University-level courses in science that contain a substantial practicum or laboratory component have always been a problem to deliver through distance education. Because of the potential hazards inherent in the equipment and chemicals commonly used, chemistry is among the more challenging disciplines to teach at a distance. Athabasca University (AU) - Canada's Open University - has been successfully running chemistry courses for over two decades. The development and delivery of AU chemistry courses are described and the approaches that have been developed to meet the challenges of a North American distance-education university, including the use of new technologies, are discussed. The problems associated with providing distance students with appropriate laboratory experience are also examined. The first-year general chemistry courses are compared to an equivalent course at a neighbouring traditional university and an analysis of student performance in AU chemistry courses is presented.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Phytoremediation
|Published - 2000