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Administering Distance Learning Lab Science Courses with Hands-on Learning (E)

Stream: Supporting Teaching, Learning and Student Success

In 2018, Hudson Valley Community College began to explore the idea of a Virtual College. A major hurdle was that most programs require a lab science, and our lab sciences had always been taught in-person. Currently, we have successfully transitioned six entry-level lab science courses, across biology, chemistry, and physics, to be taught in the 100% online modality. This initiative has progressed quickly and without compromising the course learning objectives and importantly, not compromising hands-on learning. We have utilized some virtual simulation, robust discussion forums, some creativity with student model building and manipulation, and multiple course usage of a laboratory kit (Science Interactive – Hands on Labs). In one course alone, Chemistry 105 Concepts Chemistry, we have grown enrollment from 5-10 locally enrolled students yearly to over 100 globally enrolled students yearly. Other courses that we have transitioned are experiencing similar enrollment increases. Our objective is to provide the greatest possible access and opportunity to all students by offering our lab science courses in the traditional in-person, hybrid, and completely online modalities. There are many challenges associated with meeting this goal, but with some creativity and problem solving, we have established a model that has been validated by enrollment trends and outcomes.

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