All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Joe L March

Advisory Committee Members

Jacqueline Nikles

Tracy P Hamilton

Craig P McClure

Lee Meadows

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This dissertation presents three educationally based research projects and describes how they are related. The first portion of this manuscript describes the development of an alternate assessment for the general chemistry laboratory that harnessed both the availability of and interest in using smart phone technology in an educational setting. Student-created technique videos were implemented into the general chemistry laboratory curriculum in order to asynchronously monitor student use of standard laboratory equipment. A feasibility study was performed first, which showed that students were able to create videos that showed themselves performing standard laboratory techniques. Teaching assistants reported being able to easily access these videos and stated that the video quality was sufficient to allow asynchronous monitoring of technique. This study led to a full-scale research project, which showed overwhelmingly that there was a statistically significant difference between students who created a technique video that detailed the use of a Mohr pipet and those who did not create such a video in being able to report the correct volume contained in graduated glassware on both a written final exam and a laboratory practical. Those that created a video reported the correct number of significant figures and manipulated the pipet correctly at a much higher rate than those students who did not create a video. The second portion of the manuscript describes the development and implementation of a laboratory exercise that informed students on the best practices of data handling and notebook keeping. This activity also introduced students to some of the ethical considerations that scientists encounter when recording and working with data. The last piece presented in this manuscript details the development of online instructional materials for the general chemistry laboratory. These materials were designed to offer identical instruction to all students using known best practices regarding both general education and online content delivery. Student opinion of the beginning phases of this project, and how they will develop the next steps and future directions, are also presented.

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