UNT Chemistry Virtual Lab Transition Featured on NBC-DFW | College of Science

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March 30, 2020

UNT Chemistry Virtual Lab Transition Featured on NBC-DFW

Professors and lab instructors across the country have been tasked with the challenge of moving their instruction online in a short period of time due to COVID-19. The College of Science is proud of the quick adaptation of the faculty, students, and staff alike who are rising to the occasion with minimal distruption to learning. Last week, NBC-DFW reached out to Dr. Marpu of UNT Chemistry for a behind-the-scenes look at how his organic labs have been transitioned into the virtual realm.

"As the instructor for organic labs, I want to take this opportunity to thank all the lab TA's who have worked very hard and promptly to adress these challenges, said Dr. Marpu. "I am glad that we can provide an alternative lab experience to our students during this crisis period."

UNT Chemistry PhD student Courtney Stewart is also featured in the NBC 5 news story. She has been recording organic chemistry lab experiments that UNT students are now viewing online for their classes.

"The NBC story offers a nice window into the challenges students and instructors alike have had to overcome in the abrupt shift to online classes," said UNT Chemistry Chair Dr. Lee Slaughter. Check out the video at: https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/college-students-challenged-to-c...

From NBC-DFW:

UNT Biological Sciences student Rachel Stephens is supposed to be several weeks away from a degree and jumping into her career as a game warden.

"As a senior, I only have a specific number of classes I need and several of them are classes with labs involved," said Stephens.

How do you complete a class of lab experiments when you can't go to the lab?

"We were just scratching our heads," said Sreekar Marpu, College of Science, Research Assistance Professor.

Teaching assistants starting doing experiments and sending videos to students. Other professors encouraged their students to attempt some labs at home.

It was all uncharted territory.

K-12 schools may look at universities as the leaders in online learning, but UNT wasn't too proud to admit this was a huge learning curve for them too, one they're working hard to master.

"We have faculty helping each other some have experience teaching online and some who didn't," said Jennifer Cowley, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UNT Denton.

It wasn't just science, struggling to figure this out. Music students are trying to get a note just right while sending it via an internet connection.

"You have to play to the mic right? Where do you put that mic in that room?" asked Jaymee Haefner, College of Music, Professor of Harp, to her students.

UNT Denton's leadership said they're confident it will work. Students will graduate on time, and the world won't have to wait to get world class musicians, scientists, and game wardens.