Failing to Learn: Best Practices from the Development of an Online Lab Course

Concurrent Session 9

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Interested in developing a fully online lab course, but don’t know where to start? Join us as we talk about lessons learned in the development of a fully online Electrochemical Methods lab course. We’ll talk about the pain points, and extrapolate best practices.


Sing is currently the Manager of Learning Design and Solutions at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. At the Clearinghouse, he manages a team of learning designers, production specialists, and developers to produce researched-based educational solutions to help improve the lives of United States military members and their families. His areas of expertise include instructional design, educational technology, faculty development, adult learning, student engagement, active learning, MOOCs, and the development of STEM-related courses. Sing has previously presented presenter at various education conferences, including the OLC Accelerate, Learning Solutions, and the Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium.
Emily Baxter is an Instructional Designer in the eLearning Design & Innovation Group (eLDIG) in the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Over the last 20 years, she has had experience designing instruction for a wide range of learners - from preschoolers through adults. In her position as an Instructional Designer, Emily enjoys having the opportunity to collaborate with other faculty to create meaningful course experiences that utilize best practices in online education.

Extended Abstract

Interested in developing a fully online lab course, but don’t know where to start? Neither did we when we were first tasked with the development of an online equivalent for a senior-level undergraduate lab course. After two years of development and a waste bin full of well intentioned plans (not to mention a couple of pounds of chocolate consumed), we launched in summer of 2016 with nine online labs and a collective sigh of relief.

In our discovery session, we’ll talk about the approach and pedagogy we took for developing a fully online lab course, highlight pain points and challenges, extrapolate best practices, and review student and instructor feedback. By the end of our session, participants will come away with knowledge of how they can approach developing their own lab courses, cautions from our development, resources for story boarding, and tools for collaboration and file management.