NC State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Page: 11506 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.2399
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
One of the biggest challenges for transitioning to remote learning has been modifying laboratory activities. The laboratory provides a specialized hands-on learning experience that gives students the opportunity to learn many skills that reinforce the content learned in the classroom. Although various companies sell interactive online laboratories, they are cost-prohibitive for large enrollment courses. That leaves instructors with the huge task of modifying labs with limited time and resources. The experience often falls short of providing a robust laboratory experience. In this session, we discuss how to achieve a quality laboratory experience for students in large enrollment Introductory Biology for majors. By using a blended learning approach to labs, and dividing the laboratory experience into Pre-Lab, In-Lab, and Post-Lab, we have been able to recreate our laboratory units and meet most of the learning competencies of the traditional face-to-face lab. Students complete a Pre-Lab asynchronously to prepare for the In-Lab, which is a synchronous session in which a teaching assistant facilitates group work in breakout rooms. Finally, the Post-Lab allows students to synthesize what they have learned and produce a product. A semester long project allows students to develop the skills associated with research design, data collection, analysis, and representation. We recognize that online laboratories cannot fully replace the in-person laboratory experience; but with the help of instructional technology, this approach has allowed students to have meaningful collaborations with peers, design experiments, and present their work efficiently. Overall, student feedback has been very positive and we are planning to maintain some of the aspects of this format once we return to regular in person labs.
Online learning, blended learning, online laboratories, online biology laboratories, laboratory skills.