As a first year class rep for Chemistry 1a, attending the first SSLC meeting of the Chemistry school was both very productive and exciting. I had the chance to learn from the other class reps and get familiar with the problems they have in upper years of the course. This was extremely valuable as it gave the opportunity for being pro-active and avoiding those issues in our course next years. For example, upper year class reps have shared that they feel tutorials every second week are insufficient, but yet there is poor attendance to them anyway, which leads to the conclusions that students should be prompted to attend all of the tutorials available to them to get good exam preparation. Also, listening to other class reps developed my ability to be an active listener and take the maximum of what others are sharing. We also discussed some overall school issues like the shuttle bus availability and creating surveys for the whole school to get information about common issues.
Regarding Chemistry 1a course, there were several important issues I wanted to share with the staff. Some of the lectures were missing on Learn and were being uploaded only after the lecture, which prevented students from printing slides beforehand and getting acquainted with the material in advance. With tutorials, there was only one issue regarding the tutorial in organic chemistry which was too long to be completed in the given time. Moreover, regarding labs, there was insufficient time to complete one of the experiments and the pre-lab exercises for week 6 onwards were missing on Learn.
The most significant concern of the students in the course was however the upcoming exam as it is our first exam in the University and a lot of students are still not confident with the material and the exam requirements. A project I wanted to introduce and put in action was organizing a Questions and Answer session before the exam with the professors where students have the chance to drop-in and clarify any issues they have with the material or the exam. The staff responded extensively to all of these concerns. The course organizer promised to supervise that all lecture notes are uploaded on Learn at least 24h before the lecture itself, as the University policy requires. The tutorial that was too long is to be revised for next year. The lab organizer replied to the concern about the lack of time for the experiment with the reassurance that the marking scheme for this experiment will be adjusted to compensate for the issue. The pre-lab exercises for all the following weeks were also uploaded on Learn the following day. The course organizer agreed that a Question and Answer session is suitable to address any concerns first year students have about the exam. It was agreed that we will work together to schedule the most convenient time for the meeting to take place, and he also promised he will address the whole class regarding the exam as it approaches.
The organization of this session is now beginning as a collaboration between me and the staff. That is a valuable project that will help not only the students, but me as a class rep since it will develop my ability to seek the appropriate support in the process. Thus, the SSLC was extremely productive for Chemistry 1a course as all concerns were addressed and acted upon. The results from the meeting were reported back to the class vie the Facebook group and in-person communication and the students were positive with the outcomes.