Session S4 (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 120)

P20: When outdated labs meet modern computer technology

Karsten Theis (Westfield State University, USA), Christopher Masi (Westfield State University, USA)

Modern research laboratories are increasingly computation and communication intensive. Teaching labs often need to catch up. At Westfield State University, we introduced electronic notebooks (ELNs) and portable networked computers within a laboratory infrastructure in dire need of modernization. We will present experiences from two pilot courses.

First, a GOB lab course was enhanced by providing networked iPads for each group. Students learn to analyze data using a spreadsheet, and to use the analysis to guide follow-up experiments. Laboratory notebooks were implemented as gmail accounts containing spreadsheets and photos of handwritten notes, experimental setups, and observations.

Second, an organic chemistry lab course was enhanced by adopting a free online ELN. Integrated tools allow students to draw structures, access physical data and safety information on the web, and write their reports. All material is available to the student and the instructor at all times, rather than having a single hardcopy notebook.


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