Current Issues in Teaching Analytical Chemistry (#38)

Traditional methods of teaching analytical chemistry have emphasized the theory and performance of analysis techniques and the development of laboratory skills. Many skills that are important for success in employment opportunities (e.g., oral and written communication, ability to work with others, problem-solving) are not emphasized in traditional teaching methods. Recent reports on science education emphasize the value of inquiry-based, problem-based and cooperative learning in undergraduate courses as a way of promoting skill development. Incorporation of these pedagogies into the analytical classroom and laboratory experience has its challenges. Analytical chemistry courses are often service courses and have high enrollments. Limitations in the availability of equipment may make it difficult to incorporate open-ended, problem-based experiments. The cost of reagents and supplies that may accompany a project-based lab experience may be a detriment. Additional time and training of instructional staff including teaching assistants can be a restriction. Finally, there is still some tension that time spent developing more global skills like problem-solving, communication, and teamwork detracts from time that can be spent teaching analysis techniques and laboratory skills that are deemed essential within analytical chemistry. This symposium will focus on aspects of this challenge.
Last update: Dec 28, 2015