MSU lab instructor’s innovation reaching students, educators across U.S.
A member of Mississippi State’s Department of Chemistry is gaining a national online presence through her innovative chemistry lab videos designed to help educators provide lab instruction in the face of COVID-19. Teresa Brown, an MSU lecturer and general chemistry lab coordinator, has created dozens of videos since March, with national viewership reaching 12,000 students and educators and more than 740 hours of watch-time logged. To view Brown’s YouTube channel chemistry videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjx8bWzK265GUefqpfPjOkw. “I’m part of a chemistry instructor Facebook group and have posted tips about keeping filming simple,” Brown said. “My tips sparked interest and subsequent videos followed.” Brown said she began creating videos for online lab conversion at the beginning of MSU’s response to the pandemic, and she began uploading videos to her personal YouTube channel. “After the intense work put into the videos, I thought I might make them public so others can benefit. There are instructors all over the country in the exact same situation as me, and we are all just trying to cope and help each other,” Brown said. “Going online has helped me rediscover the beauty of chemistry for myself. I am compelled deep within to share my excitement and see others make a connection to the material. That is what drives me as a teacher. Being able to share it with other educators is just a bonus,” Brown said. “In the face of the scary reality of COVID-19, Teresa’s innovative production for our students, and apparently a rapidly growing external chemistry community of followers, is not only way beyond expectations, but a big bright beacon of inspiration for everybody to see and share,” said Dennis W. Smith Jr., MSU professor and chemistry department head. “Teresa has taken her passion for chemistry and shown students the beauty of each reaction through quality video recording and editing,” said Whitnee Nettles, an assistant clinical professor of chemistry and Brown’s mentor. “I believe it’s easy to see why Teresa’s lab videos have been met with such enthusiasm, not just here at MSU but with other instructors across the country, as well.” Brown said she believes she has “a duty to go beyond just triage and to make something meaningful that may help others who are riding the same struggle bus.”
“Though no experience can replace hands-on learning, there is value to being able to see chemistry in a new way that one would not get to experience seeing through foggy goggles and rushing to finish on time,” Brown said. She credits chemistry graduate teaching assistants Edward Acheampong, Mahmuda Akter, Abdullah Anzeh, Matthew Carlo, Naba Das, Evans Fosu, Hari Giri, Widana Kaushayla, Dexin Liu, Gustavo Munoz, Tran Nguyen, Hoang Pham, Arma Regmi, Daniela Sanchez, Gabriela Sanchez-Lecuona, Hellen Stephanie, and Raihan Uddin for assisting with the video production success. “All of these students are part of my amazing ChemDawg team,” Brown said. “None of the videos, nor online lab transition, would have been possible without their assistance. I always say I have the best teaching assistants on campus and it was truly a ChemDawg team effort.” A native of Amarillo, Texas, Brown received her 2011 master’s degree in chemistry from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, after earning her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry there in 2008. Brown received both the 2018 and 2019 Most Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award for MSU’s Department of Chemistry. MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 325 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 14 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. For more about the College of Arts and Sciences or the Department of Chemistry visit www.cas.msstate.edu or www.chemistry.msstate.edu. MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.