Students' Attitudes on Remote-Flexible Instrumental Analysis Laboratory Experiments during COVID-19

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges switched to online or hybrid formats for both lecture and laboratory course delivery. While virtual experiments, that is, "dry lab"experiences, teach students chemical theory, it is essential for students in chemistry laboratories to participate in hands-on laboratory activities. These experiences provide them with the critical thinking and technical skills required for future laboratories, research positions, and careers in science. To ensure that all students received an equitable hands-on laboratory experience throughout the entire semester of Instrumental Analysis, we developed two remote-flexible laboratory experiments that students could perform in the laboratory or safely at home. The experiments implemented included an amperometric biosensor determination of glucose in a sugary beverage and a fluorescence determination of riboflavin (vitamin B2) in an energy drink. In total, across Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, 12 students (18% of those enrolled) in Instrumental Analysis performed remote-flexible experiments at home. An assessment plan was developed to determine the effectiveness of the laboratory experiments at providing a quality and equitable hands-on laboratory experience. This assessment demonstrated that students found the experiments effective, meeting the learning objectives of the assignment, and of similar rigor to in-lab experiments. In terms of performance, student experimental results (based on accuracy) were comparable, whether completed remotely or in the lab. Students also reported that having remote-flexible experiments decreased stress levels during a high-stress semester. In all, assessment results suggest remote-flexible experiments could be a sensible addition to future laboratory courses to relieve student stress without compromising rigor and course learning objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of chemical education
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education


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