Methodology of Organic Chemistry Practicals at the Tertiary Level

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Fonche, P.T.
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University of Lagos
The quest for the improvement in students’ performance based upon their learning efforts in chemistry has continued unabated. This quest has led to the uncovering of new needs which can ameliorate both the teaching and learning transactions. Derived from theoretical and empirical work, the new Needs, include the enjoyment of practicals, provision in lecture-student interaction, and student involvement in decision taking. The present study is aimed at designing, implementing and evaluating a new laboratory model in organic chemistry at the tertiary level. For this purpose a preliminary survey of organic chemistry practicals at the tertiary level was carried out in 1979 using a questionnaire in five African University to determine the existing teaching modes. Lecturers and students were chosen as subjects for the survey. An evaluation of the questionnaires indicated that the presentation of organic chemistry practicals in the institutions involved was done in a highly structured and elaborate traditional manner. The content and instructions for procedures are precisely written out for the students to follow. In this manner, the need for students to think seemed to be minimal because much of the experimental work was set out in very precise instructions. Students appear not to enjoy this kind of laboratory approach. Besides, student involvement in decision making and lecturer-student interaction tended to be low. There has also been inadequate emphasis placed on learning or reinforcement of principle during organic chemistry practicals .However, this traditional laboratory approach encourages the development of manipulative skills in students. Hence, the semi-structured approach whereby students work on set experiments but for limited guidelines was proposed as an alternative to the structured practicals. The proposal was followed by the design, trial implementation and assessment. This revealed the feasibility of a semi-structured practical in organic chemistry. The trial implementation and assessment yielded positive indications and suitability. The assessment of this design showed its relative merits over the traditional approach.
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Methodology of Organic Chemistry , Chemistry Practicals
Fonche, P.T. (1983). Methodology of Organic Chemistry Practicals at the Tertiary Level. Dissertation Submitted in Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education of the University of Lagos, Nigeria.