SLOAN-C: Blended Lab Science Courses: Combining the Best of Online and Traditional Teaching Methods

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On April 23, 2010

sloan-c.png Presenter: Pam Kachka with the University of Colorado-Denver

Blended courses ar ethose in which a significant portion of the learning activities have been moved online, and classroom time is reduced but not eliminated.  But how much are science courses online? It appears that there are very few online science courses.

Advantages of Traditional Labs:

  • No subsitute for hands-on lab experience
  • More technical/professional lab supplies and equipment than have at home
  • Immediate instructor help
  • Status Quo

Disadvantages of Traditional Labs:

  • Expensive to run
  • Time-consuming in the building
  • Difficult to schedule

Advantages to Online Labs:

  • Greater chance for active learning, creativity and problem solving
  • Can do activities not available in a classroom setting
  • Greater potential connections with “real-life”

Disadvantages to Online Labs:

  • Limited Instructor help
  • Hands-on activities limited due to safety, supply/equipment availability, feasibility

Advantages to Blended Labs:

  • Best of both worlds
  • Instructor guided hands-on labs, in well stocked lab

Blended learning provides the largest set of instructional methods to choose from. It increases student engagement and active learning.

However, designing a functional and successful blended course takes time. You must ensure that the online and on-ground components of the course are integrated.

Planning questions –

  1. What do you want your students to know when they are have finished taking your hybride course?
  2. What course objectives will you allocate tot he two course components?
  3. How will you divide the percentage of class time between the two components?
  4. How will you divide the course grading sch em between the two components?
  5. How will you evaluate the student workload as compared to a traditional class?
  6. What specific means will you use to assess work in each of the two components?

To begin you need to assess your current course activities.  Look at all the activities you do or require students to do.  Then look at which of those components can be put online that enhance the educational process for students. Make sure that you document which components will be online and which components will be face to face. You also need to be specific about communication around each component and how students can interact with you the instructor.  It is also a good idea to look at the tools that are included in an LMS. Those tools can help with time management and organization.

Posted by

On April 23, 2010. Posted in Blended Learning, SLOAN-C