Creating consistency, orientation and structure in an Analytical chemistry module

By Esther Crooks, Lecturer in Forensic Science

Analytical chemistry is a level 5 Biomedical and Forensic Science module with a very large practical element – there is a 7 week practical circus and 2 weeks assessed lab work.

Lockdown hit this module extra hard, and so we (myself and the technicians) produced an online virtual lab on Blackboard. Now we are back face to face, I have kept this digital content alongside the real lab experience, and the students have really benefitted from this extra resource.  

The virtual lab

The ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ laboratory materials are in separate folders within Study Materials, which make it easier for students to find and access what they need.

A diagram showing the virtual lab structure.
A diagram showing the virtual lab structure.

Preparing videos 

Practical videos can take quite a lot of work and time to prepare and these were made over the summer break by the talented technicians here in Biomedical and Forensic Science. My advice would be to do this over the summer if you can and get as much help as possible from the technicians and the digital learning team who are all brilliant. There are also many other external resources available (such as the Learning Science materials I used in this module). 

A screenshot of a practical video.

Impact on students 

Many students have watched the videos and the simulations before the practical sessions and as a result have been much more confident in the laboratory. I have definitely needed to give less help with basic techniques this academic year. In addition, when students miss a session, they have been able to watch the video and complete the work using the model answers to catch up. 

Link to Panopto video walk through (3 minutes) 

Any questions please get in touch! 

Dr Esther Crooks 

Lecturer in Forensic Chemistry