Submitted by Justin Pratt / Maine Maritime Academy on Mon, 04/18/2022 - 11:03

The Grand Experiment has been going on for the past couple of years where we are trying to understand how to support inorganic professors in adopting evidence-supported teaching approaches. This project built off of two key publications in the Journal of Chemical Education which characterized the content coverage for foundations-level and advanced-level inorganic chemistry lecture courses.

But we know that inorganic chemistry education involves more than just a lecture experience! The laboratory experiences tied to inorganic chemistry education in the United States have not been characterized – until now!

We are excited to announce a new publication that describes inorganic chemistry instructional laboratories within the United States. While we were unable to identify “types” of inorganic chemistry instructional laboratories that mirror the lecture course findings, we were able to provide a detailed description of the structure/format of these laboratory courses; this includes characterizing the types of synthetic, characterization, and purification methods employed, as well as the professional skills being targeted.

This publication represents the current state of the inorganic chemistry instructional laboratory curriculum within the United States. We anticipate inorganic chemistry educators and researchers to use these findings to reflect on their practices. This could include comparing your inorganic chemistry instructional laboratory course to the descriptions and seeing where your course is in agreement and what makes your course unique. This could also include designing/revising an inorganic chemistry curriculum and considering how to structure hands-on “wet lab” experiences -- a stand-alone laboratory courses, an integrated laboratory & lecture course, or an advanced synthesis course that addresses multidisciplinary problems.

This publication, coupled with the previous two publications focused on lecture courses, provide the first characterization of inorganic chemistry education within the United States. We hope these findings are useful for inorganic educators, provide context for varied inorganic chemistry courses, and seed future investigations that target more fine-grained topics to continue to improve inorganic chemistry education.