“What I ask them to do is to not only gain knowledge about what nanoscience is and what it can do, but to articulate that as a script that can then be translated into a multimedia production.” This is how Northwestern chemistry professor Teri Odom describes the goals of her Weinberg College Freshman Seminar.
All beginning Weinberg students must take two first-year seminars, one in the fall and a second in either the winter or spring. These are primarily writing courses based on different thematic topics. In Professor Odom’s seminar, she unites innovative teaching practice with one of the most important research initiatives at Northwestern – nanoscience (science at the molecular scale). The International Institute of Nanotechnology, in which Professor Odom is involved as a member of the steering committee, is one of the University’s largest collaborations, representing $800 million in nanotechnology research and educational programs.
As she notes in the video, “Technology is a key driver in student learning and in classroom innovation.” This idea is put into practice as her seminar students are introduced to media production. A special animation class led by Northwestern IT media professionals introduces the class to animation production techniques and processes, and she also makes them aware of the creative possibilities of the One Button Studio and the Lightboard for their media efforts.
Professor Odom hopes that as a result of the development of their multimedia projects, her students will, “start to become little experts in nanoscience,” she says. “Once they have taken the class and they return to their dorm, they are probably now the resident expert in nanoscience,” a subject area of vital importance to Northwestern and the contemporary world.