65111 Chemistry 1 (academic interview) - UTS first year experience

Uploaded by utschannel on 03.01.2012

>> DR. ALISON BEAVIS: Chemistry 1 is a subject that is offered to all UTS science students
in their first year. It's very much an introductory level subject and it's a very important subject
because it covers all the sort of fundamental concepts of chemistry and it brings students
into, well, I think, the wonderful world of chemistry.
Chemistry 1 is a really important subject for UTS science students because it does lay
the foundations for their future subjects that they will study. So we introduce a lot
of fundamental material, which obviously then they build on during their degree. So whether
they be chemistry students, forensic chemistry, for instance, or biology students, physics
students. Chemistry certainly does cross over a lot of the disciplines. It's considered
a central science. So as part of the syllabus, students spend half their time in lecturers
and the other half, and that's the exciting part, is certainly in the lab, because that's
where science really does happen. They all spend three hours a week learning new practical
skills and consolidating and complementing a lot of the new knowledge that they've learnt
during lectures. So I think the practical component of the subject is a real highlight.
I'd say one of the big challenges about Chemistry 1 is that, for the bulk of our students, it
is studied in their first semester. It's about making the transition from the high school
environment, where they've got a very well-established social network and they know their - you know,
the teacher knows their name, coming to university you're suddenly thrust into a class of up
to 700 students. That, in itself, can be a challenge. Specific to the study of chemistry,
it certainly, in the first semester, because we do introduce a range of topics and concepts,
a lot of it can be very new material and a lot of students find it quite daunting. But
we certainly have a lot of resources available to help support students.
One of the most important, I personally find, is the U:PASS program which is a peer assisted
study success program. It involves students who have previously studied Chemistry 1 coming
in and mentoring the Chemistry 1 students. So they'll take them through approaches to
answering questions and techniques in problem-solving. So that's one resource that certainly is very
well utilised. Another that we offer within the school of chemistry and forensic science
is the Chemistry Learning Centre. This is open every day of the week, for two hours
a day. It's staffed by academics who are available to answer any and every question that first-year
students might have about chemistry. My advice to students coming into first-year
university at UTS, I think the first would be to get involved with different clubs and
societies and create what might be a new social network to help support you through your studies.
That can even extend to group study activities, where students get together if they're all
studying Chemistry 1, and help support each other. The other would be, if you are facing
any difficulties, there's lots of resources available through the Student Services Unit
(SSU). It could come through the Health Service, the Counselling Service, even the Housing
Service. I think that's a part of the university that most students might not know about and
they won't know about it until they really do need to. So knowing about the services
they offer upfront is certainly a good piece of advice.