Teaching Online Lab Science Courses: Challenges And Solutions

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Science education has been challenged by the demands and rapid growth of online education. One challenge is how to run lab sections of science courses online. This session will include learning about hands-on lab investigations that have been developed for off-campus, online science courses, that maintain college-level rigor.


Stephanie has been developing lab investigations and helping faculty design lab kits for their distance learning courses for the past four years in the Distance Learning Department at Carolina Biological Supply Company. She previously taught biology courses at the University of North Georgia and Concord University. She earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University, and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Georgia Southern University. Jessica has spent the last 18 years teaching biology classes at Central Carolina Community College. She has been teaching online for 11 years and has always been an advocate for hands on learning in a distance science classes. Her passion is teaching A&P and she was recently challenged to develop a two semester, fully online, A&P course. She earned a MS in Animal Physiology from Clemson University and a MSP in Forensic Science from the University of Florida, when she was a part time distance student herself.

Extended Abstract

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is consistently ranked among the best public colleges in the nation, earning its distinction as a Public Ivy. The university prioritizes success for all students, regardless of ability or disability, learning style preference, or mastery of the language of instruction. To this end, UCSB was looking to bolster student success by enabling a move towards Universal Design for course content.

In this session, we will outline the principles of Universal Design and how they relate to academic accessibility, ultimately leading to student success.

At all academic levels, instructors encounter students with a variety of learning styles and abilities. Some learn best visually, others are auditory learners and some prefer to absorb information by reading. Maybe English isn’t their first language. Or, perhaps the student has a physical, sensory or learning difficulty. The goal of higher education is to maximize learning for all students, and incorporating the principles of universal design into class instruction helps achieve this objective.

In this session, we will take an in depth look at some of the core concepts of universal design in course content, including:

Equitable use: course materials are useful and accessible to students with diverse abilities
Flexible use: curriculum accommodates a wide range of learning preferences and abilities
Perceptible information: information is communicated effectively to the student, regardless of ambient conditions or sensory abilities.

We will link these topics to the key role of transcription and captioning in providing all students with an equal shot at academic success.