As you set up your courses for the fall I am sure you are wondering what will happen with labs. We are currently solidifying our plans and will email all our students to their Carleton accounts as soon as we can. Here is a general overview on how labs will be held for Fall 2020.
We’ve set up some of our lab activities that most of you will be able to do from home, with fairly ordinary “kitchen equipment”, and things we hope you’ll be able to buy on-line or in “ordinary” stores. For example, a thermometer (such as a quick-read meat thermometer), a travel mug, and a cold-pack (that you can buy in many pharmacies) will allow you to study thermodynamics, and some baking soda and some pH test strips (OK, you may need to order those on-line! They’re $6.99 here in Canada) will let you check how effective an antacid tablet (think Tums, for example) will be at neutralizing stomach acid.
We know that not all of you will be able to get all the things we’re suggesting – don’t worry, we have back-up plans (some hot water and a coffee mug? You can still do thermodynamics!) and we’ll work with you on a one-to-one basis if we need to make substitutions or alter the format of a particular experiment. We’re working to keep the material costs down to what you would have spent on lab manuals and lab fees on-campus so that we don’t add extra expenses.
We’ll have information posted on-line, and you can do the labs at your own pace (within reason – there will still be due dates!), but we’ll also have optional lab sessions in real time so that you can choose to get together virtually with the lab demonstrators and other students to do the at-home labs “together”. We’ll also have real time tutorials so that you can talk to your professors and teaching assistants for help with the labs, assignments and quizzes, and chat groups so that you can talk to your fellow students.
Finally, when we do come to campus together, students who are going on to take upper year chemistry labs will have opportunities to come into the labs to practice the actual hands-on techniques. Just as we know you may not have covered quite all of the high-school material, your upper year lab supervisors will know that you didn’t have an in-the-lab first year experience. We’ve got your back on this one!