York chemistry student YouTube stars

Posted on 28 June 2017

With over 175 videos on YouTube, first year York Chemistry Students have, over the past 7 years, created one of the most diverse sources of online educational material in the field of polymer chemistry.

5 student prizes were awarded for innovative approaches to science communication

For the last 7 years, York Chemistry students have had the opportunity to make a YouTube video as part of their Year 1 assessments. This assignment develops their understanding of polymer chemistry applications and ability to communicate it to a general audience.

Since 2011, over 175 students have made YouTube videos. These videos have been viewed over 150,000 times – demonstrating the impact these first year students have had; becoming global educators in their own right.

Each year, Professor David Smith, who runs the module, selects some of the videos to be awarded prizes to recognise their innovative approaches to science communication. This year’s prizes were won by Seda AydinRuben Godwin-SuttieAlvaro Lopez-AcostaIain Malone and Eren Mirza.

Their videos covered topics, including applications of polymer science in aviation, running shoes, electronics and hardcore sports. All five students demonstrated remarkable communication skills and an ability to translate complicated chemical ideas in engaging and imaginative ways.

The most watched video ever created in this module was made by Claudia Aurelia, who discussed the use of polymers as fillings in dentistry. Her video, made in 2014, has since become ‘must watch’ material for students of dentistry, being viewed over 20,000 times and attracting many viewer comments such as "As a dentist and a teacher I must say this was clear and complete."

All of the videos created by first year chemistry students in York can be found playlisted on Professor David Smith’s YouTube channel.

Teaching innovation is a vital part of the Department of Chemistry’s approach to teaching excellence, as recognised by the recent 2nd place ranking in The Guardian League Table of Chemistry Departments based on teaching quality.