Chemistry--Study and teaching (Higher)
Chemical Engineering | Chemistry | Engineering Education
The use of web classes, such as Tegrity Campus1, as a supplement to pre laboratory reading or a replacement for pre laboratory lectures could become a standard tool in laboratory education protocol. In classes with multiple lab sections and instructors, pre laboratory lectures can lack consistency and it can be difficult to gauge the students’ level of preparation. With the ever increasing exposure to technology, students generally prefer information in a digital and multimedia form, rather than textbook readings. Therefore, this method can prove to better prepare students prior to laboratory experiments, increasing the overall understanding of the chemical reactions and concepts. It can also increase safety within the lab using a method current students can relate to and prefer.
This process is currently being used at the sophomore level in Organic Chemistry laboratories at the University of New Haven for approximately 111 students with majors in chemistry and chemical engineering among others. Each pre lab lecture is recorded by the laboratory coordinator, and students are required to view the videos prior to the laboratory. Recordings include general information on chemical reactions and chemical hazards, information on glassware set up, procedure and waste disposal.
To assess the effectiveness of using Web based lectures to prepare students for the weekly labs, data has been obtained from laboratory instructors, teaching assistants and laboratory assistants of how the lectures have impacted students’ preparation. Feedback has been obtained through student surveys following the completion of the labs, questioning students about the usefulness and ease of using a web program for pre laboratory lectures, if the video method is preferred to supplemental readings or if it helped to enhance instruction from the text.
Overall, the research proved to be a useful tool in saving laboratory instructors and students’ time, while enhancing the laboratory experience and student satisfaction utilizing tools most higher education institutions have available.
Traditionally, laboratory learning has been approached using a constructivist style, with instructors acting as facilitators to help students perform procedures and, ideally, gaining conceptual knowledge along the way. This approach has a valuable place in science education, where it is imperative that students develop a set of complex skills that are often taught by simulating authentic research.2 Most laboratory protocols expect students to meet a certain level of preparation before entering the laboratory. Research suggests that advance preparation is an effective way to promote student learning and interest in the classroom. Preparation is particularly important in laboratory activities in which safety concerns are present. The richer and broader learning experiences provided by laboratory work have been shown to be important in attracting and retaining students.
Hesser, Tiffany and Collura, Michael, "Web Based Classes For Enhancement Of Prelaboratory Lectures" (2009). Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Faculty Publications. 23.
Hesser, T., & Collura, M. (2009, June), Web Based Classes For Enhancement Of Prelaboratory Lectures. Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5289