Scientists get teaching ideas mail base

January 10, 1997

Science lecturers will soon be able to use new technology to exchange tips on teaching.

Jonathan Ling, director of studies for physics and astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, is establishing an electronic mailing list on science teaching to which science lecturers can turn for ideas and innovations.

Mr Ling, who chairs the higher education task group at the Association for Science Education, which held its annual conference at Birmingham last week, hopes that lecturers will write up their experiences and ideas, so helping others as they try to master the art of being effective teachers.

The new page is a step to addressing the lack of practical teaching instruction for academics, who are mainly trained in research, said Mr Ling. "There is no way a good teaching idea can be sent across the science sector at the moment. This way science teachers in universities can communicate with each other about best practice."

The mail base Teaching University Science starts later this month. Email posting will be distributed to list members by the Mailbase service at the University of Newcastle. Users can browse through past discussions on the World Wide Web at

The move is a first by the ASE, well represented in schools, to spread its support network to higher education. The ASE acts as a forum for the discussion of ideas in science education. Its magazines are filled with research and teaching ideas to help school teachers.

"The string missing from the bow of the ASE was higher education. There's no organisation that looks after all areas of science in higher education. It seems a good idea that the ASE does that," said Mr Ling.

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