CHEM 156 - Biochemical Laboratory Techniques

Joy Goto

Chair and Professor

Course Name & Description: Biochem Lab Techniques - Methodology and instrumentation appropriate for characterizing the study and phenomena at the biochemical, cellular, and organismic levels.

Project Abstract: The redesign of this course will prepare students for the real world laboratory experience, and most importantly introduce them to a greater depth to all the various biochemical techniques and instruments. Above all, I want to modernize our laboratory course to prepare our students for the real scientific world and prepare them for future work in the laboratory. Augmented reality and virtual reality are already here and I think we need to educate our students to include these experiences in their scientific training.

Keywords/Tags: virtual labs, virtual reality, biochemistry

Instructional Delivery: Online and hybrid with in course laboratory experiments, complemented with virtual labs or virtual reality.

Pedagogical Approaches: Active/Inquiry-based Learning, AR/VR

About the LIT Redesign (Stage 1)

Background on the Redesign

Why Redesign your Course?

  • Course Characteristics: The main learning issue in this biochemistry laboratory course (CHEM 156) is that this is typically the ONLY biochemistry laboratory experience our B.S. Biochemistry and B.A. Chemistry majors have in our program. The bottleneck, on a larger scale, is that a majority of our chemistry department is not interested in the use of virtual labs and technology enhancement in laboratory courses, and are resistant of the idea because they are adamant that a virtual lab cannot replace nor enhance the learning values in comparison to a physical laboratory setting.
  • The Learning Problem: A one-semester laboratory is not sufficient to allow our students the full experience of the vast amount of technology and concepts in biochemistry and most importantly their applications. I feel that we are not preparing our students with the breadth and depth of knowledge in vital biochemistry techniques and their applications (e.g. fluorescence assisted cell sorting - FACS; CRISPR; confocal microscopy; HPLC; synthetic biology; plant transcriptomics). We are currently limited by the availability of equipment in the laboratory either because it is too expensive or not manageable to have even a group of 15 students working on a particular instrument. 

High Demand/Low Success/Facilities Bottleneck Issues

  • The bottleneck of our department faculty and their perception of change and enhanced laboratories using virtual and augmented reality can only be realized if they can see the outcomes in a laboratory course currently taught in our curriculum. I think this biochemistry laboratory course is ideal for a redesign using technology and virtual laboratories because it is a manageable number of students and their progression and feedback will have an impact on our faculty, who know most of these students and their abilities, and capabilities to learn new techniques and concepts.

Course History / Background

  • SOLUTION: The redesign of this course can be used to prepare students for their real laboratory experience, and most importantly introduce them to a greater depth to all the various techniques and instruments I have mentioned in the previous paragraph. Above all, I want to modernize our laboratory course to prepare our students for the real scientific world and prepare them to what will be the laboratories of the future. Augmented reality and virtual reality are already here and I think we need to educate our students to include these experiences in their scientific training

About the Students and Instructor(s) (Stage 2)

Student Characteristics

  • Our total enrollments are currently at ~42 students (per academic year), which accounts for ~80% of our graduating seniors every year. The majority of students are B.S. biochemistry majors and this is a program that is now in its fifth year, and we anticipate this number will continue to grow as it has increased by about 5-10% every year. 
  • Advice I Give my Students to be Successful
  • What are the instructions you give your students so they have a first-rate learning experience? Consider providing as much detail as possible.

Impact of Student Learning Outcomes/Objectives (SLOs) on Course Redesign

  • List approximately 5 - 10 learning outcomes which will determine what students will know and be able to do as a result of this course. The assessments you facilitate in your course should be appropriate measures of these learning outcomes.

Alignment of SLOs With LIT Redesign

  • Briefly describe how the course redesign will align with the SLOs.

Assessments Used to Measure Students' Achievement of SLOs

  • How are you planning to assess the students' achievement regarding the SLOs?
  • What course activities are you planning to measure?
  • If you use an assessment rubric(s), please upload here.

Accessibility, Affordability, and Diversity Accessibility

  • Share how you have considered designing the course to serve students with varied abilities. Does the technology support all students, including students with disabilities? Consider tapping into campus resources for video captioning or appropriate syllabus design for sight-impaired students.


  • Are the course materials and technologies used readily available and affordable for your students? Describe the potential cost savings when using more affordable learning materials. To learn more: AL$, COOL4Ed, or MERLOT


  • Do the pedagogical strategies support students' learning with diverse backgrounds? For example, consider cultural, ethnic,gender, student learning style preferences, socioeconomic status, first generation students, etc.

About the Instructor

  • Joy Goto . Please provide a 4-5 sentence description of your professional background and interests, your teaching philosophy, or anything else you'd like to share publicly.

Curriculum Vitae

  • Joy is professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at Fresno State. She has experience with STEM pedagogy, course redesign and assessment. She has redesigned general chemistry, biochemistry, and GE courses on sustainability to engage students using active learning and evidence-based practices.

LIT Redesign Planning (Stage 3)

Implementing the Redesigned Course What aspects of your course have you redesigned?

  • What are you now doing or planning to do through the redesign of your course? For example, "I used to lecture with some question/answer periods for 50 minutes. Now I "flipped" the classroom and have my students solve problems in groups of 4 during the class and I present 10 minute mini-lectures when students are confused about key topics."

Describe the class size(s) What technology is being used?

  • My proposed software and model used is Labster. Their scientific representative visited our Fresno State campus last year, and I was convinced this company is at the forefront in advancing the level of sophistication in virtual labs and augmented reality in the area of science labs, and specifically for biochemistry and soon, chemistry (i.e. general, organic, and analytical). 

    The following are weblinks to Labster's variety of virtual biochemistry labs and their augmented reality updates:

What professional development activities have you participated during your course redesign?

  • The PLC webinars, technology training, conferences, etc. § Key concepts learned?

Which Additional Resources Were Needed for the Redesign?

  • Describe, for example, how you might have incorporated or consulted with institutional research, instructional designers, department or campus colleagues, librarian, and/or the accessibility technology center.

(Upload your revised syllabus here)

LIT Results and Findings (Stage 4)

LIT Redesign Impact on Teaching and Learning

  • How has the course redesign strategies affected your instruction and your students’ learning? Did your redesign strategy solve the issues that motivated you to redesign the course?
  • Describe how your students mastered the student learning outcomes. Were the students more successful in the redesigned course than in previous courses? Explain.
  • Did you experience unexpected results after teaching the redesigned course? If so, what were they?
  • Consider attaching a more in-depth report describing the impact of your activities and experiences during the course redesign as a document/link/image. If possible consider including samples of students' work that reflect the impact of the redesign.

Assessment Findings

  • Use table and chart template to report course data (required).
  • Upload table and chart from your template (required) and reflect on your findings with a short description. You must include a course grades comparison of pre/post student achievements.
  • Share how your students achieved the learning outcomes? Describe how they mastered the learning outcomes compared to previous courses?

Student Feedback

  • What did your students say or how did they respond to the redesigned activities? Consider including your students' comments about their learning. Include survey results if you are able to capture them. Include student video feedback (optional).

Challenges my Students Encountered

  • What challenges did the students encounter in the redesigned activities? E.g., technical challenges, organization of course, and redesigned activities.

Lessons Learned & Redesign Tips

Teaching Tips

  • What advice do you have for others who might want to use this redesigned course?

Course Redesign Obstacles

  • What challenges did you confront and how did you overcome them?

Strategies I Used to Increase Engagement

  • What pedagogical strategies did you use in your new redesigned course to engage students?


  • How do plan to sustain the LIT redesign beyond the funding period?

Instructor Reflection

  • Reflect on your participation in redesigning a course, development of an ePortfolio, participation in CSU Course Redesign Professional Learning Community Share any plans to disseminate/publish the findings of your course redesign activity.