The ASELL project has five principal aims:
- To make available, via a database, materials relating to undergraduate science experiments which are educationally sound and have been evaluated by both students and academic staff. These materials consist of everything needed to introduce the experiment into another institution, as well as evaluation data relating to both the discipline and the educational aspects of the experiment;
- to provide for the professional development of science academics by expanding their understanding of issues surrounding learning in the laboratory environment;
- to facilitate the development of a community of practice of laboratory educators by providing mentoring in educational theory and practice, regular workshops, and a presence at scheduled education conferences;
- to provide a sustainable mechanism, through involvement of the Australian Council of Deans of Science, to embed this cultural change as standard institutional practice; and
- to conduct (by the Directors) and enable (by the participants) research into learning and teaching in the laboratory environment.
The ASELL Management Team, comprising the Directors and the Associate Director, are pursuing these aims through three types of activities. These include organising and running workshops at which students and staff test and evaluate experiments submitted to the project for inclusion in the database, providing information and resources through this database, and participation in both national and international conferences.
This project developed from its physical chemistry APCELL predecessor (see History). APCELL ran workshops at the Univeristy of Sydney in 2000, in Melbourne in 2002 in conjuction with the RACI Chemical Education Divisional Conference, and in Hobart in 2004, again in conjunction with the RACI Chemical Education Divisional Conference.