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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Matthews, Robin A., 1952-
Borda, Emily J.
Sofield, Ruth M.
The main objective of my study was to investigate and compare a traditional and alternative mode of general chemistry laboratory delivery using environmental, monetary, and curriculum comparisons. I conducted an environmental carbon footprint analysis of traditional laboratory experiments versus laboratory kit counterparts. A dollar cost assessment of the delivery modes was also calculated. Both the environmental and dollar costs were determined on a per student basis for each experiment evaluated. The results demonstrate that traditional experiments had higher carbon emissions than the kit experiments, and the kit experiments were more expensive per student than the traditional experiments when I accounted for both faculty and graduate teaching assistant instruction. My analyses were strongly influenced by the boundary conditions and assumptions used in the carbon emission and cost calculations, so the results are only valid for the specific conditions described within this thesis. A review of the literature and a content analysis of the traditional and alternative laboratory delivery methods revealed that there was no clear evidence that one form of delivery was better at delivering a laboratory experience than the other in terms of student performance on exams or course grades. Both methods were also similar in the cognitive skills required of students. While the kits did not appear to be more appropriate at delivering a laboratory experience than traditional laboratories, they may offer an alternative for students who are unable to complete chemistry requirements in a more traditional setting. The literature review also revealed that there is a critical need for peer-reviewed studies with good experimental design to compare the effectiveness of a laboratory kit experience to a traditional laboratory experience.
Western Washington University
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Steely, Sarah, "Traditional and alternative delivery methods of general chemistry labs: environmental, monetary, and pedagogical comparisons" (2012). WWU Graduate School Collection. 249.