Interdisciplinary Web-Based Teaching Laboratory Materials

Wiess School of Natural Sciences
George R. Brown School of Engineering
Rice University

Brief list of program-wide teaching and learning objectives

The following statements define the shared objectives of the undergraduate teaching laboratories in Natural Sciences and Engineering at Rice University. Follow the links to detailed descriptions of each of these items. Your competence in each area will be assessed on the basis of a set of general standards, which you should peruse and understand.

A. Basic laboratory skills

ability to measure and report uncertain quantities with appropriate precision

ability to convert raw data to a physically meaningful form

ability to apply appropriate methods of analysis to raw data

ability to carry out common laboratory procedures correctly

ability to adhere to instructions on laboratory safety and to recognize hazardous situations and act appropriately

ability to perform logical troubleshooting of laboratory procedures

B. Communication and record keeping

ability to maintain an up-to-date laboratory notebook (including proper documentation of outside resources) which is of sufficient detail that others could repeat any of your experiments if necessary

ability to talk about your results in a clear and concise manner

ability to write effectively in appropriate style and depth

ability to access relevant information from the library and other information resources

C. Maturity and responsibility

ability to effectively prepare in advance for laboratory work (extended, of course, to any undertaking that requires advance preparation)

ability to learn from mistakes

ability to take the initiative and work independently

ability to work effectively as part of a team

D. Context

ability to understand your data and to report data effectively

ability to relate laboratory work to the bigger picture, to recognize the applicability of scientific principles to real world situations, and to recognize when seemingly minor oversights can have serious consequences

ability to explain the scientific method, including the concepts of hypothesis and experimental controls, and why objectivity is essential

E. Integration and application of knowledge/experience

ability to integrate and apply information and experience from math and science courses to current and future work

ability to apply critical thinking in the laboratory

ability to recognize whether results and conclusions "make sense"


Developed by the laboratory educators in Natural Sciences and Engineering, Rice University 11 Jul 03
(Contact: Updated 19 Jul 06