Before jumping into reading this lab calendar, it might be best to first review the core teaching principle, learned many years ago while I was still a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois, that is at the heart of all the experiments and teaching constructs. This is the principle of "ownership". In 1992, I had the opportunity to prepare a brief essay on "Ownership" for the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Newsletter on this. I have included the last draft of that essay here.

Many people now are interested in the teaching philosophy of role-playing and the design of these experiments. Read this link if you are. If you are curious in finding out how well role-playing might work in your own labs, you may find some of your questions answered in my interview with Prof Laquer.

All of the experiments mentioned below are available for downloading in their final versions before my retirement by clicking on the following web page link:

http://www.stolaf.edu/people/walters/narrative/256downloadexpts.html

The outline forms below show just the cover page of each experiment.


The original references to the role-playing approach as applied to analytical chemistry are found in the three articles, Walters, J.P. "Role-Playing in Analytical Chemistry" Anal. Chem. 1991, 63, 977A, 1077A, 1179A.All teaching and research efforts are only as successful as the people who buy into them. Here are the students who made up the role-playing companies of the 256 lab the last time I taught it. Congratulations go to them for the great success it was!
How is Role-Playing done in an analytical lab? Click on the lab stools of the people playing the roles shown in the lab bay area below to see their responsibilities during an afternoon lab session. This will help set the stage for the method.

lab bay map


Week of Experiment Objectives And Responsibilities Roles Rotation
2/8/99 Introduction to Role-Playing and Laboratory Grading  
  (Meet in Rolvaag 250 on your scheduled lab day)
Defining the Kinds of Role-Playing Responsibilities
  Teaches all about Laboratory Safety and Lab Statistics Manager Person A
2/15/99 Teaches all about MSDS forms and solution preparation Chemist Person B
  Teaches all about serial data acquisition and file transfers Software Person C
  Teaches all how to solder a serial cable for the balances Hardware Person D
Round Robin Certification of Laboratory Glassware
  Monitors certification procedures and organizes the statistics Manager Person A
2/22/99 Cleans, handles, and measures all volumetric glassware Chemist Person B
  Designs spreadsheets and does inter-company data transfers Software Person C
  Interfaces balance to computer and assists Chemist Hardware Person D
Production Quality Control Lead Analysis
  Designs round robin statistics and schedules experiment Manager Person D
3/1/99 Forms and digests the lead chromate precipitates Chemist Person A
  Designs spreadsheets for inter-company round robin transfer Software Person B
  Interfaces balance to computer and assists Chemist w/Ppts Hardware Person C
Statistical / Chemical Evaluation of Lead Data
  Designs lead AA procedures for standard addition detns Manager Person D
3/8/99 Prepares standard lead solutions for AA determinations Chemist Person A
  Designs spreadsheet to compare AA and Ppt methods. Software Person B
  Assists Chemist with Filtration, and makes AA msmts Hardware Person C
Semi-Automated Weak Acid Titration
  Time organization of standardization and weak acid titrations Manager Person C
3/15/99 Preparation of standard base, KHP, and weak acid reagents Chemist Person D
  Operation of LabVIEW VI’s and doing all F-tests Software Person A
  Set up titration device, do FET calib., and assist Chemist Hardware Person B
Graphical Analysis of Weak Acid Titration
  Design of graphical analysis and solution to posed problems Manager Person C
3/22/99 Preparation of weak acid solution and other solutions Chemist Person D
  Operation of LabVIEW VI’s for theoretical titrations Software Person A
  Operation of titration device and assisting Chemist Hardware Person B
Spring Break 3/29- 4/2
Designing a Mock Robot Experiment
  Designs the mock robot protocol based on the real robot Manager Person B
4/5/99 Designs and prepares the indicator and buffer solutions Chemist Person C
  Designs the mock robot command language Software Person D
  Designs the mock robot command procedures Hardware Person A
Executing the Mock Robot Experiment
  Starts and stops the robot - behaves as the mock robot Manager Person B
4/12/99 Prepares all indicator solutions to deliver to Hardware Chemist Person C
  Gives all electrical and verbal commands to Manager Software Person D
  Responds to all command responses from Manager Hardware Person A
The Incredible Edible Easter Egg Grass Advertising Dilemma
  Decides if the Company should advertAA "edible" grass Manager Person A
4/19/99 Blends all solutions needed to test for "edibility" Chemist Person B
  Prepares spreadsheets for color comparisons Software Person C
  Runs CCD spectrophotometer using LabVIEW Hardware Person D
The Downsizing Dilemma
  Decides if s/he can be fired and schedule robot operation Manager Person D
4/26/99 Prepares the standards for manual and robotic methods Chemist Person A
  Prepares data analysis spreadsheets and robot protocol Software Person B
  Runs CCD spectrophotometer using LabVIEW Hardware Person C
The Broken Pill Coating Machine Assembly Line Shutdown Dilemma
  Selects elements and concentration ranges for "shavings" Manager Person C
5/3/99 Prepares standards and dilutions as Manager directs Chemist Person D
  Gathers AA data and fits to working curves Software Person A
  Runs the AA spectrophotometer and lab robot Hardware Person B
The Individual vs. Departmental Instrument Purchasing Dilemma
  Decides whether to buy 4 individual or 1 common HPLC Manager Person B
5/10/99 Blends toxic cocktails for Hardware to inject into HPLC Chemist Person C
  Prepares LabVIEW HPLC interface to processes data Software Person D
  Operates the LabVIEW/HPLC combination Hardware Person A

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