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Hege Library & Learning Technologies

For Faculty: COVID-19 Instructional Continuity in Spring 2020

This guide is a copy of the original Instructional Continuity Guide used during the move to remote teaching in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19. It exists to retain and share this collection of resources for anyone who needs them.

Course Continuity for Lab Courses

Many lab courses require specialized software, hardware, and/or other materials that may become inaccessible to faculty and students in the event that in-person classes are suspended unexpectedly. How can you move forward with lab activities in the case that your lab course needs to be taught online for a period of time?

Running Lab Activities Online

  • Identify which of your lab activities can be delivered online. For example, orientation/pre-lectures and demonstrations of techniques can be recorded virtually and delivered in Canvas. Students can be asked to familiarize themselves with procedures. Peer learning can be done asynchronously with Canvas discussion forums, or synchronously via Google Hangouts.
  • Provide students with raw data to analyze. If your course involves data collection and analysis, consider walking your students through/demonstrating the data collection yourself, and then providing your students with data to analyze.
  • Be clear in your expectations, and also flexible. Set clear expectations for the work, but keep in mind that students may require more flexibility and understanding as everyone gets accustomed to new ways of doing things.
  • Investigate virtual lab options. You may be able to accomplish some lab activities via online simulation. Some options for you to investigate are provided below.

Resources for Online Labs & Simulations

  • MERLOT Simulation Collection (California State University)
    The MERLOT collection of Open Educational Resources includes thousands of free simulations on a broad range of topics. The database is searchable by keyword, and each item in the collection provides details including material type, authorship, brief description, peer review rating, and user rating.
  • #OnlineLabSci
    Curated list of online lab lessons and resources
  • ChemCollective (joint project from NSF, Carnegie Mellon, and NSDL)
    Free, online chem lab simulations for topics including Stoichiometry, Thermochemistry, Equilibrium, Acid-Base Chemistry, Solubility, Oxidation/Reduction and Electrochemistry, Analytical Chemistry/Lab Techniques
  • PhET Interactive Simulations (University of Colorado – Boulder)
    Free online simulations and teaching activities for Physics, Chemistry, Math, Earth Science, and Biology (site has simulations for all grade levels; link takes you to simulations designed for university students)
  • LabXchange
    LabXchange brings together high-quality content from a variety of sources in the form of online learning assets, including videos, assessments, and simulations.
  • Hands On Labs
    Online science curriculum and lab kits.
  • OER Simulations and Virtual Labs
    From Colorado School of Mines, a list of Open Educational Resources for virtual labs.
  • Ward Science Virtual Lab Resource

    Ward Science is providing a comprehensive list of essential materials and resources, including free extended access to educational software and applications, free downloads and online resources for at-home learning, and hands-on science kits and materials to distribute to students for learning at home.

The information above was adapted from an informational page by Middlebury College: thank you, Middlebury, for gathering these resources!

Further Reading

See this page from Harvard's Bok Center for Teaching and Learning with options for conducting science labs remotely, depending on whether the focus is learning techniques & their application to specific experimental situations; interpreting experimental data; or project-based lab research.

Dartmouth's Teach Remotely site includes a page on Remote Lab Activities and Experiments, as well as a link to the POD Online Science Simulations and Laboratory Resources.

Inside Higher Ed: Remotely Hands On and How to Rethink Science Lab Classes.

See this page from The Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Wake Forest ont adapting labs and studios for remote learning.

Receiving Project Performances - Music, Theatre, etc.

Some student projects will result in some type of presentation, such as a speech, demonstration, or performance. In the online context, these performances will usually need to be transmitted over the internet in a digital format, either synchronously or asynchronously.

Asynchronous Tools

If the learning objectives for the assignment can be met with a recorded (asynchronous) performance, invite students to record their performance in an appropriate format. Check with your students about the options available to them: in the case of students who do not have access to a laptop computer or mobile device capable of recording decent quality audio and video, faculty members can request a library device for a student to check out for the duration of an emergency situation. Depending on the particulars of the assignment, you might ask students to record audio only, an audio voiceover to a slideshow, a video, or some variation on these formats. Students can then upload the recording using the Assignments tool in Canvas.

Synchronous Tools

If the learning objectives for the assignment are best met with a real-time (synchronous) performance, Google Hangouts or Zoom are the tools currently supported institutionally. The audio and video fidelity of a video conference transmission will not be as good as a direct personal experience in a face-to-face context, especially for the subtleties of a musical or dramatic performance, but may be the best we can achieve under the circumstances.

The information above was adapted from Pepperdine College's Center for Teaching Excellence: thank you Pepperdine for making this information available.