5 Tips to Prepare Incoming Students to Use Labster

Ginelle Testa

You’ve got access to your Labster virtual labs and all their accompanying materials. Perhaps it’s your first time teaching with interactive simulations, or you’re a seasoned instructor. What are the best ways to prepare your incoming students to use Labster?

We asked our educators in the Community Campus about their suggestions. Some use it as a pre-lab, some as a post, and some as a replacement for expensive or timely physical labs. 

Here are 5 tips to prepare your students from educators using Labster. 

1. Have course materials ready ahead of time

To facilitate a smooth transition into Labster, it's important for instructors to make sure the Labster simulations they're using are added to their course and linked from their syllabi. Consider opening access to the first assignment before classes begin so students can visualize how it works and familiarize themselves with the platform.

A University professor shared, “I think that the most important way that we can prepare incoming students is to have the course materials and tutorials made available way in advance of the course start date. That way, they can get their feet wet, interact with a new platform, and not feel pressured to perform on the first day of classes.”

2. Utilize introductory labs

Labster has a Lab Safety simulation and an Introductory Lab simulation. Many high school and college-level instructors shared that they use these labs to prepare students for a semester of using Labster. Students can make mistakes in the virtual lab so that they don’t make them in person!

3. Share Labster’s connectivity to the curriculum

Each Labster simulation has a storyline that connects scientific concepts to real-life situations to better reinforce the information. Sharing that Labster will connect clearly to the curriculum can help get students excited about what they’re going to learn. It will also help them clearly reinforce their learning.

4. Allow students multiple attempts at the first lab

While Labster’s platform is easy to use, it can take some time to get familiar with Dr. One, the lab assistant, and the virtual environment. Consider doing your first lab in the classroom together and allow students multiple attempts to pass the lab. 

A community college instructor shared, “I let them bring in their device during the first weeks so that I can help them with completing the assignment when they get stuck.”

5. Show them where to access troubleshooting tips

We hope it never happens, but once in a while, students get stuck while doing a simulation. Showing them Labster’s Help Center articles and how to contact support can be supportive in case they need to utilize the resources. Some educators even have the tips up their own sleeve!

A high school instructor shared, “I immediately show students how to clear their cache or browsing data in Chrome and show them all of the troubleshooting tips and tricks from the Student Guide.”

What are your tips? Feel free to share them with us in the Community Campus, which is a platform for science educators to exchange ideas, share thought leadership, and earn gifts along the way!
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