Faculty Voices in the News

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An article by instructors Roshini Ramachandran and Marlius Castillo provides student perspectives and insight on remote learning in a large chemistry class. 

Their article titled “Student Perspectives on Remote Learning in a Large Organic Chemistry Lecture Course” was published in the July 22, 2020 issue of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Journal of Chemical Education.

“The ‘business as usual’ approach will not work as many students are struggling with financial, interpersonal, and mental health issues related to COVID-19,” said lead author Ramachandran. “Furthermore, remote learning has exacerbated classroom inequity; several students expressed the lack of access to technology and environments that are conducive to learning. I hope that this work can assist faculty in designing their remote courses and adopting inclusive teaching practices to improve student learning amidst COVID-19.”

Their study details the efforts taken in remotely teaching a large organic chemistry class, Chem 14C (Structure of Organic Molecules), in the midst of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The course lectures were taught synchronously via Zoom and student feedback was gathered regarding effective teaching strategies and assessment tools in a remote course setting. The precourse and midcourse surveys also provided insight into challenges and time commitment issues that students are facing when learning in this new situation. The authors highlight the instructor’s experience combined with student perspectives to tackle this situation moving forward. 

Ramachandran%2C%20Roshini%202017%2082X99Dr. Roshini Ramachandran is Assistant Director of Curricular Initiatives at the UCLA Center for The Advancement of Teaching (CAT). She teaches undergraduate chemistry courses and will be teaching CHEM 3 (Material World) this Fall. From 2017-2020, Ramachandran was a Boyer Teacher-Scholar in the department teaching undergraduate courses and conducting postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Alex Spokoyny group.

Castillo%2CMarlius 2019 82x99Dr. Marlius Castillo Rodriguez is the 2019-2022 Cram Teacher-Scholar teaching Chemistry 14C classes and conducting postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Miguel García-Garibay. 

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.