Monday, 23 May 2005 - 2:35 PM
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This presentation is part of: About the General Chemistry Laboratory II

Using Technology to Teach: Are Lab Instructors Really Needed?

Rudolph W. Kluiber, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

Over the past 15 years we have developed software which allows the server, GenChem, to do most of the routine tasks in teaching a two semester, classical hands-on "cookbook" GenChem Laboratory. From creating a syllabus to evaluating final course grades, and in-between producing and grading individualized web-based PreLabs, providing 5-15 min downloadable videos plus web pages and tutorials in lieu of instructor talks, recording unknowns, evaluating each student's experimental work in real time, providing immediate one-time warnings on incorrect calculations and instant grading and long term record keeping. Our students work individually and the computer individualizes each experiment making it more difficult to mindlessly copy or cheat. Use of the computer has made the students more accountable and also provides an even treatment of students from person to person, section to section and also year to year! It also allows poorly done experiments to be repeated (with a small grade penalty). PlayChem, a series of short but significant experiments provides "extra-credit". Although our experiments have remained basically the same over the last decade, use of the computer, in particular, the individualized PreLabs (rated 4.0/5) and the videos (rated 4.5/5) are more highly rated than the previous prelabs and instructor talks (2-3/5). The multimedia approach, the accountability and our correlation of the lab with the lecture has rated the laboratory as being helpful in understanding the lecture (3.7/5) slightly more so than the lecture being helpful in the lab (3.6/5). However, GenChem has never received the "Teacher of the Year" award.

Web Page: genchem.rutgers.edu

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