P387: Shaking things up: Lessons from a lower division lab overhaul
Pedagogical concerns, insufficient laboratory space, and budget cuts have prompted a complete overhaul of lower division chemistry laboratory courses for STEM major students outside the chemistry major at the University of California, Irvine. Delaying the first quarter of general chemistry lab until the last quarter of the general chemistry lecture sequence allowed for the fundamental lab techniques to be taught with more engaging experiments about thermodynamics, kinetics, and electrochemistry. A new general chemistry lab class centered on intermolecular forces and taken before, or concurrently with, organic chemistry lecture served as a transitional experience linking general and organic chemistry lab classes. Delaying organic lab classes by one quarter allowed experiments to be recast to incorporate techniques in context of reactions rather than introducing techniques as stand-alone experiments. A new organic lab class for students pursuing majors or pre-professional programs in pharmaceutical sciences was developed to include topics relevant to these students and to incorporate an open-ended project. The structure, advantages, and disadvantages of the previous and current laboratory structures will be discussed.