(271f) Meeting Unit Operations Laboratory Learning Outcomes in the Era of Covid-19

Authors: 
Wilson, S. A. - Presenter, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Carter, T., Northeastern University
Brennan, M. J., Washington University in St. Louis
Azarin, S. M., University of Minnesota
Karlsson, A. J., University of Maryland
Barr, C., University of Michigan
As chemical engineering students, unit operations (UO) courses represent an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with process-scale equipment in a laboratory. In addition to cementing the link between fundamental theory, safety and ethics, and industrially relevant operation, these courses allow students to see, hear, feel, and physically manipulate equipment and measure and observe the intended (and sometimes unintended) consequences of their actions. During the Spring of 2020, many faculty were faced with the challenge of giving students these same learning experiences through an online teaching format. While this quick change in instruction put many in “survival mode” to get through the remainder of the semester, we have used this experience as a learning opportunity to pool our collective knowledge on successful and unsuccessful practices for meeting the learning outcomes of a UO laboratory course online. In this presentation, we will share the knowledge that we gained from the Spring 2020 semester, with particular emphasis on effective online teaching and management strategies to meet learning outcomes for the UO lab inside and outside the formal laboratory environment. Additionally, we will focus on how we can engage students in active learning experiences related to process safety despite not being in a traditional lab setting. Overall, the Covid-19 pandemic was a learning experience for all on how best to continue to meet our learning objectives in a new online format. Moving forward, we should take the lessons that we learned on effective teaching practices in the online format and use it for improving curriculum in the classroom.