The Dynamic Laboratory Manual: E-Learning Software to Support Practical Chemistry Skills Development

Tim Harrison, Paul Wyatt, Nicholas C. Norman

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle (Specialist Publication)

Abstract

The problem identified with the traditional undergraduate laboratory experience was that students typically arrived at the laboratory to carry out an experiment without a clear idea of the practical techniques they would be using, the skills they would require, or the chemistry behind the practical. Experience had shown that it was often only after the laboratory, during a write up, that they would generally start to work out what it was they had been doing throughout their period of very expensive laboratory time. Added to this, students are often expected to perform poorly stimulating, repetitive tasks that appear to have little relevance to the skills set needed by a 21st century chemist. Students would clearly get much more from the laboratory experience if they were to know what they were going to be doing before they arrived and pre-laboratory preparation is the key to achieving this. When Bristol was awarded the grant to become the UK’s Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in practical chemistry this matter was addressed, along with the desire to also incorporate other aspects of e-learning and e-assessment into the laboratory experience. One of the main innovations in Bristol ChemLabS has therefore been to shift the balance of work done outside the laboratory to before rather than after the practical class so that students are much better prepared and therefore more confident in their practical work. Key to the realisation of these two main ambitions has been the development of the Dynamic Laboratory Manual (DLM).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Volume2011
No.7
Specialist publicationCHED Committee on Computers in Chemical Education
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2011

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