synthesis. Each topic is broken down further, by first introducing teachers to the core ideas, then exploring and developing understanding. The latter section particularly encourages you to think about how you would teach the topic. Finally, each section has an opportunity to check your understanding with a quick test.

The first half of the course is pitched at GCSE level. With additions to the organic content in the new GCSE courses, it’s well worth non-specialist chemistry teachers having a look at this as it will certainly increase their confidence. The second half is appropriate for any teacher who wants to update their understanding. In particular, it supports A-level teaching very well. A small caveat: there is so much in this course I’d suggest taking several weeks over it. Dip in and out regularly and give yourself time to digest it.

All the topics have a huge list of activities from Learn Chemistry, and a useful page showing how the chemistry is used in real-life contexts. With the array of outstanding resources introduced alongside the knowledge you need to teach each topic, and the encouragement to think about how you teach it, this course releases a teacher’s potential.

These features make RSC online CPD courses stand out from the crowd. What’s particularly good is that they aren’t prescriptive. They encourage and empower professional classroom teachers to decide how to best teach the topic to their pupils.

Collaborative training

One area that needs careful consideration when undertaking online CPD is collaboration. This is important with any training, but can be difficult with an online course. To achieve this, why not try:

  • Presenting a topic with suggested resources to your colleagues
  • Tweet or blog your learning
  • Go to or set up a TeachMeet, introduce the course and describe what you have learnt.

The Carbon Chemistry course is £50 for 12 months access. Learn Chemistry Partnership schools receive a 25% discount, RSC members 50%.