As part of the career development of the student, I have found that students need to learn to find local companies and industry. At TCNJ, we have recently acquired a new museum from the David Sarnoff Collection, the founder of the RCA Corporation. The rich communication and technological discoveries of RCA are an important part of the Central Jersey history. I have found this exercise allows students to begin researching a company and trying to link the company to their fundamental chemistry knowledge. This learning object is a part of a greater project to develop posters for the Sarnoff Museum.
LG1: Learn the history and major products of a local company
LG2: Analyze the list to find a fundamental inorganic concept/technique/area.
LG3: Search the primary literature for a recent article (last 2 years) in that fundamental area of inorganic chemistry
LG4: Write a one paragraph summary of the literature article that appeals to a general, non-scientific audience.
The first year, I had 24 students working in pairs. This past year, I had 36 students working in pairs in my junior/senior level class. Since our campus is focused on RCA, I did not allow students to choose another company. For other institutions, faculty may have a list of local companies that could have a more inorganic spin. Students searched the TCNJ Sarnoff website (included in this LO), the RCA website, and Wikipedia for the history of the company. In our case, they also looked at the personal history of David Sarnoff, who was an immigrant to the US and built his empire from nearly nothing. I found the students at TCNJ to be very inspired by David Sarnoff’s personal story. The students also like the fact that RCA had done much work in the area of consumer electronics, which are easily relatable.
I implemented this learning object as a multi week project. LG1 and LG2 were due at the same time. LG3 was due a week later. LG4 was due two weeks after LG3. This could be adapted to an in class activity for a smaller group of students.