In the past few weeks, we’ve spoken with instructors from North Carolina, Virginia, California and Pennsylvania. Despite different subjects, course sizes, and geographic locations, these instructors all recognise that COVID-19 is shaking up higher education. The pandemic has forced them to rethink how they deliver authentic education.
Experimentation, a core component of STEM courses, is difficult to replicate online. For example, Stefanie Chen, a biotechnology instructor at NCSU, normally has students conduct western blot and tissue culture experiments in the lab throughout the term. These experiments simply can’t be done at home.
COVID-19 has put Stefanie’s course and so many others into “make-it-work” mode. She’s making at-home experimentation work by providing students with real data. This keeps the focus on big picture analysis even when students can’t do data collection themselves. It’s the next best thing to hands-on lab work.
Designing exercises for online instruction, however, is tricky in the first place and real data isn’t something every instructor has on hand. We’ve partnered with Vernier Software & Technology to address both parts of the equation with content designed for the remote classroom and real data sets for your students to work with.
You’ll find experiments from Vernier in Lab Builder, our course content library that’s always free for you to use. These engaging and proven experiments have been adapted for online instruction and now have corresponding data sets within Lab Builder. Use them together to keep your students focused on data analysis and to ensure that active investigation remains at the core of your course.
If you’re just starting out with online instruction and don’t have a real data repository to work with, don’t sweat it. We’re here to help you keep students working in an authentic way which might be more important now than ever before.