Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and Carolina Distance Learning Explore Online Science: Challenges and Solutions

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

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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. Basic science can be taught online when accompanied by well-designed investigations that can be completed in the student’s home. Another challenge can be once the faculty member is ready to order, how does the purchasing process occur most efficiently and ensure that faculty and student needs are being met.  This session will include the experience of actively taking part in a hands on lab investigation developed for online science courses, as well as a robust discussion that addresses efficiency through strategic partnerships between colleges, universities and vendors.





Coming from a background in classroom teaching at a primary level, Lindsay has been working in higher education for six years. During that time she has brought an updated, standardized and innovative approach to the areas of academic procurement, vendor management, and resource distribution. Lindsay holds Master's degrees in Instructional Design and Technology as well as Organizational Leadership, is CAPM and Scrum Master certified, and has published works related to her many projects at Southern New Hampshire University. When not working, Lindsay - a New Hampshire native - enjoys spending time outdoors boating, hiking fishing, and camping.
Heather is a champion for higher education, and brings a unique combination of insight, education, and experience to her position as Distance Learning Regional Sales Manager. Heather’s positive energy and keen eye for detail are assets in her ability to customize actionable strategies and communicate clear success outcomes for faculty leaders, team members, and students. Heather received her B.S. in Business Administration from Elon University, and continued on to work in Elon Admissions as Senior Associate Director of Admissions and as Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions. She has her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Extended Abstract

The best way to learn science is by doing science, but how can distance learning students do science in their homes? A lack of quality, safe, and affordable lab materials can prevent students from doing the kinds of rigorous, hands-on lab investigations they would on campus.

There are alternatives to traditional lab materials, such as videos and simulations. However, such alternatives do not fully capture the essence of a physical experimental setup. Videos are experienced passively, which makes them poor substitutes for interactive involvement.  Most simulations are very low-stakes endeavors. Students can’t run out of materials, mistakes are easily reversed, and the number of possible outcomes is very limited. No preparation or cleanup is necessary; events typically do not unfold in real time.  Lab kits can provide quality instructional materials to support active, engaged learning.  Online Institutions are interested in tools and services that make them more effective and efficient in providing and growing their programs.  Vendors that understand the challenges of client institutions and can create products and services to relieve that need can serve institutions well.  A vendor may sell you a product, but those you want to partner with are experts at what they do, so they can provide successful implementation.  Come and learn how this process is being lived out through the strategic relationship between SNHU and Carolina Distance Learning Lab Kits.