School Seminar: Dr Siobhán Wills, University of New South Wales – School of Chemistry School Seminar: Dr Siobhán Wills, University of New South Wales – School of Chemistry

School Seminar: Dr Siobhán Wills, University of New South Wales

Wednesday, 20 September 11:00am – 12:00pm

This seminar will be delivered in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4

Speaker: Dr Siobhán Wills, University of New South Wales

Host: Dr Stephen George-Williams

Title: “I try my very best and then I send it to the wizards, who make up numbers” – Student perspectives on feedback for learning in the sciences at UNSW.

Abstract: Feedback practices are instinctual in everyday learning. For example, if something goes wrong, we remember, and try to avoid making that same mistake in the future.

Ideally, the same processes should occur in formal learning settings, except the feedback/feedforward cycle can be lost amongst course organisation, administering assessments, and making it to the end of the teaching period intact … and this is the case for both staff and students. In addition, student feedback literacy – knowing how to interpret and use given feedback to improve learning – can be lacking. Students require iterative support in using feedback effectively to close the learning loop. Staff need to be aware of common student misconceptions and expectations when receiving feedback to offer targeted and actionable feedback by using appropriate support structures.

A recent project in the Faculty of Science collected data on students’ understanding of feedback terms, as well as perceptions of staff and student feedback practices. I will discuss these findings and outline what steps may be taken to potentially improve feedback literacy for science students.

From there, I will speak to several projects we are running in the School of Chemistry to enhance students’ feedback literacy, addressing the issues raised in the above inquiry:

  1. Creative question writing in chemistry
  2. Asynchronous “muddiest” questions
  3. Coded individual feedback on paper and digital summative assessments

I hope this presentation will be a foundation to share practices that you have found successful in your own teaching.

Bio: Siobhán completed her BSc International (Hons) in Chemistry and French at the University of Western Australia (UWA). She then continued her studies at UWA, completing a PhD in carbohydrate chemistry under the supervision of A/Prof Keith Stubbs with some Chemistry Education projects on the side with A/Prof Dino Spagnoli.

After her PhD, she headed to Frankfurt, Germany, and joined the research department of Bayer Crop Science as a postdoctoral researcher, before returning to Australia to take up a position as a Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at UNSW where she was recently promoted to Senior Lecturer.

At UNSW, her focus is on chemistry education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She still has a keen interest in carbohydrate chemistry, and small molecule synthesis is a secondary research focus.



Sep 20 2023


11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4
Level 2, School of Chemistry

Comments are closed.