CDE seminar: Science teaching at a distance

Science teaching at a distance seminar 

 Tuesday 19 April 2011  

Can we teach  science at a distance? Yes we can!

The CDE ran the first of a planned series of seminars on virtual worlds on Tuesday 19 April, and it led to some interesting discussions.  Roger Mills, Guest Editor of a special issue of the journal Open Learning on science teaching gave some examples of innovative science teaching at a distance and discussed whether in some areas online teaching of practical skills might be better than traditional face-to-face laboratory or field work.  Clare Sansom, structural biologist, Web 2.0 enthusiast and CDE Fellow, illustrated how the immersive virtual world, Second Life, can be used to illustrate molecular structures and teach molecular sciences, and discussed its application in teaching other highly “visual” disciplines.


Science teaching at a distance (slides): Dr Roger Mills


 Teaching science in Second Life (slides): Dr Clare Sansom


Speaker biographies

Dr Clare Sansom lectures at Birkbeck College, and is principally involved in designing and delivering an innovative MSc course in structural biology taught entirely over the Internet, and participates in the Virtual Physiological Human project, funded through the EU as a Network of Excellence.  She also works part time at the Open University, where she is currently helping establish a new MSc in Medicinal Chemistry as an online course with global reach. She is a Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education and a freelance consultant and science writer.

Having worked for the OU UK for over 35 years Roger Mills is now a Research Associate at the Von Hugel Insitute, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge and also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Distance Education in the University of London.


Upcoming CDE seminars in the series

Following on from the above event we are running a some follow-on technology seminars relating to the theme of virtual worlds:

Open Source Alternatives to Second Life. June (date tbc). Register your interest at:

Virtual Worlds and Students with Disabilities. June (date tbc). Register your interest at: 

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