60101 Chemistry and Materials Science (academic interview) - UTS first year experience

Uploaded by utschannel on 02.01.2012

>> DR. GREGORY HENESS: The subject is a first-year subject for engineering students and despite
the name there's not a lot of chemistry. It's mainly a materials science and engineering
subject. What we try to do is we try and look at why materials behave the way they do. So
we all know that glass is brittle and polymers are floppy. Try to get the students to understand
why that's the case. It comes back to the old materials science rule, is that microstructure
controls the properties of the material. So if we understand the microstructure and how
to control that we can control the properties of those materials.
As engineers they're going to spend their life making things out of materials, out of
stuff. So if they don't understand why stuff behaves the way it does then it's going to
be very difficult for them. In all their other subjects that follow on, the design subjects
and those sorts of things, they have to design with materials. So they have to understand
why those materials behave that way. About a third of the subject is laboratories.
We spend a lot of time in there, a lot of hands on stuff. They get to do things that
they don't normally do. It's one of the few subjects I guess where they can go into the
laboratory and they're expected to break things. So we look at how materials behave, what causes
them to break. I think some of the problems first year students
have is just keeping track of when things are due. It seems to be the biggest problem
I've come across where they tend to forget things. There's no one i reminding them. No
one is saying ‘don't forget this is due tomorrow’ or whatever. They don't seem to
check announcements on UTSOnline. For example in my subject I announce everything online.
that's my form of communication. So they need to check with their lecturers how things are
going to run and understand how each of these subjects are going to be handled by the subject
coordinator. Some resources that would be available to
the students would be the U:PASS scheme, where we have peer assisted learning. Students can
come in and there's a student who has done well in the subject beforehand will lead them
through problems. We also have my door, they can come and knock on and see me pretty much
any time or even e-mails. Send me an e-mail and I'll get back to them. Also there's an
area called the Physics Learning Centre. I think my advice to first year students would
be, to make sure they understand what the assessment requirements are and try and fulfil
those. Understand that, for example, in my subject 25 per cent of the marks come from
laboratories. They are easy marks if you do things on time. It takes the pressure off
at the end of the semester, at the pointy end where the exams are going to be. So understand
the assessment tasks and what's required and when they're due.