Walter E. Harris Workshop: Strategies for Effective Active Learning

Visiting Speaker: Dr. Jill Robinson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Indiana University
When: Monday, August 15, 2016 (11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.)
Where: Gunning-Lemieux Chemistry Centre E1-60

Strategies for Effective Active Learning
Many recent studies have shown that students perform better in an active learning setting than in a classroom with traditional lecturing. However, there is not one clear definition for active learning and this pedagogy can be implemented in a variety of ways. This presentation will answer the questions, "What is active learning?" and "What key components make active learning effective?" Challenges to the implementation of active learning and potential solutions will be explored. Methods for preparing students for class, forming effective groups, designing classroom activities, and providing feedback will be discussed in the context of large and small class sizes.

Workshop Chair: Professor Charles Lucy (

The 2016 Walter E. Harris Workshop on Teaching Analytical Chemistry will be held at the Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre of the University of Alberta on Monday August 15 and Tuesday August 16, 2016

The Walter E. Harris Teaching Workshops are a forum for discussion. Participants will break out into groups of 6-10 people to discuss various topics related to teaching analytical chemistry. The topics for discussion will be solicited from the participants but will include: active learning in analytical chemistry; and what does industry want our graduates to know? Each group has a facilitator to ensure everyone engages in the discussion and a recorder to keep a brief record of the discussion. After 1.5 hours, the groups scramble and discuss a new set of topics. After the second session, everybody gets together to listen to and discuss the reports from the various groups.

The first day will end with a feature presentation by a keynote speaker, Dr. Jill Robinson of Indiana University. Jill teaches general, analytical and environmental chemistry, and has been honoured with several teaching awards including the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Indiana University. She participates in a National Science Foundation project developing team-based modules for analytical chemistry and has facilitated a workshop on active learning for faculty. She is a co-author of the widely used general chemistry textbook: Chemistry, McMurry, Fay, and Robinson, 7th ed., Pearson Education (2015). Most recently, Jill joined the first group of Mosaic Active Learning Fellows at IU. The Mosaic group is studying active learning methods as well as active learning classrooms.

The second day of the Workshop continues to follow the pattern of the first day.

Over the years participants have found these workshops to be very helpful in assisting with course content, textbook selection and use, and laboratory experiments. We endeavour to enhance the value of the workshop by contacting you, the participants, early to identify your needs and concerns. Professor Charles Lucy ( will chair the workshop and welcomes suggestions for discussion topics. So sign up, and expect to hear from us often leading up the August 15 and 16 workshop.

Sponsored by:
UAlberta Faculty of Science
UAlberta Department of Chemistry
McGraw-Hill Ryerson
Pearson Canada
Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Visiting Speaker Grants