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5 Ways to Supplement Your Online Class

A question we hear frequently from instructors that use our materials is how to best supplement their online classes. They have the lectures online and the lab kits, but what are additional ways to engage their students? Our resident scientist and pedagogy genius, Dr. Duane Cagle, weighs in on 5 ways to supplement your courses:

  1. Video content

Students learn better when you give them video. Video gives students more context and visualization on different concepts and allows them to come away with more information. Especially when you are teaching lab science, showing will always be better than telling, and video allows us to tell.

  1. Peer interaction among students

Allowing your students to interact with their labs could greatly improve their learning outcomes. While this is difficult in a distance learning course, video calling platforms- like Skype- make is easy for remote students to interact. When students interact, it gives them a chance to vocalize and understand their data at a deeper level. Furthermore, it allows students to teach each other different concepts, thus solidifying their understanding.

  1. LMS Integration

Giving your students a seamless learning environment will cut down on frustration and give students the chance to focus on what really matters: learning. Luckily our HOLCloud platform can integrate with all the most popular Learning Management Systems.

  1. Newsletters

Keeping your information relevant is important. A lot of instructors and professors write newsletters that update students on news relating to topics discussed in class. For example, if you are teaching students about genetics, a news article about new developments in CRISPR could keep students’ interest.

  1. Linking your lab material and lecture material

“A challenge for a lot of students taking science is relating to the information presented,” says Duane Cagle, our resident scientist. If you have a lecture attached with your lab course, you need to ensure that the two are relating. It will only be confusing for students if the two seem disconnected.

students in a classroom

Are Online Sciences Classes Effective?

Distance and online education is growing. In the Fall of 2016, there were over 6 million students taking at least one online course. Clayton Christensen, a business professor at Harvard University, believes that as many as half of American universities will close in the next two decades due to competition from online and distance education. Outside of the classroom, more and more college students are avoiding  academic advising in a face-to-face setting. As there is a greater push for distance education, it raises the question of whether or not these kinds of classes are as effective as a traditional college setting.

Since distance and online education are relatively new topics, or at least new to mainstream popularity, there isn’t an enormous amount of research on this topic. However, there are a few early studies, which suggest online education is as effective, if not more, than a traditional education.

A recent survey conducted by the Learning House asked 1,500 students who engaged in online education their thoughts on their experiences. From this survey, 86% of the respondents thought that the degree they received was equal or greater in value than the tuition they paid. So from a student perspective, it has a good return on investment! Furthermore, 85% of the respondents thought that their online education was as good as or better than a traditional setting. Looking at this, students clearly value online education.

However, just because students perceivably like online more traditional, it does not mean it is necessarily a better education. Luckily, there are a few studies which can clue us in on this, as well. A study done in 2004 at the University of Connecticut found that students taking food safety courses in a distance setting did as well as students in the traditional setting. This was determined by looking at performance from students in both groups, while also looking at factors like time spent studying, language barriers, etc. Furthermore, research done by professors at MIT, Harvard, and China’s Tsinghua University, found that students taking massive open online courses (MOOC) learn just as much as students in a traditional setting, regardless of their prior knowledge of the material.

So far the signs look pretty good for the effectiveness of online classes. However, Teachnology brings up a fair point when considering the effectiveness of online education. Education is a give-and-take experience. Many students will get out of it what they put in. This is true in a traditional format, as well as a distance format. A lazy student in a traditional setting may not do much better in an online or distance setting. However, there are also many different learning styles depending on the person. For some, a traditional education may be better for their learning need, while for others online education is an obvious choice.

Edcor: Hands-On Labs Upgrade Online Learning

Hands-On Labs Chemistry LabPaq

Since 2006, Ocean County College has been designing lab-based biology, chemistry, and physics distance learning courses to include the full complement of offerings in its college catalog, thus making it possible to earn an associate in science degree entirely online.

“Aside from a pedagogically rigorous course construction, the key to the success of our distance learning science courses is the use of Hands-On Learning’s Cloud (Denver Colorado) a virtual platform that serves as a valuable resource for the labs that HOL produces,” said Marc J. LaBella, Associate Professor of Biology, e-Learning. According to LaBella, the Cloud removes the limitation on what learners can access in terms of support materials and is fully integrated into Ocean County College’s existing learning management system, Canvas.

Read the full story on Edcor’s website.

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.

Click here for a printable copy.