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Professor Christopher Thompson

What motivated you to work with the Monash Warwick Alliance?Wendy Stubbs

My first interactions with Warwick were through the IATL group. The opportunity to not only work with chemists at each end, but collaborate with performance and theatre academics on the same project was completely unique. What we achieved over more than half a decade was eye-opening, and really changed my conceptions of what was possible in chemistry learning and teaching. This relationship opened up new collaborations with Warwick staff in the Department of Chemistry, and new (and ongoing) projects evolved as a result.

What are your top three collaboration achievements so far?

Firstly, each year for five years we had groups of students at both Monash and Warwick come together and exchange ideas around their experiences learning about chemistry's periodic table of elements through performance and theatre techniques. Students who had taken responsibility for their own learning showcased their ideas with each other from a distance of over 16,000km and 11 hours time difference.

Secondly, I was able to visit Warwick and meet some of the staff and students involved, and build on the collaboration.

Thirdly and most recently through my collaboration with Dr Russ Kitson, we have been able to bring our transferable skills badging project from Monash over to Warwick, and implement the skills badges into a number of chemistry courses. So far this has been successful and we have plans to expand this project, having had the opportunity to visit and run some focus groups with Warwick students.

What do you hope to ultimately achieve through your collaboration?

I think the longer term goal to use these projects create new opportunities for Monash and Warwick students to work on projects together. The tyranny of distance and time stops us from doing this, but by making connections through curriculum we can cut through this, and give students an international experience. And the cultural exchange may well be more exciting than the academic exchange of ideas.

Can you share one fun fact about yourself or your work?

Well, my fun fact is that I like to restore 1980s BMX bikes! I have a garage full of them - every now and then I even ride one of them!

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