Introducing scientific writing in a second semester organic chemistry laboratory course
We implemented a laboratory program that integrates an introduction to scientific reading and writing with standard wet experiments common to a second-semester organic chemistry course. The revisions described were part of an overhaul of the two-semester organic laboratory program that included development of virtual lab exercises, or 'dry labs', to compliment traditional wet experiments. The dry lab exercises in the second-semester program focused on the progressive development of scientific writing skills, as well as a continuing reinforcement of important chemistry concepts presented in wet labs. Through a virtual interface, students were instructed on the proper methods to write individual sections of a scientific paper. At the end of the semester, students wrote a full scientific paper to demonstrate the concepts and writing techniques learned throughout the semester. Students reported significant gains in scientific writing skills, and we reduced required staffing and laboratory space. We report here on our initial experiences using this laboratory program, starting in the Fall semester of 2010. © 2012 American Chemical Society.