Amy Taketomo

Report on Travel to Cal Poly to look at Studio Labs

             To take advantage of such a laboratory class design, we would also have to pretty completely redesign our lab classes.  In some cases, it just wouldn't be feasible - particularly our organic chemistry classes.  Even with the changes in design that they are proposing for their new building, I see these limitations as a major obstacle to using such classrooms in our program. The one class for which this kind of design could work would be our Chemistry 60 class - however, we only offer one section of this per semester - so it seems like it would be a large expenditure for just one class.  If Hartnell decides that it will offer the same kind of class for engineering students, then the design would work well.


2. The studio classroom can handle larger number of students than our current configuration (up to 72 v. 27).  However, it requires a laboratory instructor, two teaching-assistants, and a technician to be able to handle that number of students.  So, although we can't handle the number of students per laboratory section that they can, we also don't require the staffing resources that they do. 


3. In addition, our laboratory sessions are taught by the instructor with the lecture in the laboratory.  So, there is constant communication between the students and instructor possible.  This isn't really any different than with the studio design.


4. The studio classroom has 2 students per computer, four computers per cluster.  This requires a lot of computers for just one lab - and a technician to take care of just the computers in the lab.  Their estimates were one technician per 100 computers. 


5. I think the format would be a good one for other science and math courses - where you don't need sinks, water, fume hoods, etc., that you need for the type of chemistry labs we offer here.  There are elements of their course design we might wish to take advantage of - such as using more experiments with data loggers and probes.


Thanks for your organization of the trip.


Thank you for arranging the visit to the CalPoly engineering chemistry lab.  Here are a few observations:


1. The studio classroom that we observed was designed for a kind of chemistry lab that we do not currently have at Hartnell.  Specifically, it is a class that uses very little glassware, does little or no wet chemistry, and does not use significant amounts of organic materials. 

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