Lab Teaching

Resource Title:
Lab Teaching

The following are links to resources that will help those teaching or preparing to teach lab sections.    


Getting Started with a Laboratory Class: This document discusses early issues that may arise in approaching a laboratory class, and includes a guide to assessing course goals and a summary of the role of a Graduate Student Instructor in lab settings.

Things to do Before Classes Begin: Checklist: This resource is a checklist to help instructors think through the logistics of lab courses. The list is subdivided into categories: administrative details, responsibilities, information needed, expectations and class policies, grading and assessments, safety, and emergencies.

Laboratory Course Contacts List: This form can be used to facilitate class communication by keeping track of contact information for the department, other instructors, sources of supplies and equipment, and emergency response.

Preparing to Run a Laboratory Class: This resource provides a breakdown of key issues to think about as you prepare to teach each section of a laboratory class. Preparation prompts include planning a brief presentation to clarify important concepts or identifying any possible equipment and safety issues.

Sample Lab Syllabus: This sample syllabus for a lab course includes a course description and explanations of policies on handouts, problem sets, and grading.

The First Day of Class: What should lab instructors aim to accomplish on the first day of class? This article outlines important goals for a first lab class session: getting acquainted with students, introducing the key components of the course (including a chance to practice group work or discussion if these will be important), and discussing expectations, policies, and student concerns.

Strategies for Effective Teaching in the Laboratory Class: This guide lists some “do’s” and “don’ts” that may help instructors think through effective teaching in a lab setting. The article includes discussion of issues like classroom diversity, laboratory demonstrations, and board work.

Laboratory Safety: This overview of the safety issues involved in laboratory teaching includes a checklist for laboratory safety and preparation, strategies for running a safe class, and links to safety resources and training.

Strategies for Managing Discussions with Groups in the Laboratory Class: In addition to outlining the importance of discussion in lab settings, this article describes specific strategies for facilitating discussion and responding to student questions.

Strategies for Developing Students' Group Work Skills in the Laboratory Class: This document explains some strategies for facilitating successful student group work. The list includes techniques for supporting students in developing accountability, collaboration, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving strategies.

Teaching for Retention in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics: A Guide for Graduate Student Instructors: This document provides strategies for increasing retention of students in science, engineering, and mathematics courses. While developed to support the retention of underrepresented groups, these techniques will help all students by allowing the instructor to create a supportive learning environment, communicate clearly, provide regular feedback, and bring real-world relevance into the classroom.

Best Practices for Grading Laboratory Reports: This resource discusses best practices for grading laboratory reports, which includes specific strategies for clarifying criteria as well as more general guidelines for approaching evaluation.

Sample Laboratory Report Rubrics: This page includes two sample laboratory report rubrics: one from a generic, formal report and the second from a 200-level Biology class.