Open Lab/CHM 112

Bishop State Community College Spring 2016

BSCC offers CHM 111 and 112 in blended format

BSCC is the only school in the Mobile/Baldwin area to offer these two courses in this format

This past academic year was the first time the entire general chemistry sequence was offered in this area in a blended format. At BSCC, this means students come for lab but do lecture and homework on their own time. Something else happened during this year and I am still processing whether it is a great thing or only a good thing. Because of the addition of some local high school students to our classes in general chemistry, the time offered for lab was chopped into smaller high school schedule pieces. Instead of coming to lab for a 3 hour block of time as we normally do the science classes at BSCC (or even some lab on one day M/Tu and then finish lab on W/Th), the lab time was offered in 3 one-hour blocks of time. The high school students had to come every day due to it being "high school" where you go to the same classes every day at the same time. Also, because one hour is not a lot of time, I stuck an hour of office hours in front of the every day allotted time and over the year this became "open lab".


One more note: in addition to all I have mentioned above, I had two groups of students moving through CHM 112 during the spring semester 2016: one group moved through the course in a full term and another group of students moved through the course in a mini term format. The open lab was truly an experiment in students moving through courses in different time frames.

9-11 M-F

How the open lab evolved

This time started out as an hour of office hours before a daily meeting with a group of Bishop State students combined with a group of Murphy High school students who took the general chemistry sequence online for lecture and then lab during this time. Over the course of the year, and especially into the spring semester, more students joined the "open lab" from the CHM 111 sections (face to face and online).

CHM 112 online: experiments and lessons learned!

This past year I feel like I really moved the CHM 112 lab experience forward as far as experiments selected and, at the same time, adjusted to the open lab environment. I had to make adjustments in CHM 111 as well but since I have taught that course more often, it was timing that had to be adjusted to meet the different lab schedule. I want to highlight the sequence of CHM 112 experiments below.

Thermodynamics of a saturated solution

This was a new addition to the CHM 112 line up this semester. Previously there was not a thermodynamics lab in CHM 112 as this topic is covered in both CHM 111 and CHM 112. The lab I do in CHM 111 for this topic is quite lengthy so I did not add one in 112 right away. Then I found this very simple lab that generates beautiful data AND ties to the 112 thermodynamics material. Plus, even my most computer savvy students get a little more workout on using spreadsheets to do calculations.
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A gallery of simultaneous investigations-a day in the open lab

I can hear Dr. Hackworth now: why did you do this to yourself?

I have come to realize that sometimes when the fifth student arrives during this time and I have another task to do on top of the previous four that hour I do get a little flustered but I enjoy challenges and this open lab has been a boon for students who arrive at BSCC with different backgrounds as well as the fact that many juggle demanding course loads and work schedules. I have scheduled each class so that students have a clear idea of what is to be accomplished in a given week but given the nature of some of the scholarship student's schedules, in particular, not to mention the high school students, this concept has helped many of them accomplish their labs and get the help they need.