Mike Brook - Chemistry - Good News Stories in Online Teaching in the Faculty of Science


CHEM 2SC3 | Chemistry and Chemical Biology | 18 students

Their story

Students know best. Half of CHEM 2SC3 (Sustainable Chemistry) were scientists who were not interested in pursuing a career in chemistry. The other half the class were chemists, including 5 students who had opted for a program that, at the time, was only on the planning board – Sustainable Chemistry.

Maintaining interest and adjusting the chemical rigor for those two cohorts was challenging per se and exacerbated by an online only teaching model, as we all have discovered. Those 5 students willingly participated in a SusChem Team to advise us about learning strategies that would be engaging and encourage further development of chemical expertise.

Their proposals led to a much more engaged class, as evidenced by the number of cameras that went on and stayed on: more peer to peer marking; more group work, including debates “What’s better: paper or plastic bags?”, group responsibility to ask questions of guest speakers, capstone projects that involved designing a more sustainable undergraduate laboratory, or designing a more sustainable product based on sustainable metrics.

Higher student engagement led to more good news. This course is now the first of 3 that have been formally approved for a program in Sustainable Chemistry.

Helpful support: Amazing technical support from Christa Morrison for helping me implement the course on the technical side, to overcome all the frustrating little problems that arose as Teams changed over and over, and for providing ideas on how to engage students.

Photo of Mike Brook

Please direct any inquiries to: mabrook@mcmaster.ca

Career Opportunity - Administrative Assistant - Tenure & Promotion / Graduate

We are seeking an experienced administrative assistant to support our Departmental Chair and the Chemistry Graduate Program.  This role will be expected to work under general direction within a clear framework of accountability, and exercise substantial personal responsibility to deliver results within these portfolios.  Areas of responsibility under the role of Chair Support will include scheduling, special projects related to social media and alumni relations, newsletters, tenure & promotion, faculty recruitment, etc.    Areas of responsibility for the Chemistry Graduate Program will include supporting recruitment, monitoring in-course students proactively, and special projects related strategic recruitment, and website updates.

More details and application information can be found on the McMaster careers website.

Update Regarding Spring/Summer Organic Chemistry Courses - 2215

As you will now be aware, the University has cancelled any in-person activities in courses for the Spring term of 2021.  Accordingly, the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology has reviewed and modified our offerings of CHEM 2OA3 and 2OB3 for the Spring and Summer terms, respectively.  It is essential that all enrolled students read and understand the consequences of these changes, which are outlined below.  All students who are enrolled should also recognize that these offerings will run under the revised course outlines which will be available on the web site and within the course Avenue shell soon.  Please address any questions to your advisor.
  1. Due to the lockdown, the Spring 2021 offering of CHEM 2OA3 will operate with virtual labs only.  It will continue to run with on-line exams.  These aspects will be clearly delineated in the revised course outline, which will remain on the department web site and may be used in the future by external organizations to establish the parameters of the course.
  2. Students who choose to continue in this offering must recognize that it may not be acceptable for admission to programs such as graduate programs, or professional programs such as medical schools, or to employers.  The Department and University will not accept any responsibility for any consequences arising from continuing in this offering.
  3. The Spring and Summer offerings will however be accepted for the purpose of student progression in programs (except as applies in item 4 below).
  4. Students who are considering applying for entry into any program offered by the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology in 2021 should note that neither of the spring and summer 2021 offerings of CHEM 2OA3 and 2OB3 will be accepted as equivalent to CHEM or CHEMBIO 2OG3 and CHEM or CHEMBIO 2OD3, respectively.  Such students are strongly recommended to withdraw and take the latter courses in the Fall and Winter terms. 
  5. We fully expect to offer in-person laboratories in the Fall offering of CHEM 2OA3 and winter 2OB3.  Students who wish to ensure they have an acceptable in-person lab component should wait for these offerings.  An in-person make-up lab option will not be available for the Spring or Summer  offerings.
  6. The Department will make every effort possible to ensure that there is adequate space available for the Fall  2021 offering of CHEM 2OA3, in particular for those who decide to drop the spring offering, and that this will run with as many in-person labs as practical to allow for acceptance by the units specified in item 2 above.
  7. Completion of the virtual labs in these offerings over the Spring and Summer will NOT be accepted for the purposes of lab exemption in any future offerings.
  8. To ensure some degree of certainty for all parties, the summer offering of 2OB3 will have virtual labs only.  To ensure appropriate progression in labs and student safety, students who do not or will not complete CHEM 2OA3 with at least some in-person labs (i.e. prior to Jan. 2021) should NOTE that they will be seriously disadvantaged in CHEM 2OB3 offerings in winter 2022 and beyond, when labs are expected to resume in-person.  Therefore it is strongly recommended that any students who still wish to complete CHEM 2OA3 this spring also complete CHEM 2OB3 this summer if they require both credits.
  9. We are adjusting enrolment limits to the summer 2OB3 offering to accommodate students in this group.
  10. The Spring offering of CHEM 2OA3 is full.  No new seats will be offered as a result of the changes above and no new enrolments will be permitted.  Requests for such to the instructional team will not be answered.

Spring/Summer Teaching Assistant Job Posting

The second year chemistry program is currently accepting applications for undergraduate teaching assistants for the spring and summer terms (CHEM 2OA3 and CHEM 2OB3).   Applicants should have completed a minimum of 5 chemistry or chemical biology courses, with 4 courses (12 units) having a laboratory component.   Please complete the application and submit your cover letter and resume/CV here.   A link to the full job description is included here.

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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Chemistry & Chemical Biology