“Huh?” you hear at the beginning of the instructional video, followed by a slightly exasperated “Oh no!”. In just under three minutes, to a background of lively music, the basics of filtration are explained—along with the things you should definitely avoid: filters that are too small and sink into the test tube, acids that eat into the filter paper, and many other faux pas in the lab. The LMU Chemistry Department has created dozens of online tutorials on working techniques in organic chemistry in recent years. The series of lab videos goes by the name of “VidBibOCP”. Titles range from “Drying in the Desiccator” to “Column Chromatography” to “Weighing and Pipetting” and are in German.
As part of a cooperation project with the universities of Murcia, Cardiff and Sorbonne (Paris), these videos are now being grouped and adapted for other languages. Supported by an EU ERASMUS+ program, the “LABVIRT” project will thus benefit Spanish, English and French speaking students as well. The goal here is to integrate digital content with learning in a real-life laboratory, explains the project leader for LMU, Professor Hendrik Zipse. “This is the best way for us to train people right now given the challenging conditions we’re currently facing in the pandemic, which has reduced the amount of time students can spend in the lab.”