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Hands-On Learning earns Quality Matters certification

Hands-On Learning Earns Quality Matters Certification

Hands-On Learning (HOL) is pleased to announce it has earned the first and only science lab content certification by Quality Matters (QM). HOL is a distance learning technology and consulting company providing innovative STEM solutions to align higher education with private industry for effective workforce development. HOL delivers the only product on the market that combines a cloud-based learning platform, modern teaching theories and the essential hands-on science component to build STEM competencies in higher education and today’s workforce.

A leader in quality assurance for online education, QM has received national recognition for its peer-based approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning.  QM’s rigorous standards evaluate diversity in student assessments, comprehensiveness in instructional materials, amount and quality of student engagement and intuitive, accessible technology.

“We’re honored to be recognized as the industry leader by a well-respected authority in the field,”said John Miller, Chief Operating Officer at HOL.“HOL’s distance learning solutions provide higher education institutions the opportunity to provide today’s generation with the hands-on experience and skills required to best develop the workforce.”

HOL’s industry-recognized model is built upon the principle of blending hands-on experimentation with cutting-edge technology to yield a powerful yet flexible educational experience. To meet the increasingly diverse needs of institutions, HOL offers three product lines with more than 500 lab experiences covering all major science disciplines. Each product line allows the experience to be tailored to students and instructors, and features laboratory-grade equipment and materials for a hands-on learning environment. All coursework is guided by well-defined learning objectives that follow a Bloom’s taxonomy progression, assisting with student development of higher order thinking skills. The cloud-based digital learning platform provides for anywhere, anytime learning, allowing for higher education institutions to reach more students and provide superior instruction.

LabBridge Solutions, HOL’s premier solution set, boosts instructor and student interaction via rich, engaging technology. The product’s digital features also provide meaningful analytics, empowering instructors to instantaneously deliver content and track progress. LabPaq, HOL’s deluxe solution set, delivers a customizable curriculum with the flexibility to configure a set of experiments to meet course-level learning objectives. STEMpaq, HOL’s most recent addition, serves as the solution for the economically minded institution, satisfying the fundamental laboratory competencies required for general education.

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Students Perform Better with Online Science Classes - LabPaq

Clark State Community College Finds Students Perform Better with Online Science Classes

Last year, 7.1 million students at colleges and universities in the United States took at least one online course, according to a recent survey. But for students who enrolled in online science classes, how did they get their lab experience to complete the course?

At Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, students taking Introduction to Chemistry can conduct hands-on “wet lab” experiments in their own kitchens. Using chemistry kits produced by LabBridge Solutions, the students can create chemical reactions with solids and liquids poured into test tubes after learning the step-by-step instructions on a website.

The kits, which were upgraded in January, cost less than $300 and include the scientific equipment and materials needed to conduct 14 labs for the course. The LabBridge website also offers background material and illustrations for each experiment, instructions on how to conduct the labs, and an evaluation section where the students can apply what they’ve learned to real-world problems.

What’s surprising about these online science courses at Clarkson State Community College is that students who take the online version earn higher grades than those who take the equivalent course on campus. An analysis of grades in both formats of the course in Fall 2013 showed that 44 percent of those enrolled in the online version with LabBridge earned an A or B, compared to only 18 percent of those in the bricks-and-mortar course.

Fewer student also failed the online version of the course. Only 11 percent of the LabBridge students earned an F, while 21 percent of those taking the course on campus did so, according to Midge Hall, a professor of chemistry at the college.

Hall firmly believes students using LabBridge with an online course learn better than their counterparts who take the course on campus.

“If you observe students in a lab situation, they have lab partners and a lot of times, one person does all the work and the other person fetches,” Hall says. “One person is a pair of hands, and the other person is thinking and giving directions. When people are home doing it by themselves, they have to do all the thinking. It makes them interested and excited about it.”

What demonstrated the students’ interest in the online course were two students who asked Hall if they could complete two of the labs they missed after the course was over. The requirements in Hall’s course is for the students to complete 12 out of the 14 labs. “I’ve never had a student come to me and ask to make up a lab,” Hall says.

While Hall is convinced that online science classes are as good as those on campus, not all science professors share her view. At a recent meeting of science faculty in Ohio, many argued that online science courses were not an acceptable alternative.

“There’s a big hurdle there,” Hall says. “I think that introductory science courses are very appropriate online. The faculty in the sciences need to recognize this is a valid alternative.”

 

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