A Framework for General Chemistry Laboratory Design and Evaluation
Dr. Justin Shorb
The Department of Chemistry at Hope College has a history of leading the nation in chemistry education with an emphasis on integration of research experiences into undergraduate education. Research into effective qualities of a General Chemistry Laboratory experience have emphasized the structured inclusion of research-like experiences, guided inquiry, as well as professional skills into the curriculum. Hope College has endeavored to include proven new teaching methods such as peer review, real-world contextualization, and inquiry-based experiments into their curriculum as cohesively as possible. Here, a full literature review of recommended learning objectives will be presented, along with a metaanalysis to generate a useful rubric for evaluating the quality of any General Chemistry Laboratory curriculum, followed by its application to Hope College’s own Chemistry 127 & 128 sequence. Highlights of this project include a breakdown of the strengths of our current curriculum as well as research-guided avenues for improvements with subsequent iterative evaluation. At the heart of this research is the creation of a framework for both design of new laboratories and evaluation of curricula that can be applied universally to any existing program to aid in the incorporation of effective pedagogies. The transferability of this generic iterative framework for improving laboratory curriculum to other institutions will be discussed.
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