Strategies and how-tos for online lab activities
PLEASE NOTE: Remote course delivery through the end of the spring semester, including labs. Labs must be delivered via distance, remote and online means through the end of the spring semester. There will be no classroom instruction.
One of the biggest challenges of teaching during a building or campus closure is sustaining the delivery of instructional laboratories. Since many such classes require specific equipment, they are difficult to reproduce outside of specialized physical space.
North American Network of Science Labs Online (scroll to bottom of page and look for "project summary")
As you plan to adapt the delivery of instructional laboratory courses, please consider these strategies:
Take part of the lab online
- Many activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider whether or not there are other parts of the experience could be taken online--video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work--and defer the physical practice parts until access is restored. The approach may suffice in the event of relatively brief disruptions.
Introduce virtual laboratories
Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs, including virtual dissection, night sky apps and simulations. The possibilities vary widely by discipline. Your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot, may have materials that might help replace parts of your instructional laboratory during an emergency.
Provide raw data for analysis
- In cases where the activity includes both the collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the experience during an emergency.