Being a VIPEr fellow allows me the unique opportunity to share and reflect about the best practices in active and engaged learning. I do this on my own for the most part, but the Fellows workshops helps me to do this more thoughtfully and efficiently. I can trust the IONiC/VIPEr community to give me honest feedback and ideas about teaching so that I can implement them in my classes more successfully. Last year (Fall 2018), I started to implement one literature discussion in my course. It was successful considering that it was the first attempt; however, it was an isolated learning exercise. The students could have benefited from some closing questions or reflections. It also needed some further assessment. By engaging students verbally in the literature discussion, I gained a sense of what they learned, but did not have a firm grasp of what they learned. It needed some assessment! While attending the VIPEr Fellow workshop, I listened to presentations about literature discussions and assessments. With these new insights (and time during the workshop!), I was able to design an assessment for my XRD literature discussion AND write a new literature discussion with exam questions on the topic of lanthanide contraction.
I already alluded to the precious resource of a inorganic chemistry teaching community. I cannot stress enough the value of this human resource. This community is helpful and open to new ideas. The diversity in teaching styles, class sizes, expertise, etc. is a treasure!