Session S51b (Tuesday, 2pm, Thomas 118)

P592: Use and results of using an online chemistry laboratory package in a large general chemistry course

Richard Nafshun (Oregon State University, USA)

In coordination with traditional on-campus general chemistry courses, The Department of Chemistry at Oregon State University has been offering an online general chemistry sequence since 2003. We have struggled to identify a method of facilitating an appropriate distance laboratory program. We have investigated a “kitchen” chemistry kit and various online virtual toolboxes. We are currently using a virtual laboratory package ( which presents the user with a split screen: one side contains chemistry laboratory tools and the other is text. The tools include standard experimental equipment such as an analytical balance, flasks, pipettes, and reagents, as well as more complex analytical instruments or reaction equipment such as an absorbance spectrophotometer, calorimeter, NMR, and a combustion chamber. The logical progress (or flow) of these tools in experiments is analogous to that in classroom labs. The tools incorporate both random and systematic error, providing data simulations where detailed error analyses can be performed that are analogous to that in classroom laboratory experiments. Each of these features allows for a significant enhancement in instructional capabilities, and could integrate very well with the instructional modalities of models and argumentation that have been recently developed and outlined in more detail below. Results of the use of the online chemistry laboratory package in three different modes (fully online/hybrid/supplemental) and methods of use will be discussed.


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