Naturally occurring and man-made chemicals are used every day. Without caution, accidents can occur. For example, certain household chemicals, if mixed, can release toxic gases. Another serious accident happened in China last year when secondary school students were asked to use hydrofluoric acid. Unfortunately, some acids were in contact with the skin which resulted in amputation. These incidents highlight the importance of laboratory safety especially for Science students who need to work in laboratories for a long time.
With the availability of campus-wide wifi, powerful and comprehensive campus e-Learning platform, classroom response system, and the popularity of smartphone and tablet PCs among students, there are new opportunities to integrate new technology in designing course materials, so that students can learn in a more pleasant and interactive way.
In this project, we are going to use e-Learning software, namely, Articulate Storyline 2* to create an integrative platform that incorporates the following elements in laboratory safety.
- Lecture slides;
- Case studies;
- Animations and videos;
- Interactive quizzes; and
- Interesting games
The LabSafe Platform will be deployed to Year 2 Chemistry students as part of the assessment of the laboratory courses. Students will be required to go through all the teaching material online and complete online assessment. The LabSafe Platform is highly recommended to the postgraduate students who may not have prior training in laboratory safety.
*Information of the software can be obtained from: https://www.articulate.com/products/storyline-why.php
This project aims to develop an eLearning platform to teach laboratory safety to students. In the Chemistry Curriculum, students spend as much as 40% of their time in the laboratory. However, there is not a single course teaching laboratory safety which is crucial to ensure students’ safety in a laboratory.
The platform starts with a few pieces of newspaper articles involving serious or fatal chemical accidents in the past, which highlight the importance of laboratory safety. Throughout using the platform, students can learn other crucial safety concepts as mentioned below.
The platform targets Year 2 Chemistry undergraduates and can be extended to all Science students who are going to work in the laboratory.
Activities, process and outcomes
The platform is constructed by Articulate Storyline 2 which is a software for eLearning development. We have completed the following micro-modules:
- Chemical Accidents
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Different Chemicals Classes
- Chemical Labels
- Material Safety Datasheet
- Use of Fume Hood
- Fume Hood Scrubber
- Chemical Incompatibility
- Emergency Handling
The duration of each micro-module lasts for 10-20 minutes. The total duration of all micro-modules is around 90-120 minutes. These micro-modules are in the form of narrated lectures, videos and games.
Deliverables and evaluation
The platform is accessible from the following link.
We invited some senior students to try on the platform and filled in questionnaire. Focus group was arranged to further collect feedback from students on the platform. The results of the questionnaire and focus group have been attached as separate documents.
Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices
The project has been shared in the Teaching and Learning EXPOs organized by Centre for Learning Enhancement And Research and Information Technology Services Centre. In the EXPOs, the project drew some attentions to the visitors and some of them captured the QR code for future reference.