Online Chemistry Courses | ODU Online

ODUOnline: Innovations in Online Chemistry Courses

Students signing up for classes with ODUOnline in the Summer of 2020 are finding a delightful surprise: they can fulfill their science requirements with online chemistry courses, both lecture and lab components.

But how is it possible to have online chemistry courses with the same academic rigor and experience that a student would encounter in a physical classroom? The answer may surprise you. Science education has come a long way from plastic goggles and Bunsen burners that may not work. Online chemistry courses are wonders of innovation, outside-the-box thinking, and new learning technologies. ODUOnline offers these classes without compromising a single academic standard. Here's how we do it.

A legacy of online labs

Online chemistry degrees aren't the only programs to utilize learning innovation and technology to create lab experiences in an online environment. 

ODU's online engineering degrees, for example, already have working labs. Students working toward their online degrees in electrical engineering, for example, can take online labs in digital electronics, machines, and more. Computer science, biology, mechanical engineering, and physics all already offer online labs and new ones come online all the time to ensure convenience and flexibility for students so they can complete their degrees.

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How a lab gets adapted for online learners

ODUOnline is dedicated to maintaining the same high quality programs and academic rigor as our on campus classes. That means that they're taught by the same professors, use many of the same materials, and are often taken by on campus students as part of their programs.

It all starts when an academic department or professor decides they want to offer their classes online.

They get in touch with our Center for Learning and Teaching, where a team of specialized instructional designers have years of experience helping professors make their material accessible to online students. These designers have been working for ODU for years and know the high quality and academic standard established and maintained by the university and work to maintain that.

Together, the instructional designers and the professors discuss how the on-campus class works to determine what will work online and what will need additional consideration. They look at everything from textbooks to assignments to the specific content of lectures. The subject matter expertise of the professors and the delivery expertise of the instructional designers combine to find dynamic online solutions for all types of content.

This process can take months, as the team insists on the highest quality. Lectures and demonstrations are tweaked until they're perfect, online delivery platforms are tested, and syllabi are examined until everyone is sure it's ready to go.

Online experimentation

A major question we get about our online labs is, "how can experiments and testing be duplicated without the specialized equipment that exists on campus?"

There are a few ways to answer that. While universities pride themselves on high tech, specialized equipment, it may not always be necessary to prove the core concepts and competencies. What is the specific lesson this lab is teaching, proving, or disproving? Is there another way? Will a demonstration serve the lesson just as well?

If a demonstration is called for, the professor will work with ODUOnline's staff to create a video lesson that students may watch.

If possible, an online simulation is utilized to give online students a real world feel that they can participate in. Through groundbreaking modeling and simulation, online students can connect virtual circuits in their online electrical engineering classes or pour virtual flasks in their online chemistry classes.

The online lab experience at home

It takes a lot of time to develop accurate and useful simulations, and sometimes they're not necessary. With ODU's online chemistry courses, students can safely conduct experiments at home with materials that we mail to them.

These kits come with the necessary materials to perform the lab assignments, as well as instructions. Then, based on the professor's requirements, students either conduct the experiment and write about it, record themselves performing the steps and send the video to their professor for grading, or sometimes attend live video sessions where the students and professor work together in real time.

Labs are all different according to the subject matter and the instructor's preferences, but rest assured you'll have a complete, interactive lab experience with ODUOnline.

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Interactivity is key

Whether you're studying chemistry or engineering, labs are always meant to be hands-on. When students immerse themselves in their lessons, they learn more thoroughly and begin to develop deep interests and passions that will carry them through their studies, onto their careers, and beyond. That's why ODUOnline designed online chemistry courses with lots of interactions. Students interact on three levels: with their instructors, with the content, and with each other.

Student and instructor engagement: We encourage students to form relationships with their instructors. Professors are the best resource for clarification, support, and, in some cases, can help give students an idea of how their courses and even careers can continue.

Student to student engagement: You may remember working with a lab partner in high school. While your online chemistry course classmates might be in different parts of the country or the world, they can often be a great help mastering the material and navigating the whole online learning process.

Student to content engagement: This is where the magic happens. The more a student really dives in to the  material, the more he or she will learn it. The first step here is usually reading it in notes or a text or listening to it in a lecture, but you'll also make great strides explaining it to classmates, recounting it on tests and assignments, and practicing it in labs and projects.

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ODU's online chemistry courses: learning from experts

Because all of ODU's online programs are taught by the same expert faculty who teach on campus classes, you'll be learning from experts in the field.

ODU's Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry provides diverse, multidisciplinary research opportunities for students, and you'll be learning from groundbreaking researchers.

Our faculty take on challenging and prevalent global issues. Currently we are:

  • Studying the chemistry of living cells in real-time using nanoparticles
  • Probing our planet's atmosphere using advanced satellite-based instruments to better understand the role of greenhouse gasses and ozone
  • Using high-field NMR to unravel the mysteries of diseases ranging from the common cold to polio
  • Carrying out computer simulations of protein nucleic acid binding to DNA and of selenium bio-inorganics which offer insight into solving the complexities of cancer
  • Analyzing the structures of organogels which serve as advanced biomaterials in applications ranging from matrix assisted tissue growth to scaffolds for protein and DNA synthesis
  • Seeking to elucidate the role of supramolecular chemistry in nano-materials for drug delivery
  • Synthesizing novel chiral molecules which serve as building blocks for pharmaceutics
  • Advancing artificial photosynthesis using mixed-metal multi-nuclear inorganic complexes
  • Providing options for carbon dioxide sequestration via designer metallo-mesogens
  • Pursuing an understanding of the chemical transformations of plant-derived bio-polymers in soils, natural waters, and marine sediments
  • Developing novel conversions of algae biomass to bio-fuels
  • Unlocking the second-half of the genetic code by relating amino acid sequences to the 3-dimensional structure of proteins
  • Discovering new uses for the by-products of biomass fuels to improve soil fertility while at the same time providing a pathway to help control greenhouse gasses via carbon sequestration.


FAQs about ODU's online chemistry courses

Will my earned credits transfer to another program?

It's quite common for students to earn credits at another institution and then transfer them to their program of choice for completion. This is especially common with classes like online chemistry courses, where a student can to choose to focus on them during a summer session.

Your first step is always to ask if your credits will transfer before you enroll. Because of partnership agreements, many Virginia universities, for example, have probably seen this before and can get you a quick answer.

How do I transfer to ODU?

If you're considering a transfer to an ODUOnline degree program, we're here to help. Gather your unofficial transcripts and get in touch with us through the form on the bottom of this page. If you're thinking of coming to ODU's main campus in Norfolk, Virginia, visit to get started.

What other classes are available online?

Chemistry classes are not the only amazing subject we offer! ODU's online class offerings span communication to fashion merchandising, business to biology. You're sure to find something that helps you meet your goals, in a convenient, flexible online format. See all of ODU's upcoming online courses here.

Can I complete a full degree online?

Many students transfer credits to ODU, but some may be looking for a complete degree online. For a complete list of our undergraduate degrees, click here. Many are available as both fully online (where you start the program online as a freshman) and degree completion (where you transfer credits that you already earned).

We also offer graduate degree programs and doctoral and education specialist programs, as well as graduate certificate programs.


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Opportunities in the field of chemistry

If you're a chemistry major, you may have professional plans for your online chemistry degree. But you may choose to take an online chemistry course as a science credit, but not necessarily plan to go into chemistry lab research or a medical field, for example. A chemistry background will serve you well in some surprising fields, including:

  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Meteorology
  • History
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Environmental engineering

Continuing your education

ODU's online chemistry labs are undergraduate courses, but once you finish your bachelor's degree online you may want to continue your education. Chemistry majors may choose to continue their scientific studies with a:

  • Master of Science in Chemistry
  • PhD in Chemistry
  • PhD in Biomedical Sciences
  • Medical school degree

Because ODU's online chemistry courses can serve as a science prerequisite, you can earn most degrees with this scientific basis to build on.


Chemistry Alumni Spotlight – Toykea Jones

ODU Board of Visitors member and alum Toykea JonesODU alumna Toykea Jones

Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors member Toykea Jones is an example of what a diverse and interdisciplinary education from ODU can do for you.

Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor in business administration in 2003, and a Master of Engineering in 2005. Both degrees came from Old Dominion University.

Since earning her master's, the sky has been the limit. Jones joined Johnson & Johnson in 2005 as part of their Engineering Leadership Development Program. Her career has spanned engineering, manufacturing, supply chain management, project management, strategy, and sales.

Jones has been a member of ODU's Board of Visitors since 2016 and serves as the Chair of the University Advancement Committee and as Vice Chair of the Academic & Research Advancement Committee. Jones says she's proud of her alma mater and the work that's being done for students, alumni, faculty, and the community surrounding ODU as a whole.

As a way to show her support, Jones established three endowed scholarships at Old Dominion University. In 2010, she partnered with ODU to create the Toykea S. Jones Endowed Scholarship in Engineering. Her second endowment began in January 2014 for students seeking to learn supply chain management. Her most recent scholarship was established in September 2018 for students studying chemistry. To learn more about these scholarship opportunities, visit


Get started today

If you think ODU's online chemistry courses may be the right move for you, fill out the form below. A member of our intake team will be in touch soon to help you get started!