Tony Tooth looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers.

A screenshot from the website

The Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Learn Chemistry website has a new higher education (HE) section. It is designed to support lecturers in HE as well as teachers and A-level students looking at university and career options.

The most populated part of the site is the educational resources area. Here you will find a selection of Open Educational Resources (OERs), hand-picked for quality by the Learn Chemistry team. One of my favourite resources is the Scale of the Universe web application. This interactive tool allows users to zoom in and out along a length scale, all the way from 10-35 m (the Planck length) to 1026 m (about the size of the observable universe). This really brings home the relative scale of the things chemists can study: from stars like Alpha Centauri to an atom of caesium.

There are also OERs that are useful for developing skills. One striking example is the set of resources grouped under 'business skills'. These abilities are often said to be underdeveloped in HE courses, and employers complain of the lack of 'business awareness' that science graduates display. There also entire courses developed by lecturers in collaboration with the RSC. For example, one course involves students taking an imaginary chemical discovery to market. Another encourages groups to design their own firework displays.

The other part of the site that caught my eye was the student finance section. This collects a handful of useful materials explaining how to apply for loans, plan how much university might cost and how to budget for it.

The site includes 'careers and employability' and 'networking and conferences' sections. These collect some of the RSC's useful professional services in one place. You'll find links to the Chemistry World jobs board and the Talk Chemistry forums.

Overall the site does a nice job of curating useful information. It should provide a point of reference for lecturers looking to enhance their teaching and students thinking about taking the plunge into higher education.

Related Links

Learn chemistry - higher education collection

Resources from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Contact and Further Information

Josh Howgego
If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry please email the title and URL to Josh Howgego.
Email: Josh Howgego