Laboratory work is at the core of any chemistry curriculum. But how do we teach laboratory skills? And how do we assess them?

In current practice, laboratory skills are currently taught on the fly–a postgraduate demonstrator might talk a student through how to pipette, or a teacher might demonstrate the titration technique.

This project aims to formalise the teaching of core chemistry laboratory skills by using a model of exemplar-demonstration-review. We plan that in a dedicated laboratory session students will:

  1. Watch exemplar videos on the techniques they will demonstrate in advance of the lab.
  2. Demonstrate the technique to a peer in the lab while the peer videos them on a mobile phone.
  3. Review their peer’s lab video using a detailed peer assessment sheet to make sure the technique is carried out appropriately.


This approach means that students will engage with the particular skill three times: preparing, demonstrating, and reviewing.

In order to document the student’s achievement in successfully completing this cycle, they will be awarded a digital badge which they can display on their social and professional websites, or link to from CVs, to showcase their ability to complete that skill.

To make all this happen, we have a work programme in place. This is who we are.

The entire platform we develop will be available to anyone who wants to use it. We already have lots of interest from school teachers and higher education lecturers – if you want to keep up to date or be involved, just let us know, or follow our blog!

Finally, thanks to the University of Edinburgh Principal Teaching Award Scheme for funding this project!


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