Flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode for undergraduate chemistry courses in the pandemic of COVID-19

Chui-Man Lo (Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Jie Han (Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Emily S.W. Wong (Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)
Chin-Cheung Tang (Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 25 March 2021

Issue publication date: 22 September 2021

1809

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report a case study in flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode in an undergraduate chemistry course. Traditional chemistry courses usually include lectures, tutorials and laboratory sections. For a course “Advances in Organic Synthesis” at undergraduate level, it consists of advanced information in organic chemistry such as reaction mechanisms, asymmetric catalysis, retrosynthesis and applications in synthesis of natural products. This course is a difficult subject and requires deep understanding of contents. After learning this course, students should have comprehensive knowledge in advanced strategies of organic synthesis and have an ability to apply them to real cases. This “flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode” was implemented by the authors to enhance student engagement and self-motivation in their studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors hoped to enhance students’ engagement in “flexible learning” – a mixed concept with “blended learning” and “flipped classroom” – and called this approach as “multicomponent blended learning mode.” Blended learning combines face-to-face and e-learning components with interactive Web-based components and technical experimental videos were developed. The knowledge integrated in different components provides a natural environment to link the different synthetic methods together, which help students to get a better understanding of the complicated knowledge and strengthen their skills. For flipped classroom, students participated in the case studies of the organic synthesis and shared their findings to other classmates in oral presentations.

Findings

In this study, both course evaluation score and students’ academic performance in the “multicomponent blended learning mode” were increased significantly when comparing with traditional teaching methods in 2011. It was found that students’ engagement and their self-motivation in learning were enhanced.

Originality/value

The positive feedback from the students and the enhancement of their academic performance supported the value in this research. Besides, most universities in Hong Kong have suspended all face-to-face classes and conducted all teaching in online mode during COVID-19 outbreak. As the multicomponent blended learning mode of this course has already been conducted for eight cohorts, the authors are confident that this feature can minimize the sudden change in the learning habits for the students. As social factors and individual variations in students’ learning and study mode may affect the learning outcomes, these interactive multicomponent e-learning components in this special period make students excited when they can study and digest the knowledge according to their own pace.

Keywords

Citation

Lo, C.-M., Han, J., Wong, E.S.W. and Tang, C.-C. (2021), "Flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode for undergraduate chemistry courses in the pandemic of COVID-19", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 175-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-05-2020-0061

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited


Introduction

Most undergraduate science courses usually include lectures and tutorials in the traditional teaching mode. For some courses, students are required to attend laboratory sections to enhance their understanding and practical skills. In conventional organic chemistry courses, lectures, tutorial and laboratory work are the common components to facilitate students’ learning. The course syllabus usually consists of reaction mechanisms, synthesis strategies and applications. According to our experience, students may have difficulties in understanding some contents, especially about some advanced synthesis topics, through the traditional teaching mode alone.

In the past ten years, many researchers worked on the promotion of the effectiveness of blended learning in different science subjects. Blended learning is the combination of traditional face-to-face teaching and Web-based learning (Horton, 2002; Osguthorpe and Graham, 2003). Different elements of Web-based learning such as digital textbooks, video, audio, interactive Web exercises, synchronous and asynchronous online teaching, may be applied (AL-Hunaiyyan and Al-Sharhan, 2009; Precel, 2009). Pereira (2007) and Green (2018) studied on the use of new information technology in teaching human anatomy for undergraduate students. Both studies reported that blending learning approach is more effective than traditional teaching in human anatomy. Harahap (2019) compared the effects of blended and traditional learning strategies in plant tissue culture course. Blended learning approach was found to have significant and positive impact on students’ learning achievement and science process skills when compared with those in traditional approach. Similar results were found in science laboratory course (Hinampas, 2018). Yapici and Akbayin (2012) reported the benefit of the blended learning model applied in study of biology at high school. The results showed that students’ achievement and attitudes toward the internet can be enhanced through the blended learning. Lim and Morris (2009) studied the factors that influent the learning outcomes and found that the applicability of learning content was a critical factor in instructional design, which can maintain the students’ interest in learning during the blended learning mode. Poon (2013) reported a case study on the combination of face-to-face and online teaching and found that it can influent students’ perceptions of the learning environment and their academic achievement.

Recently, some researchers have promoted the active learning with the concept of flipped classroom. Flipped classroom was first introduced by Bergmann and Sams (2012a, 2012b). In flipped classroom strategy, most course content is delivered in online mode, whereas the face-to-face class sections mainly focus on student-oriented interactive activities (Moraros, 2015; Touro’n and Santiago, 2015; Gonzalez-Gomez, 2016; Jeong, 2016). Atkinson (2020) reported that active learning pedagogical approaches and methodologies can increase the success rate of undergraduates in study of chemistry. The flipped classroom approach can promote peer interaction and encourage student engagement and collaboration skills (Bergmann and Sams, 2012a, 2012b). Students can construct knowledges and increase their conceptual understanding by themselves during activities (Freeman, 2014). Hence, more comprehensive critical thinking and problem-solving skills can be achieved (Fautch, 2015). As the course content was acquired before attending classes, students can focus on their cognitive processes in direct application of the knowledge learnt outside classroom (Jensen, 2015). This student-oriented approach can promote student interaction and make them more willing to ask questions during class (McCallum, 2015). McCollum et al.(2017) found that the flipped classroom can greatly impact the success with students’ peer relationships.

Multimedia can support human cognition. Kozma and Russell (2005) mentioned that learning with both pictures and words can give deeper learning than words alone. The use of diagrams, pictures and animations can make important contributions to the learning of the students. Many chemistry courses had already used the use of multimedia in the past ten years, and most of them were related to animations and simulations in bonding models. Falvo (2008) reported that the animated visualizations in bonding structures can help teachers to explain important concepts in molecular biology and chemistry. There were also some reports of study in the use of video demonstrations as an advantage in teaching chemistry courses. Velázquez-Marcano (2004) mentioned the use of videos and animations can correlate the macroscopic, submicroscopic and symbolic representation. Students’ thinking process and conceptual understanding can be improved.

The following reviews in the use of video demonstration in teaching were reported in 2015–2020. Gallardo-Williams (2016) studied the effectiveness of student-generated videos as teaching tool for the organic chemistry laboratory technique. They observed that students can perform the laboratory experiments more independently. Cresswell (2019) proposed the use of multi-perspective filming of experimental activities with mixed digital approaches to improve students’ foundational skill and proficiency in laboratory techniques. Nadelson (2015) reported the development of instructional videos in laboratory techniques and concepts that can improve students’ laboratory knowledge and performance. Jolley (2016) described the visual and critical thinking approaches in pre-lab training of undergraduate analytical chemistry classes that can enable students to engage in thinking prior to action in laboratory. Chaytor (2017) revealed the online pre-lab videos and quizzes for organic chemistry laboratory course. Watching video can help students to have better preparation for the experiments and minimize students’ anxiety. Rennie (2019) used the use of short pre-lab video resources in organic chemistry for students for first-year health science students in Africa. Pölloth (2020) developed a modular online video library for the chemistry laboratory techniques.

The videos created in our course were the unique one, and the use of video demonstration in our course had been already started in 2012. It was not merely a combination of some key elements as mentioned above. Instead, as an advanced course, the videos include the step-by-step explanation and demonstration of experiments and laboratory techniques. Some common mistake operations were also shown in the video to let students have clear idea about correct one. In addition, our videos included scripts in English to support students’ reading and learning.

In our study, a flexible learning mode for the students in learning chemistry was proposed. Students’ engagement would be enhanced in a mixed concept with blended learning and flipped classroom. Students can learn at anytime and anywhere with flexibility. As these concepts were mixed together, the term multicomponent blended learning mode was used to describe our new approach. This multicomponent blended learning mode has been explored in an undergraduate chemistry course, Advances in Organic Synthesis, in The Open University of Hong Kong during 2012 to now. It integrates the features of online e-learning and face-to-face teaching modes, together with the demonstration of laboratory techniques and experiments in multimedia videos. More interactive sections are explored, such as online quizzes, online learning for teacher–students and student–students discussions, which can further strengthen the practices in interactive learning. The framework of multicomponent blended learning in chemistry was illustrated in Figure 1. This mode had been already presented for eight cohorts since 2012. Students’ ability and engagement to learning chemistry and self-motivation to perform laboratory experiments would be enhanced in this teaching mode.

Recently, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, universities in Hong Kong have cancelled all face-to-face classes and conducted all teaching in online mode. As the multicomponent blended learning mode of this course has already been conducted for eight cohorts, this feature can minimize the sudden change in the learning habit for the students. In this year, the face-to-face lectures were replaced by real-time online Zoom classes. Social factors and individual variations in students’ learning and study mode may affect the learning outcomes. The interactive multicomponent e-learning components during the special period make students excited when they can study and digest the knowledge according to their own pace.

Chemistry in multicomponent blended learning mode

For the undergraduate chemistry course Advances in Organic Synthesis, it consists of advanced information in organic chemistry such as reaction mechanisms, organic synthesis and applications to natural product synthesis. The aim of this course is to help students to develop advanced knowledge of synthetic methods and to learn the application of these strategies to real cases. This advanced course expands on introductory chemical topics including electrophilic addition, nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions. To introduce students to modern synthetic strategies, this course will cover some selected journal articles and review papers that have received a great deal of attention in the current scientific world. Finally, students will be able to propose reasonable synthetic schemes and mechanisms of various organic reactions, and they will be inspired to appreciate the art of advanced organic chemistry.

This course covers four main areas in advanced organic chemistry plus one case study file (units 1–5), as shown in the table below (Table 1). Students are encouraged to think critically about the synthetic routes to some selected natural products as reported in journal articles and review papers and motivate students to propose reasonable synthetic schemes and mechanisms for various organic reactions. Six learning outcomes were set for this course. When the students completed the course, these outcomes can be achieved (Figure 2).

This course is delivered in multicomponent blended learning approach, with combination of traditional distance learning (online e-learning) and face-to-face teaching, together with the demonstration of laboratory techniques and experiments in multimedia videos. The online learning environment (OLE) is an online platform provided by The Open University in Hong Kong. Making use of this platform, online materials and resources can be delivered to students. In this blended learning mode, student engagement and self-motivation in study are expected to be enhanced as shown in the following pathway (Figure 3). According to our experience, multisensory learning, such as multimedia video, is a useful tool to promote active learning. Watching experimental demonstration videos is a convenient and effective way to provide visual examples to help students to connect knowledge fragments together. Students can also review the contents whenever they like at anytime and anywhere with high flexibility. In addition, the videos can stimulate students’ multi-sensory learning and provide visual examples to reinforce the effectiveness of learning. Online discussions and quizzes make the individual learning become more convenient and at the same time, collaborative learning between teacher–students or student–students groups strengthen the pace of flexibility and effectiveness. In addition, the case studies among the students and their sharing to their classmates in oral presentations realized the part of flipped classroom.

Organic synthesis in chemistry is a kind of art. Students can learn through creation with their curiosity. Such kind of learning process is unique for students to form a collaborative group among peers. Multiple learning pathways were explored in the course. Student can participate in sharing activities with other learners. In the case studies in organic synthesis, students are required to work in groups to explore the synthetic pathways of chemical reactions and report their findings to the whole class by presentations. Students in different groups can learn from each other. This applied the concept of flipped classroom. The hierarchy of “teaching and learning” is changed. Students can learn at their own pace and set the directions for themselves. Their self-motivation in learning can be greatly enhanced.

Interactions among the students and teacher are further strengthened by communication through OLE. The interface of OLE is shown below (Figure 4). Students can also communicate with classmates and teacher using the discussion board in OLE platform. It can enhance students’ communication and allow them to exchange their point of view for some topics in discussion. In the continuous assessment of the students, they are required to complete the online quizzes with multiple choice questions on OLE with limited time on a specified date. The scores will be automatically counted and recorded.

For this multicomponent blended learning course, the ratio of teaching hours in face-to-face teaching and online learning is about 1:1. The distribution of teaching hours of each unit conducted via face-to-face vs online learning mode and comparison of total teaching hours between these two modes were shown in Figure 5. Students are needed to attend the face-to-face lessons (including lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes) and also required to perform the tasks (video watching and online quizzes) on OLE to complete the online learning part. To fulfill the learning outcomes, students should study the course materials, watch the videos for laboratory experiments and attempt the online quizzes within the allocated date and time.

Online e-learning component

In online e-learning part, it consists of several parts of e-components including multimedia videos with demonstration of laboratory techniques and experiments and interactive Web-based components (online quizzes, interactive discussion board and electronic copy of study units). By using the platform on OLE, the latest course materials and reference articles would be uploaded for students’ self-learning. Students can communicate with their classmates and teacher through discussion board. Students can download their own copies of lecture notes and tutorial exercises before attend the classes. Apart from the normal components, special features such as activities and self-tests, online quizzes and multimedia videos are shown in the following sections.

Activities and self-tests

Students are suggested to read the study units before attending lectures. The study units covered the course contents and available in both Web format and PDF format for the students. They may try to perform activities and self-tests on OLE by directly input their answers in the space provided for each question. The answer will be released after they completed the activities and self-tests. This feature can enhance the self-motivation of students.

Online quizzes

This part is counted as one of continuous assessment components. The specified dates were set by course instructors. As multiple-choice questions were picked up randomly in the database, different students may have different sets of online quiz paper. The score of the quizzes will be calculated automatically just after student’s submission. The correct answers for each question are popped up immediately after the online quiz. Student can review the answers and further strengthen knowledge they learnt. For the teacher, an interface showing the correct rate of each question can be obtained instantly, which help the teacher to provide prompt support and review classes to students. It can strengthen the interactions between teacher and students.

Multimedia video

A multisensory learning component and experimental videos were provided to students. The clear guideline with a certain schedule was assigned in specified teaching weeks. Students were advised to watch the multimedia videos and answer some preview questions before joining the laboratory sections. The videos include laboratory demonstrations of different experimental techniques, and the details were shown in Table 2. The videos demonstrate a series of experiments including chemical reaction equations, different laboratory techniques and step-by-step descriptions. The screen captures of the videos are shown in Plate 1. It is much more comprehensive when comparing with the experimental procedures shown in lab manual. In addition, scripts were available to support students to study. As students are required to perform these experiments during laboratory classes by themselves, these videos can ensure the students to have clear understanding and guide them to conduct the experiments virtually when they are at home before entering to real laboratory sections. Such a kind of visual can help to connect knowledge together to reinforce the effective learning comparing with just learning from textbooks.

Face-to-face teaching component

The part of face-to-face teaching mode in this course includes lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. Lecture notes in PowerPoint format were used for classroom teaching, which is the same as normal practices. Explanation of main concepts in organic chemistry will be carried out in the lectures. As we hoped to enhance student engagement and self-motivation, students are required to do the exercises in the tutorials that can apply the concepts learned during lectures. Moreover, stereochemistry in chemical structures was one of the important parts in this course. It would be better to illustrate with building ball-and-stick models. These models were specified for chemistry classes (Plate 2). Students can more easily understand the complicated chemical structures by building up three-dimensional models instead of studying the complex molecules as a flat one, which is shown in the learning materials. Especially their curiosity and teamwork spirit can be built up during modeling process with peers. In addition, students can discuss the specified topics in case studies. The group presentations are also included in the continuous assessment.

Flexible learning with experiments outside laboratory

As to enhance the flexibility, some of the chemistry experiments can be performed outside laboratory, such as in tutorial classrooms, and even students can do these experiments at their home, without limitation to be done in laboratory. Student engagement and their self-motivation in learning chemistry courses would be enhanced. Some chemistry experiments do not involve toxic chemicals, and they can demonstrate good examples between chemistry and our daily life. Experiments such as making soap, shampoo and lotion also involved principles and concepts in chemistry. Students can learn to prepare these products for daily use. For the safety issue, teachers would provide enough guidance during class and do some demonstrations of the experiments. This can encourage students to perform simple experiments by themselves at home. Students can work in groups to enhance their communication and cooperation. Teachers would prepare worksheets for students to report their findings in experiments, and it can enhance students’ interest in doing experiments. Students can write down their experience and capture some photos during their experiments. Later, they can share their findings and exchange their opinions with classmates in tutorial classes. Students can learn over trials and improve from failure. As a result, this flexible learning mode can also enhance student engagement and self-motivation in learning.

Students’ participation in case study

A group of students had chosen the topic of study in cosmetic chemistry in their case study. Besides the literature searching for the background information, they would try to make the lipsticks by themselves outside laboratory. All the required materials were brought to a classroom to perform the experiment. They enjoyed themselves during the process (Plate 3). After that, they delivered oral presentation to the whole class of students and shared their findings to their classmates. Student engagement and self-motivation can be achieved in this flexible learning.

Student evaluation survey results

The student evaluations of multicomponent blended learning were conducted in the years 2017–2019 (Figure 6). The feedback from students was quite favorable. Most students agreed that the course was well-organized, and the well-designed online learning platform was useful for interactive learning. They enjoyed studies, as the e-components were quite convenient and students can learn at their own pace. In addition, the assignments and projects provided linkage to connect the different key points together, which were quite useful for consolidation of knowledge. The results were compared with those in 2011 (traditional teaching mode). Some of the questions were not available at that time (e.g. those related to e-components). Most students also agreed that the course was well-organized in the traditional teaching mode in 2011. But some students disagreed about the assignments and projects at that time. Less teaching support was obtained by the students in 2011 when compare with now. We believed that the use of multicomponent blended learning mode can improve students’ learning.

Student performance

The student performance was illustrated by their overall continuous assessment score (OCAS) and overall examination score (OES). The mean and standard derivation (SD) of OCAS and OES in 2011 (traditional teaching mode) and 2019 (blended learning mode) were compared (Table 3). The score distributions in both years were also investigated (Figure 7). In general, student performances in both teaching mode in continuous assessment were good. In the examination result, great improvement in blended learning mode was observed. Students can pre-study the contents on e-platform before attending the classes and have more clear understanding of the concepts in chemistry. Moreover, the multimedia support with showing detailed experimental steps and laboratory techniques are one of the students’ favorite components. Step-by-step information makes them follow the procedures more easily. In addition, convenient online exercises and lab quizzes help students to check their understanding at anytime and anywhere. This kind of flexible learning makes the study more interesting.

Challenges with COVID-19 and future work

During the pandemic of COVID-19, many institutions are facing a new challenge in their teaching modes. So far, the outbreak of COVID-19 is still unable to be effectively controlled; the pandemic may last for a longer period. This problem is not limited to Hong Kong, but it has also become a global challenge. As the institutions should take the safety of students as the first priority, face-to-face teaching has been suspended from universities to primary and secondary schools for many months in Hong Kong. If the face-to-face teaching cannot be resumed, some students and their parents may worry about the learning progress and the potential mental problems caused by less support from teachers and peers.

This flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode can solve the above problems and fit the needs in this pandemic. Without a doubt, it was the best of practice during the pandemic of COVID-19. In our experience, real-time online classes using “Zoom” were incorporated to replace the part of face-to-face lectures in our blended learning mode. The same course contents can be delivered to students. For the experimental sessions, students can watch the videos of laboratory techniques and demonstrations of experiments. Moreover, students can check their learning progress by doing the activities, self-tests and online quizzes in the online platform. After completing these exercises, they can check the correct answers, review the questions and communicate with teachers and classmates through the online platform. These kinds of multidirection interactions encourage students to learn the knowledge proactively. In addition, teachers would also upload tutorial exercises for their further practices and check their progress. Once the students have enquiries, a consultation section for individual student or a group of students, through online platform or real-time “Zoom” for will be applied. As we know that some students may face emotional problems and feel depressed during the pandemic of COVID-19 when they work alone. Guidance and support from teachers and peers may help a lot to comfort the students using the real-time communication tools. Hence, this flexible learning is a very useful and powerful mode during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only limited to this organic chemistry course, the flexible learning mode can be applied to other subjects as well. The other academic units can make good use of this approach with some tailor-made components to develop the suitable teaching materials during the pandemic. Our future work will focus on increasing more online components to further strength the interactions and practical learning, such as virtual reality (VR) experiments and exercises. It would be useful for to use a simulation to do a real laboratory experiment, especially when students are not able to attend face-to-face laboratory sessions during suspension of classes. This flexible learning with multicomponent blended learning mode can become a popular teaching mode in the future.

Conclusion

The study focused on developing the flexible learning mode through multicomponent, with the mixed concept in blended learning and flipped classroom, for our undergraduate chemistry course Advances in Organic Synthesis. It combines the face-to-face teaching mode with online learning. With the incorporation of unique multimedia videos and other advance features on OLE, students can have active interactions and show their great interesting in learning. This teaching and learning mode is very useful during the period of class suspension in the pandemic of COVID-19, with minimizing the effect on the study progress of the students. This teaching mode promotes self-motivation and engagement in learning, and as a result, it strengthened the learning flexibility and effectiveness. This course had been smoothly presented in eight cohorts in this multicomponent blended learning mode, and our future work will focus on modify the teaching through more online components, such as Zoom and VR, during the period of COVID-19 pandemic. This flexible learning mode is not limited only to this organic chemistry course; this concept can also be applied to other courses in different subjects. The teaching quality can be improved with effective interactions between teachers and students.

Figures

Framework of multicomponent blended learning with combination of multicomponent e-learning and face-to-face teaching mode in this undergraduate chemistry course

Figure 1.

Framework of multicomponent blended learning with combination of multicomponent e-learning and face-to-face teaching mode in this undergraduate chemistry course

Learning outcomes of the course Advanced in Organic Synthesis

Figure 2.

Learning outcomes of the course Advanced in Organic Synthesis

Pathway to enhance student engagement and self-motivation in the multicomponent blended learning mode

Figure 3.

Pathway to enhance student engagement and self-motivation in the multicomponent blended learning mode

Interface of OLE

Figure 4.

Interface of OLE

Distribution of teaching hours of each unit conducted via face-to-face vs online learning mode (left) and comparison of total teaching hours between face-to-face vs online learning mode (right)

Figure 5.

Distribution of teaching hours of each unit conducted via face-to-face vs online learning mode (left) and comparison of total teaching hours between face-to-face vs online learning mode (right)

Screen captures of the videos of laboratory demonstration

Plate 1.

Screen captures of the videos of laboratory demonstration

Structure model based on ball-and-stick for chemistry study

Plate 2.

Structure model based on ball-and-stick for chemistry study

Students’ participation in experiment of making lipsticks outside laboratory, e.g. at home (left) and in classroom (right)

Plate 3.

Students’ participation in experiment of making lipsticks outside laboratory, e.g. at home (left) and in classroom (right)

Student evaluation survey results in year 2017–2019, with comparison with those in 2011

Figure 6.

Student evaluation survey results in year 2017–2019, with comparison with those in 2011

OCAS (left) and OES (right) of students in 2011 (traditional teaching mode) and 2019 (blended learning mode)

Figure 7.

OCAS (left) and OES (right) of students in 2011 (traditional teaching mode) and 2019 (blended learning mode)

Contents of study units 1–5 in the course Advances in Organic Synthesis

Unit Title Contents
1 Reactivities and mechanisms Chemical kinetics, reaction mechanisms and resonance stabilizations
2 Carbon–carbon bond formation C-C, C=C bond formations, organometallic coupling and pericyclic reactions
3 Reactive species and rearrangement Migrations and rearrangements of carbocations, carbanions and free radicals
4 Asymmetric organocatalysis Asymmetric reactions with high enantioselectivities or diastereoselectivities using metal-free organocatalysts
5 Case study A case study covering total synthesis from planning to application of prostaglandins and Taxol and other examples

List of video on laboratory demonstration (laboratory techniques and experiments)

Week Video on laboratory demonstration
1 Heating under reflux, gravity filtration, vacuum/suction filtration
2 Extraction, use of rotary evaporator
3 Experiment 1: Mannich reaction
5 Thin layer chromatography, visualization methods of TLC, column chromatography
6 Experiment 2: reduction of ketone by sodium borohydride
8 Experiment 3: a microscale Heck reaction in water – synthesis of (E)-4-acetlycinnamic acid
10 Technique of handling air-sensitive chemicals, use of vacuum line, Further drying of reaction products

Mean and standard derivation (SD) of OCAS (left) and OES (right) in 2011 and 2019, respectively

OCAS 2011 2019
Mean 77.42 79.13
S.D. 9.52 9.41
OES 2011 2019
Mean 51.03 75.09
S.D. 13.7 5.78

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Further reading

Jordan, J.T., Box, M.C., Eguren, K.E., Parker, T.A., Saraldi-Gallardo, V.M., Wolfe, M.I. and Gallardo-Williams, M.T. (2016), “Effectiveness of student-generated video as a teaching tool for an instrumental technique in the organic chemistry laboratory”, Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 93 No. 1, pp. 141-145.

Lo, C.M. and Tang, K.Y. (2018), “Blended learning with multimedia e-learning in organic chemistry course”, In 2018 International Symposium on Educational Technology (ISET), IEEE, pp. 23-25.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express our gratitude to Dr Chin-Wing Chan, Dr Eva Tsang and Ms Misty Choi for their suggestions and technical supports to develop the blended learning mode for the OUHK undergraduate course Advances in Organic Synthesis. Special thanks was given to Ms Kyna Tang for the demonstration videos of laboratory techniques and experiments.

Corresponding author

Chui-Man Lo can be contacted at: cmlo@ouhk.edu.hk

About the authors

Dr Chui-Man Lo received her Bachelor of Science (1st Hons) in Chemistry and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Applied Science & Environmental Studies Team in Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong. Her teaching and research mainly focus on organic chemistry.

Dr Jie Han received her Bachelor and Master of Science from Xiamen University and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Department of Science, School of Science and Technology. She teaches various undergraduate and master courses in chemistry and environmental sciences for more than 10 years.

Dr Emily S.W. Wong received her Bachelor of Chinese Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology and Pharmacy from The University of Hong Kong. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong. Her teaching and research mainly focus on life science and food and drug analysis.

Dr Chin-Cheung Tang received his Bachelor of Science in ecology and biodiversity and Doctor of Philosophy in plant systematics and phylognetics from the University of Hong Kong. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research focuses on the changes of microbe communities in the biochar-mixed soil.

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