P467: Students’ perceptions about the use of the electronic notebooks in a general chemistry laboratory
Recently, electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) have been widely adopted by industry labs and graduate schools as a way to keep research records, but currently are not widespread in academic settings. In order to prepare the next generation of scientists, skills such as electronic record keeping, sharing results electronically, and submitting reports should be developed at an early stage in their career. For that reason, a pilot study was conducted at a private liberal arts college located in upstate New York to test the use of ELNs hosted by LabArchives, a web-based software. The goals of the study were to determine if ELNs were useful to general chemistry students and if they were the right fit for an undergraduate chemistry program academic needs. Pre- and post-surveys and semi-structured interviews were used to assess student perceptions about the usefulness of the electronic notebooks in the laboratory, software learning curve, record keeping, and sharing results efficiency. Instructors’ notes about whether ELNs offer general chemistry students any advantages and/or disadvantages over their current lab notebook practices were analyzed. We will present the results of this study, suggestions for implementation at a bigger scale, and its educational implications.