Opportunities to ask questions
Asking questions is an important part of learning. I came to university thinking that academics don’t talk to students as much haha and if you don’t understand the lecture, then the chemistry textbooks in the library will be your only hope. This has turned out to be so not true. There are numerous opportunities to ask questions and I’ll list the ones I can remember that are open to chemists.
During lectures! I have not come across a single lecturer during my time at Warwick so far who has discouraged students from asking questions in lectures. Just stick your hand up and your query shall be resolved…
however if you don’t fancy speaking in front of everyone else, you can get hold of the lecturer straight after the lecture. Just walk down to the lecturer and get your questions answered.
Emails are another way to get answers. At university, I find that emailing most academics is like messaging them. They respond very quickly. But not always though, they can be busy. But hey, even friends don’t get back to us instantly even though we ACTUALLY message them.
Online Moodle forum is very helpful as well and I would argue not used as much as it could be. If we had discussions on there, think how much we would all learn. I used it a lot last year during exam season and got many of my questions answered. Since the forums are rarely used, you might find that sometimes you don’t get answers back instantly. What I find useful is to post on the forum and then email the academic to let them know that I have posted something and request for an answer.
Pop into their office. I like to do this if I’m in the library because the chemistry building is just opposite the library (how beautiful) therefore often find myself randomly knocking on doors if I have questions. This is not always successful because as you can imagine, the academics are busy people and not necessarily always in their offices, in which case…
their office hours might be a better way to get to see them. These are drop-in sessions, if you like, dedicated exclusively to answering student queries. Most academics would have office hours and specify them at the beginning of teaching a module but if they don’t then,
you can always email them to book an appointment to see them. They’re always happy to see students!
The chemistry society at Warwick offers ‘ChemCafes‘ every Monday evening. During this time, you might find many academics around and also students from other years groups who’re there to help you with any questions that you might have. In addition, they also offer a quiet study area for an hour if you’d like to get on with some revision.
Workshops and tutorials serve as a great opportunity to get your questions answered. In tutorials, you’d be discussing marked work you would have submitted beforehand. In workshops, you’ll be given a problem set in the workshop and be working on the answers. These are NOT assessed and therefore you’re welcome to discuss with your mates, use your notes and will have academic(s) around to answer any questions that you might have.
I hope I haven’t missed any other opportunities and that you find your favourite approach from the list. Enjoy asking questions!