Laboratory Instructor, Chemistry

My OER projectLeanne Racicot

Link to a virtual organic chemistry laboratory home page coming soon!

What prompted you to become involved in OER?

I struggled to find good quality, free, interactive resources for my students when pivoting online for Fall 2020. I also enjoy developing my own course content and saw an opportunity to contribute a missing resource that would be useful not only to myself but other instructors in my situation. I also have personal motivations to build free resources since I had limited financial resources in my undergraduate studies days and would like to expand resources for Chemistry in French as well, which is my native language.

What excites you most about your OER project?

I am developing virtual organic chemistry laboratory modules. At the moment we have a unit for liquid-liquid extraction built with support from eCampus Ontario. My goal was to retain elements of choice in experiment design for students and provide an activity that is interactive. My virtual labs combine videos of portions of the experiment filmed in the laboratory with illustrations of the processes at the molecular scale level. This makes the virtual labs also suitable as complement to in-person experiments as it makes molecules invisible to the naked eye visible!

A lot of instructors are hesitant about OER. Do you share those hesitations? How do you address them?

I am personally more motivated to develop rather than adopt existing OER resources. The main reason being a certain lack of availability for practical organic chemistry, which was a driver for me to begin my virtual lab project. The main barrier for development is limited time. As an instructor, I teach three terms a year and I am interested in continual development for my courses as well. I hope this first project shows my department and the community at large what can be done in this space and I am seeking additional funding to continue the project.

Can other instructors interested in OER reach out to you?

Yes, at

University of Waterloo

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