Development of Instructional Videos to Improve Students’ Laboratory Techniques (Part II)

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: John Canal, Department of Chemistry

Project Team: Lee Hanlan and Sophie Lavieri, Department of Chemistry, and Rachel Wagner and Teresita Barbou, research assistants

Timeframe: December 2014 to May 2016

Funding: $5,000  

Courses addressed:

  • CHEM 236 – Inorganic Chemistry Lab
  • CHEM 336 – Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Lab

Final report: View John Canal's final project report (PDF)

Description: Students are often not as well prepared to do weekly laboratory work as they should be, and this can present a safety hazard.  They are currently given safety and other lab instruction in written form in their laboratory manuals and during in-class lab lectures. Will instructional videos on improve the student performance in our inorganic chemistry laboratory courses?

We are developing short instructional videos to provide concise and uniform instructions to the students, and therefore they will become familiar with the instruments, glassware, and techniques of the experiment before they perform the experiment.  These videos complement the education development already happening in these classes.

Instructional videos have been incorporated into other chemistry courses, such as CHEM 126 General Chemistry Laboratory II.  It has been observed that these videos helped the students with their learning process, not only because they were able to refer to a specific technique at any time, but it also helped them to make the connection between the same techniques used in different experiments.

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., Lowe, J., & Fong, R.  (2015, December). Effective instruction medium for improving student learning of laboratory techniques. Presentation at theInternational Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies (PACIFICHEM 2015),Honolulu, USA. 

Canal, J. P., Lowe, J., & Fung, R. (2016). Improving students’ practical lab techniques through focused instruction and assessment. In M. Schultz, S. Schmid, & T. Holme (Eds.), Technology and Assessment Strategies for Improving Student Learning in Chemistry, Symposium Series (pp. 159-177). Washington, DC: ACS Books.

Hanlan, L., Canal, J. P., & Lavieri S. (2016, June). Use of instructional videos in the inorganic undergraduate laboratory. Presentation at the 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Halifax, NS.