Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Students need to walk before they can run

There is an interesting Editorial in the Journal of Chemical Education
Science Education for Global Sustainability: What Is Necessary for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Strategies?
by Uri Zoller.

I agree with many of his concerns and sentiments. Clearly he has thought about the relevant issues and worked hard at trying to implement them. I particularly like the sample exam questions he uses to illustrate his goals.

However, I feel that some of his proposed solutions are unrealistic (e.g., no text books) and unhelpful to students, particularly for beginning undergraduates. I think (and my anecdotal observations are) that multi-disciplinary courses are either too hard (or too superficial) for such students. Students need to learn basic chemistry, physics, and biology before they can  cope with integrating these ideas in biophysics, materials science, or environmental policy.

I thank Ross Jansen-van Vuuren for bringing the article to my attention.

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