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Join Keynoters Goldie Blumenstyck (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (MindWires Consulting)

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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Engaging Science Learners Online: Designing Science Courses for Distance Learning

Mary Mawn (State University of New York, Empire State College, USA)
Ken Charuk (SUNY Empire State College, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 1

Students enrolled in six online science courses rated how course activities supported their learning. A description of this population and completion rates will be presented.

Extended Abstract

Laboratory experiments are an essential component of science coursework. Such experiences provide students with real-world contexts to apply scientific concepts, develop critical thinking skills, and engage in scientific processes. For the online educator, designing laboratories can be a significant challenge, but through the use of lab kits, field experiences, simulations, and remote instrumentation, students can investigate fundamental concepts from their locations. Building on the evidence in the literature and based on prior experiences designing online science courses, a team of faculty developed six online science courses in Biology I and II, Chemistry I and II, and Physics I and II that included a rigorous lab component. These online courses were piloted and revised based on feedback from the students and instructors. We will present an analysis of end-of-course reflections where students rated the extent to which course activities (written assignments, laboratories, quizzes and discussions) supported their learning. In addition, a description of this student population and a discussion of course completion rates will be presented. This discovery session will be of interest to science faculty who will be, or are currently, teaching laboratory science courses at a distance. In addition, participants will learn practical approaches based on these study results and be encouraged to share their experiences for designing online science courses.