P769: Accessing instruments off-site: Evaluation of a remote versus in-lab protein identification MALDI experiment in an undergraduate analytical chemistry laboratory course
In the current age of technology, physical distance is no longer an impediment to connecting with people, places, or equipment. Modern analytical instrumentation is operated through a computer that can be accessed online anywhere, allowing for a remote lab experience. Remote laboratories are beneficial where there are space, resource, or location constraints; however, the question remains whether a remote experience is comparable to an in-lab experience. In an effort to evaluate the use of a remote lab in the undergraduate analytical chemistry course at the University of Notre Dame, students participating in a MALDI mass spectrometry experiment were divided into a “control” group of in-lab students and a “treatment” group of remote students. The remote students simultaneously connected with the instructor and in-lab students through a web-based remote application that allowed for audio, video, and desktop control of the MALDI experiment operating computer. Each student received a pre-lab lecture, acquired a MALDI mass spectrum of his/her sample, analyzed the data, and searched the data to identify an unknown protein. The participating students took a post-lab quiz that assessed their knowledge of the learning goals of the lab. Analysis of the quiz grades indicated no statistical difference between the performance of the remote students and the in-lab students. The implementation, evaluation, and alternative potential uses of the remote lab in analytical chemistry will be discussed.