- Powerpoint slides with lecture notes
- Lab instruction handouts
- And this one time we read a paragraph in the textbook... it was awful.
Lecture slides are surprisingly authentic. Chemists of all types rely heavily on powerpoint presentations to share their research, create webinars, and present new techniques in industry. As a research chemist and as a quality control analyst I gave as well as attended numerous powerpoint presentations. As a researcher these were focused on sharing research, but in pharmaceuticals they were new equipment training, introduction of new techniques, explanations of changes in regulations, or presentation of a troublesome drug product with ideas on how to overcome the issues. Students should not only be able to follow a presentation but they should be able to give a good presentation as well.
Lab activities are also somewhat authentic in form. Perhaps not for research chemists, but for scientists working in pharmaceuticals or biotech following protocols and test methods is crucial. The pharmaceutical industry is very highly regulated and especially in quality control it is imperative for the analyst to follow test methods exactly. A test method will list materials needed (even specifying brands to be used), then have sequential steps for performing the procedure. Now this is not to say that students should not be responsible for designing experiments. A research chemist would be designing experiments, so students should get exposure to both modes of experimentation: following a prescribed procedure as well as R&D manipulation of variables and experiment design.
Worksheets are markedly less authentic. I am personally not a fan of drill-and-kill problem sets. Students should of course work through a problems so they can master the procedures, but unlike the worksheets that only present problems out of context (something that I noted to be an issue before) they should be in context or even intertwined with a lab procedure, as often equations need to be balanced and calculations need to be made to figure out how to do a particular experiment.
Textbooks are authentic in that chemists do tend to have a library of heavy books to reference reactions, equipment troubleshooting, or in the pharmaceutical industry the multi-volume United States Pharmacopoeia which contains descriptions of appropriate testing, equations, and conditions. The way the textbook was used, however, was far from authentic. The students had several pages in a guided workbook, a series of fill in the blank questions which were iterations of sentences in the textbook. A chemist would use the book as reference, to aid in remembering an equation or how to perform a reaction. It is more of a supplement than the focus of the chemist.