This communication reports the curriculum changes and how they worked when an upper-level experimental physical chemistry course had to switch from face-To-face to online teaching within a matter of days. Although several of the learning goals of the laboratory-based course could still be met in the online environment, others required modifications in order to reduce the educational losses. The use of videos, icebreakers, homework, prelab quizzes, in-lab questions, and synchronous meetings helped to keep the students engaged and maximize the achievement of learning goals. The technology challenge when internet connections were poor was swiftly addressed by the students switching to cell phone data plans. Academic integrity was managed through the use of an open-book exam using original problems that required critical thinking and problem-solving skills rather than only regurgitation of knowledge that could be copied from textbooks or found online. Although gains were obtained through writing lab reports, solving the homework, prelab quizzes, and in-lab questions as well as generating questions about the laboratory experiments, the development of problem solving skills to address challenges during the actual instrument operation and planning and conducting an authentic research experiment were lost because instruction was not face-To-face.
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