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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 3 (2006) pp 164-171

A Possible Format for a Noncookbook, but Noninquiry-Style, Laboratory Manual

Roberto Ma. S. Gregorius

Department of Chemistry, University of Texas–Pan American, Edinburg, TX 78539,
Received August 30, 2005. Accepted December 5, 2005.

Published online: 6 April 2006

Abstract. A general chemistry laboratory manual was developed with the objective of providing a system from which students could not approach the use of the manual as though it were a cookbook. All the experiments incorporated in the manual were of the verification type and were typical of experiments conducted in such fashion. The manual system was composed of (a) a printed manual, (b) a compact disc of supporting material (CD), and (c) a laboratory report notebook. For each experiment, the printed manual contained a background explanation of the experiment, a derivation of any mathematical formulas to be used in the experimental design, a terse description of the procedures for each experiment, and a postlaboratory set of questions. The CD contained concept and report-writing tutorials; a virtual laboratory for some experiments, prepared using Macromedia’s Flash authoring tool; and short video clips of actual techniques. All of this was accessible from a PDF version of the printed manual found on the CD. The terse nature of the procedure descriptions forced the students to prepare for each experiment ahead of time using the contents of the CD. A preliminary report of student performance is reported and referenced to the typical performance of students in the traditional, verification-type laboratory courses.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; multimedia

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Article in PDF format (1.91 MB) HTML format

Issue date: June 1, 2006

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