Paper published

My colleague Carly Reed and I just published some work related to teaching general chemistry during the pandemic. Like many others, we implemented a variety of technological tools to facilitate on-line and hybrid instruction. During the process, we monitored student engagement with the various tools and followed up with some student surveys to identify which tools might be worth keeping in “back to normal” instruction.

Word cloud containing terms students used most frequently in a GroupMe text messaging app used during general chemistry.
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Dry labs real science

Recently, I had a chance to talk about an approach I developed to help students interact more effectively with on-line instrumentation simulations. I call it [Do][Explore][Act] and it’s an evolution of the Predict-Obseve-Explain approach to doing science demonstrations. The point is to provide mediation remotely so that students have a better understanding of what they are supposed to do with a simulator and how they are being assessed. The presentation has now been posted on DryLabsRealScience youtube channel. You can find the complete playlist here.

COVID is just a catalyst

Science educators have been grappling with the challenges of remote instruction long before the pandemic. The virus has simply lowered the activation barrier to implementation.  The chemistry education community has yet to adopt a remote alternative to time and resource intensive laboratory instruction, and the result of this nonconcurrence is the messiness, fear and uncertainty you witness today.

There are plenty of alternatives to face-to-face laboratory instruction: virtual laboratory simulations; videos of faculty performing experiments; kits where students can perform experiments at home.  These solutions may have worked adequately this past semester, given that those of us who had a week to transition to on-line formats were considered “fortunate”, but they are not long-term solutions.  The reason being: we don’t really know what problem we are trying to solve.

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