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Wednesday, October 20 • 11:00am - 11:40am
What Could A Future OER, Inclusive And Accessible Science Lab Look Like?

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Chemistry education is rich because of the hands-on experiences. Traditional chemistry labs involve a laboratory with instruments, fume hoods, lab manuals, assigned student groups, labeled chemical jars and waste containers. When students are in a chemistry lab with lab coat and goggles, instructors assume that they have all the necessary resources and preparation. For some students this is like a second home, for many others it’s an intimidating alien planet. It is time to re-assess the traditional chemistry lab education. Does it (did it ever?) provide ALL our students an accessible and flexible experience that will help them see themselves as future scientists? And, if a different kind of program can be imagined, could we build it as OER making it accessible and affordable for ALL?

The presenters will argue that there are multiple benefits to having an OER curriculum built on sustainable practices in chemistry that could be performed at home:
  1. The experiments can be more relatable and applied, allowing students to share their developing expertise with their family and community. By sharing their knowledge, the students learn it better and they promote a positive view of chemistry.
  2. Teamwork can be re-imagined to be more reflective of real-life collaborations: each student performs their own experiment and data is shared for evaluation and analysis.
  3. Detailed instructions are delivered via video demonstrations. Students can rewind, which is helpful to students with differing abilities or English language learners.
  4. Accommodations for differently abled students are also easier to integrate. Caretakers, working students, students with limited access to reliable transportation, and those impacted by short term life disruptions (death of family member, accidents, illness, etc.) can benefit from the additional flexibility in this format.
  5. Students would be held to the same rigorous standards. Each week, the students complete an experiment and submit a lab report that included a required calculation, data analysis and discussion section that is aligned with the AAC&U rubrics for critical thinking and empirical and quantitative reasoning, the current best standard for assessment.
  6. Students could compile a structured lab portfolio describing their experiences and lessons learned.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Critically evaluate past educational experiences and their impact on current teaching practices in science labs
  • Recognize elements of systemic discrimination in traditional science labs
  • Identify and evaluate alternatives to the traditional science labs
  • Identify some methods of creating, adopting and promoting inclusive practices

avatar for Eszter Trufan

Eszter Trufan

Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Houston-Downtown
I love to experiment! That passion extends to all areas of my life from the lab to the classroom and course design. I continually work on designing classes that invite all students to experience diverse activities that help foster interest and enthusiasm for learning and science with... Read More →

Elene Bouhoutsos-Brown

lecturer, University of Houtson-Downtown

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Live sessions will be held throughout the day. Return to the session page shortly before the start time for a link to join the Zoom room. The join button will only be visible to logged in attendees. See the FAQ for more details.Live session formats include panels, presentations, discussions, and open space sessions. Most presentations and panels are recorded and posted by the next day. Discussions and open space sessions may not be recorded, so make sure to attend live.Note that live sessions begin on time, and the capacity... Read More →

Wednesday October 20, 2021 11:00am - 11:40am EDT
Room C