SUNY Empire State and Carolina Distance Learning Explore Online Science: Challenges And Solutions

Concurrent Session 3

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this session, Dr. Sujatha Kadaba, Assistant Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Technology at SUNY Empire State University, in Saratoga Springs, NY, will share her experience building and offering online labs in partnership with Carolina Distance Learning. The investigations have been designed for distance learning using in house laboratory components and state of the art technology tools.


Sujatha Kadaba holds a doctorate in Molecular Biology and Genetics and is a recipient of postdoctoral fellowships in Microbiology. She is an experienced instructor of Biology courses. She started her teaching career at Dutchess Community College, NY where she taught Biology courses to science and non-science majors. The diverse educational background of students at this college enabled her to use her innovative teaching techniques to motivate students. She was awarded the Educational Opportunity Excellence Award for exceptional support to students. Sujatha is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Empire State College where she is involved in developing and teaching higher level Biology courses with labs for distance learning. She was on the advisory board for Pearson Learning-Teaching science to non-science majors and at Carolina Biological Company-Distance Learning. Apart from teaching, Sujatha is an avid promoter of STEM education in elementary schools. She is a Mentor and Educator for LEGO robotics and Future City programs in her local school. She is also an active volunteer for the AIM for SEVA foundation which promotes education in rural areas of India. Through this foundation, residential schools have been built in 13 rural towns of India where children who do not have access to education study here.
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 SUNY Empire State and Carolina Distance Learning Lab Kits.