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As Similar As Possible, As Different As Necessary  On-Site Laboratory Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-08, 17:06 authored by Ivan Mosiagin, Katharina Pallitsch, Immo Klose, Alexander Preinfalk, Nuno Maulide
Most of the available information on studying under the challenging conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes a variety of aspects on how to digitalize the whole teaching process. Thus, several useful and potentially game-changing strategies have been reported recently. In contrast to the digitalization of teaching, in this article, we focus on the reverse process: transitioning back to offline teaching, which is unavoidable especially for the acquisition of practical skills during chemistry studies. In this work, we describe our own experience acquired during the Organic Chemistry practical course at the University of Vienna, which was held in June 2020 and onwards. The article contains descriptions of precautions and measures that were taken, additional materials, and necessary changes made in order to safely continue on-site course teaching. We anticipate that this set of precautions can be used in an adapted fashion for any type of laboratory course. Further, we offer a critical analysis of students’ and instructors’ opinions concerning the changes and well-being during the course. Those opinions were collected via a detailed survey. From our experience, with careful planning and responsible behavior, a return to on-site education is possible and warmly welcomed by all involved participants. The detailed description of our course may also be useful for those who need to start a new organic laboratory course or want to improve an existing one.

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