Campus News

The Virtual Lab

January 19, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A camera is pointed at a lab experiment.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Virtual learning has blended seamlessly into the physical classroom this academic year, as professors and instructors have found interesting ways to combine the two platforms. For Oberlin College students enrolled in the Chemistry Principles course this spring, recorded experiments will help them perform lab analysis from their residence halls.

“As you know, the first week [of the spring semester will be] fully online and the lab curriculum had to be adjusted accordingly,” explains Cristinel Mîinea, instructor and lab manager in the Department of Chemistry. “Since students are unable to carry out the experiments in the lab, the videos should provide them with visual and practical information needed for finalizing the lab reports.” 

Beaker with test tubes over flame
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

The recorded experiments Mîinea conducted are designed to highlight how chemical equilibrium can be impacted by a variety of factors. “The experimental data are going to provide a better insight in understanding the concept of equilibrium and several practical examples of how the concept applies," says Mîinea. “There are four sets of reactions that are studied in which the reaction response to factors expected to shift the chemical equilibrium is observed.”

Students will work together in teams to analyze the videos of the experiments and prepare their lab reports, says Mîinea. Instructors and teaching assistants will provide the necessary assistance.


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