Modifying and Creating Virtual Lab Activities:

Why create your own activities?

The virtual lab can be easily configured to meet your instructional goals. For instance, we can help you create an online pre-lab activity designed specifically for your physical lab program. Because students can rapidly carry out experiments and see inside chemical solutions, the virtual lab can also be used to help students get a richer conceptual understanding of chemistry. For example, our "Determine the Stoichiometric Coefficient" and "Stoichiometry and Solution Preparation" problems are examples of activities where students solve chemical puzzles. Design of good chemical puzzles that allow students to be creative can help them to think about chemistry in new ways.

Getting Started

Designing a virtual lab is similar to designing a physical lab. Chemical solutions are made available in the stockroom, you can use existing chemicals and also make up your own chemicals such as proteins and drugs and acids with custom pKa’s. Customization of the user interface allows you to vary the nature of the activity. Consider identification of an unknown acid, the solution viewer would be turned off so that students cannot see the concentration of the unknown acid. If the pH meter is turned off, students must use indicators. If precise transfer mode is turned off, students must use glassware that will allow them to achieve the desired precision. If the volume readout is turned off, students must read the meniscus from the glassware. With all of these tools turned off, the activity resembles what would occur in a physical lab.

Making these tools available, will allow students to carry out experiments much more quickly and so can shift focus to concepts that benefit from comparing results of a large set of experiments.

Programming the activity

Our Virtual Lab activity authoring tool is currently being "revamped". Until it’s complete, we are happy to talk with you about any ideas and to help you decide how the lab should be configured to meet your goals. Our team of instructional designers and programmers can easily create virtual lab exercises for use in your class. Please feel free to to begin creating activities for your classroom.

Creating a particulate level simulation

For our particulate level simulations, we are creating a customizable simulation engine. The goal is to provide instructors with the tools that the need to develop their own molecular level visualizations. If you are interested in being an early user of this technology, please .