Details about teaching & a visit to Concordia University

I visited Concordia University this week to get some more information about my teaching duties starting January 3rd. Things are working out well on the administrative side – I signed my contracts and all there is left is my application for a new work permit. Teaching dates and rooms are set and I have a good idea who to ask, if I do not know, how to proceed.I will be teaching approx. 120 students in 2 parallel courses, so will be imperative for me to design exams and assignments that can be corrected within the required time; that is not the way I like it (I like to design my questions in way that I get a feel for how much students know and those are not always easy and quick to correct, depending on the topic). But there is nothing I can do.The topics of the courses are well laid out and I got an excellent briefing from my predecessor, who will be teaching other courses next winter term. He also provided a lot of material for me to get started quickly. Concordia uses Moodle as a teaching tool, so let’s see how I will be able to use it.The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, everybody is really helpful. People take time to listen to my questions (also in the administration!) – I think I am going to like it at Concordia, even if it is only for 4 months for the time being.

I will be teaching again!

During my vacation I have learned that I will be teaching again, this time at Concordia University in the Chemistry Department. The course, CHEM-218 deals mainly with the following topics: precipitation equilibria and titrations; electrochemistry; redox equilibria and titrations; potentiometry; molecular and atomic absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy.It is definitely going to be fun and I am looking forward to it – a new university and a new environment for me to get acquainted with and new experiences to make.

CHEM-377 done

The last job left to do for the course that I have taught last semester was the submission of the marks. My colleague has marked the final exam and now everything is done.

Chem 377 Slide

It has been an excellent experience for me and lots of fun – thanks to everybody in the Chemistry Department for their outstanding support!

Teaching – the final round

My teaching duties are almost over, the last oral student presentations are done, the midterms are corrected and graded (and were not bad at all) – so all there is left to do are some lectures on infrared spectrometry. So far I have really enjoyed things, especially the student presentation, which provides an excellent opportunity for a small group discussion and feedback by and for students.A good experience and a lot of fun!


Today I have given my first exam – the midterm – in Instrumental Analysis. It was quite a challenge to put 2 equally difficult exams together, but I think it worked out in the end. After all, the content is not too difficult, but the challenge is rather to keep the different types of instrumentation in mind.The exams themselves were quite uneventful – although I have underestimated the time that it would take the students to answer the questions. I thought 1,5-2 hrs would be enough, but it took most of them the full 3 hours to get everything done.I now have a stack of papers waiting for me to mark them. I hope the weather is going to be bad next weekend. Next week there will be a couple of student presentations waiting for me and that will be enjoyable. The presentations are usually fairly good and I think most people find the feedback quite useful.

Teaching in full swing …

It is now several weeks that I have started teaching “Instrumental Analysis 2” and I have to say that I really enjoy this 3rd year chemistry course. Preparation is really a lot of work (especially the first time!) that has kept me busy most weekends since Christmas, but I find the sessions themselves very rewarding. Apart from the lectures, I am also grading a formal presentation by students that should help them prepare for interview situations.They give a presentation on one of their lab experiments, reporting on the measurement principle, set-up, results and discussion. Questions are also part of the presentation. So far it’s been fun and presentations have been pretty well prepared. I not only give feedback on the scientific part, but also on the style of the presentation (slide design, voice, gestures, general impression).

Teaching starts tomorrow

… and I got everything I need – almost 😉 I will teach 2 lectures per week (Tue and Thu) so this can be managed nicely and I really like the content (Instrumental Analysis). Tomorrow’ s session will be mostly administrative (and also concerning the Lab course that I will be involved with to a limited extent), but on Thursday it will be down to business.

CHEM-377 on track

Right – with all the administrative issues sorted out, all there is left to do is to put the lectures togehter 😉 Well – still quite a bit of work ahead, but at least something that I have done before. In the past few weeks, we have co-ordinated lab and lecture, including the lab-duties. These will include oral exams and a “business-like” presentation of one of the lab experiments, including commenting on the collected data. This is going to be fun, but also a lot of work!I now have a pretty good idea, what this course is about and everything makes good sense. We have tweaked a few things, e.g. that students can bring colleagues along for their talk, so that they present in front of a committee rather than a single person. Mass spectrometry and IR spectroscopy (theory and applications) are a fixed part of the schedule. I am also going to set-up a course home page with my colleague and make the teaching material available to students, incl self-assessment quizzes, where they can test their understandung of the discussed topics.

CHEM-377 Taking Shape

The planning for the Instrumental Analysis course that I am going to teach next winter term is going well. We (my co-lecturer and myself) have now met several people that have been involved with the course one way or the other (the former instructor, instructors of similar courses and the lab coordinator).We have set-up a tentative schedule and checked it for overlap with other lectures. We still need to get everything approved by the Chair, but so fare we have kept him informed, so this should not be a problem. After that we can set-up the exam dates, the rooms and look for invigilators. And of course the individual presentations need to be set-up.There is still ample time – so no need to hurry, but I want to be prepared properly and especially the exam-preparation, weighing of mid-term and final exams will require some time to get it right. Everything – including the “academic integrity clause” – has to be ready before the lecture starts and be made clear to students – which I think is a good thing). And the course website needs to be set-up too.

Teaching CHEM-377B next winter term

After some discussion within the department, I will now be teaching an Instrumental Analysis course next winter term. I am sharing the responsibility for the lecture with a second person, and my teaching duties will be done at the end of January, so that I can prepare things for my sampling trip in spring.We are now co-ordinating contents with the lab course held parallel with the lecture and sorting out administrative stuff as well as check with other lecturers for overlap with their respective courses. It is a fun thing to do and I am really looking forward to some more teaching again.