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Takeaway lab equipment helps Sheffield Hallam students learn during pandemic

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22 March 2021

Takeaway lab equipment helps Sheffield Hallam students learn during pandemic

Students at Sheffield Hallam University have been able to engage in vital lab learning at home thanks to technical staff going the extra mile to send them scientific equipment

Press contact: Greg Mattocks-Evans | g.mattocks-evans@shu.ac.uk

People wearing white lab coats in a science laboratory

When it was announced that, due to national lockdown measures announced in January, it would not be possible for Physics students to take part in on-campus teaching until March at the earliest, the technical team decided to find an alternative.

To ensure students didn’t miss out on a vital part of their practical learning, the team decided to ship equipment out to students, so that they could carry out their experiments in the safety of their own homes.

Lewis Smith, technical specialists at Sheffield Hallam University said: “It’s been a steep learning curve in terms of logistics. For some fields, such as quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and thermodynamics, equipment can be very sensitive and potentially dangerous if misused.

“This meant that we needed to think carefully about how to actually provide a practical experience for students.”

For first year students, the team decided on four experiments that they decided could be easily sent and would work in student’s homes.

Supporting second year students was more challenging, requiring custom pieces of equipment to be developed and mass produced.

Once they received the equipment, the students were then able to take part in remote lab exercises using video conferencing technology.

“From what I have seen in these sessions, I think the students are generally very pleased to have been able to conduct experiments and have a small part of their normal year still continue in these unusual times.

“It’s been challenging but we’ve taken the view that this is a very important part of the student’s degree and we’ve had to do what we can to give them the best experience in the circumstances,” Lewis added.

Simon Clark, Head of Physics at Sheffield Hallam University said: “This has been a big undertaking, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of academic staff and the Electronics and Analysis team, with support from the Engineering Workshops technical team.

“Together, we have been able ensure that our students can continue to take part in essential practical learning.”

Whilst students on courses with practical elements have now resumed some in-person teaching, online learning is continuing across the majority of courses in line with government guidance.

In this story

Explore the people, themes, departments and research centres behind this story

Press contact

Greg Mattocks-Evans

Contact us

For help with a story or to find an expert

Email: pressoffice@shu.ac.uk
Phone: 01142 252811

On social media

 Twitter (press office)
 Twitter (university)
 Facebook
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