5 Essential Elements of an Online Science Lab Syllabus

Based on a white paper By Linda and Dr. Peter Jeschofnig, Co-Founders of Hands-On Labs & IEDSE (The Institute for Excellence in Distance Science Education)

Online science instructors who are willing to invest initial time and energy into creating a thorough syllabus will save themselves innumerable headaches throughout the semester. An online course syllabus, regardless of the type of course being taught, needs to be very explicit and cover every aspect of the course. It should provide clear and complete explanations about how the course will be conducted and assessed plus explicitly state what is expected of the students. It should be posted as soon as possible prior to the beginning of the semester for those eager students who want to get a head start and for students to determine if the course is right for them before the refund/census drop date. It should remain posted throughout the semester so student can refer back to it when needed and as an arbitrator of disputes. Here are the five essential elements to include in an online science lab syllabus: Continue reading

Worlds of Learning – Let’s Get Virtual!

By Dr. John Jamison

Virtual_post

One of the emerging technologies for learning we’ve enjoyed watching develop is the collection of online, 3D, virtual-environment platforms. Becoming more visible with the entry of Second Life around 2003, a search will present a list of more than 1000 approaches to virtual environments, each with their own unique twist. Many of us were already exploring the use of “virtual” learning tools, using less intuitive tools to create “virtual humans;” examples of artificial intelligence on our computers. One of the approaches to that early work was Peter Plantec’s Virtual Humans: A Build-It-Yourself Kit, still a

vailable on Amazon and still of value to those interested in the field. I spent many hours with that book and CD, trying to recreate Peter’s “Sylvie,” the personality that lived on his computer, kept his schedule, and served as a “buddy.” Continue reading

Celebrating our Veterans through Improved Access to Higher Education

By Linda Jeschofnig, Founder and CEO of Hands-On Labs 

This week, America honors the hundreds of thousands of Veterans who have so-well served our country and kept it safe from harm’s way. More than ever, since WWII, Veterans are seeking to improve their futures by going to college. The 2009 post- 9/11 GI Bill and numerous institutional initiatives are helping them do so.

The new GI Bill provides Veterans with excellent educational opportunities by covering the cost for in-state tuition and providing stipends to help with books and living expenses. These payments can be applied toward specialized training certificates, apprentice programs, college degrees, and even graduate programs. See: http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
Continue reading

Resources to Help Struggling Students

Key1.jpgHow can instructors help struggling students who need tutoring and more assistance than the course time allows? For students willing to put in the extra time and energy to genuinely grasp difficult concepts, there are many new websites that can effectively serve in a self-guided tutoring role. These sites provide students with visual and interactive aids that may drive their understanding better than traditional textual explanations.  They also provide instructors with easy access to a history of the students’ activities and progress.

Most people think of the Khan Academy as just a collection of videos on various educational topics. However, it and similar tutorial sites like instaGrok have expanded into much larger interactive platforms that provide students with active learning and assessment tools and instructors with evaluation and tracking tools. These sites span areas of interest from elementary to college levels and cover the majority of academic topics, including the sciences. Plus, they are free!
Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: