Enthusiasm for Chemistry Spans Time Zones

An instructor in a purple shirt teaches a lecture to a mostly empty classroom of masked studentsChemistry senior lecturer George Bandik exudes enthusiasm, whether in the classroom or across the miles.

After his first day teaching in person this term, Bandik dashed off a quick note to his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

“Listening to what (the students) said, most were very happy to be out of their rooms and back in a classroom,” Bandik wrote. “One young woman told me she was never so excited to walk up to Chevron!”

Bandik is teaching organic chemistry face-to-face in a Chevron Science Center classroom, but students also attend virtually via Zoom. The Flex@Pitt modalities offer both students and instructors the options to either attend classes in person or remotely.

His students are also letting him know how he’s doing, and two of them agreed to share their feedback with Pittwire.

“I just wanted to say thank you for having such engaging lectures and being such a great help to all of us students,” wrote Sadie Franklin, a Pitt sophomore currently applying to pharmacy school, in an email to Bandik. “I have never been so excited to learn chemistry or have been so engaged in my lectures. I know the switch to online learning hasn't been easy for you or for students, but I just wanted to say thank you and share my appreciation for all the work you do.”

Celeste Lintz, a sophomore engineering major, attends the class remotely, three time zones away in San Diego. She also took the time to drop Bandik an email after classes began:

“It is always a joy to listen to your lectures, and for once in what feels like a long time, chemistry is making sense.” She switches between synchronous and asynchronous learning—another feature of Flex @ Pitt.

“It's funny—my parents know when I am in organic chemistry lecture because I oftentimes pause the video playback and solve the questions you ask people in class by myself before moving onto the answer; when I get a question right, I tend to get really excited and cheer myself on (like a quick little ‘let's go!’ or ‘yes!’),” she wrote.

Several classes later, Bandik said things are continuing well: “So far, so good!”