Development of Chemistry Instructional Videos to Improve First Year Students Learning (Part I)

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Sophie Lavieri, Department of Chemistry

Project Team: John Canal, Department of Chemistry, Gilberto Martinez and Rachel Wagner, research assistants

Timeframe: December 2014 to May 2016

Funding: $5,000

Courses addressed:

  • CHEM 111 – Introductory Chemistry and Laboratory
  • CHEM 121 – General Chemistry and Laboratory I
  • CHEM 126 – General Chemistry and Laboratory II

Final report: View Sophie Lavieri's final project report (PDF)

Description: When students come to our chemistry labs, they are expected to follow the procedures outlined in the lab manuals, and be able to complete the calculations related to their experiment. Although the students get a short introductory lecture from the Lab Instructors and/or their Teaching Assistants about the techniques to follow in order to achieve their goals, we have noticed that several students still have difficulty for a variety of reasons. These difficulties can  greatly affect their experimental results.

We are developing short instructional videos to tackle known problem areas in the first year chemistry courses, including working with instruments, glassware, and calculations. Having the opportunity to watch some of the experimental techniques and the proper use of the instruments will not only give students extra time to work on their experiment by reducing the introductory lecture, but will also give them a better understanding about the experiment.  This will therefore contribute to a better performance and help with the students’ learning process.

Questions addressed:

  • Are the students’ experiments more accurate and precise after viewing the video tutorial?
  • How do faculty report they integrate the learning resource into their teaching practice?
  • What do faculty cite as the limitations on their use of this resource?

Related Projects: There is a related and concurrent project in progress.

These videos are also an expansion on the audio-visual learning resources already developed in two previous Teaching and Learning Development Grants.

Knowledge sharing: The produced videos will be posted publicly on YouTube for the students in our course and for colleagues to watch. The work will be shared at departmental meetings. Once it is shown that these videos are an effective learning tool, they can be promoted to other departments to develop their own videos.  

Canal, J. P., Hanlan, L., Key, J., Laveiri, S., Paskevicius, M., & Sharma, D. (2016). Chemistry laboratory videos: Perspectives on design, production, and student usage. In M. Schultz, S. Schmid, & T. Holme (Eds.), Technology and Assessment Strategies for Improving Student Learning in Chemistry, Symposium Series (pp. 137-157). Washington, DC: ACS Books.

Lavieri, S., Hanlan, L., & Canal, J. P. (2015, December). Development of chemistry instructional videos to improve first year students learning. Presentation at the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies, (PACIFICHEM 2015), Honolulu, HI.