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Teaching Nanotechnology through Research Proposals

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-21, 18:48 authored by Jurica Bauer
Nanotechnology has made a huge impact on science, technology, and society. At the same time, educational institutions at all levels have recognized its relevance and introduced courses that aim at familiarizing their students with the basic concepts of nanotechnology. While the importance of teaching nanotechnology, the contents of such courses, and insightful activities in the laboratory have received a lot of attention, the classroom activities that help students grasp the concepts of nanotechnology have been rather underrepresented, especially in higher education. Here, we describe a student activity that focuses on a research proposal as part of a third-year undergraduate nanotechnology course for chemistry majors. Students work in pairs to review a relevant and contemporary topic in nanotechnology and to propose and develop an original research idea. This is presented and defended in the form of an oral presentation before an audience of peers and is written using an article template. The aim of the described approach is to not only help students learn about nanotechnology in a fun and active manner but also to stimulate critical scientific thinking in students as well as to foster the development of their academic, professional, and soft skills. In line with this, the assessment of students relies on the assessment of the oral presentation, engagement in discussion, and the written research proposal.