Presenters: Tuomas Kangasniemi, M.Sc, Katrina Nordstrom, Professor

Organisation unit: Aalto CHEM

Degree programme: Chemical Technology


Practical skills are one of the core competencies in technology, engineering and the natural sciences. However, the busy curriculum in many universities lacks space and time for the learning-by-doing experience to mature. Therefore, we have designed and implemented a virtual laboratory, LabLife3D, to Second Life, to bridge the gap between theory and practice. To date, we have designed five virtual laboratory exercises in the biological sciences and chemistry there: a virus isolation experiment, a laboratory safety tutorial, organic chemistry simulations on (a) decarboxylation reactions and (b) vacuum distillation, and a molecular biology simulation on identifying a virus with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This paper presents their design process and outlines their contents.. All the exercises have been designed in accordance with content-specific learning goals and outcomes, which are discussed. In addition to creation of contents, we have also recently studied the usability of our simulations and conducted a student assessment.