I have been doing a lot of research on the efficacy of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs). This is part of a personal mission to try to convince the leadership of my institution to stop using SETs for tenure or salary decisions for faculty members. The short version is that SETs are biased against women and minorities. I have been trying to affect change at my institution by beginning conversations and discussions around this topic. I have learned a lot and wanted to share it with the community.
Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College's blog
About a year ago, my good friend Sheila Smith told me that using UV arm sleeves while working in a glovebox would help with several things. The first is sweat protection. Anyone who has ever used a glove box (or ever wrapped their arms in saran wrap and gone for a run) can attest that sweat can be real problem... for the next user especially.‡ The other is ease of sliding in and out of the glove box gloves.
The 2018 Symmetry challenge has come to a close. I wanted to give a big thank you to all 14 of the participants, representing four different institutions. Sadly, I have to report that, yet again, no one from my class submitted the challenge. Perhaps the stakes were too low... er... should I say the "snakes" were too low?
In early February I was teaching vibrational motion in water using vibrational mode analysis and group theory. I remember learning about vibrational modes as an undergraduate and I remember distinctly feeling uneasy about it. Why can’t water just vibrate one of the two OH bonds at a time? What is it that forces the linear combination of the two OH stretches into the symmetric and antisymmetric stretches?
My inorganic chemistry lab manual has all sorts of policies, procedures, experimental instructions, and examples of what to do in the lab and for the writeups. My manual is quite specific in how I want lab reports to appear, and what I want in them. For example, I want a reaction scheme, a reagent table, an evaluation of possible characterization methods (with limited time, which methods are the best to do first?), a detailed experimental section and a complete, open-ended, discussion that analyzes the data from their synthetic reaction.
If you recall, I was very concerned back in January that my inorganic chemistry course was going off the rails. Flo has invited me to give a follow-up report on why I don’t think the class was a trainwreck after all.
The 2017 Symmetry challenge has come and gone and I wanted to give a big thank you to all the participants. In the end there were 12 intrepid scholars who contributed their symmetrized objects to the challenge, from three schools. Sadly, I have to report that no one from my class submitted the challenge. Perhaps the stakes were too low... er... should I say the "snakes" were too low?
Inorganic Chemistry Trainwreck
The great experiment, 2017
Well, it's time to dust off the symmetry challenge. First offered in 2009, we've made some changes to the site and our social media presence (I'm looking at you Flo, with your Facebook, and Twitter addiction) that make it likely that we will have more than just 2 schools submitting. If you're looking for a fun competition to pit your students against students across the world, here it is. Since symmetry is usually an early component of an inorganic course, I'm making the deadline March 3rd.