Prelaboratory activities to enhance the laboratory learning experience


  • Glennys O’Brien
  • Melanie Cameron


First Year Chemistry at the University of Wollongong (UOW) includes compulsory practical classes run weekly for 10 weeks of each semester and completion of a prelaboratory activity is required to enter the laboratory for the weekly class. A Flash animation based prelaboratory program for First Year Chemistry is being developed and the Prelabs are administered via eLearning (VISTA). Prelaboratory activities vary, depending on the practical to follow. Typically the focus is a chemical principle or a particular calculation. Other exercises include visualising molecular scale events or virtual titrations with calculations. The Prelab usually includes some form of a flow diagram of the method. This paper describes the basis of the Prelab development to satisfy criteria regarding both enhanced learning in the laboratory environment and efficient tracking of four hundred plus students.