The National University of Singapore (NUS) places innovation and hands-on-learning at the core of its curriculum. Discover how professor Bina Rai uses virtual labs to elevate the university's Biomedical Engineering program, and shift pedagogy towards individualized mentorship.
With Labster, I lecture less to large groups and instead focus my attention on teaching individually and more meaningfully.”
The National University of Singapore (NUS) places innovation and hands-on-learning at the core of its curriculum. Discover how professor Bina Rai uses virtual labs to expand her curriculum, empower students, and shift pedagogy towards individualised mentorship.
NUS prepares students for a variety of competitive STEM careers. To keep its students on the cutting edge of their fields, the university strives to expand, enrich, and innovate its pedagogy.
Professor Bina Rai introduced Labster’s interactive 3D virtual labs as a tool to grow the school’s Biomedical Engineering program beyond the limitations of conventional wet labs and lectures.
By introducing Labster to NUS, Professor Bina Rai has been able to expand the school’s bioengineering
curriculum. Labster can now fill gaps in expensive lab equipment, while also saving time by condensing wet
labs and lectures. Student tracking helps Bina identify knowledge gaps. She now spends less time lecturing and more time going over individual student needs, one-on-one.
Simulations used: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), Spectrophotometry
• Fill gaps in expensive lab equipment with interactive lab simulations
• Condense wet labs with virtual experiences that can be repeated multiple times
• Track student progress to focus teaching on learning gaps and roadblocks
• Use hybrid learning to spend less time lecturing, more time mentoring one-on-one
Bina Rai teaches biomedical engineering at the National University of Singapore. Bina used Labster in a previous role, and introduced it to NUS when she joined as a lecturer.
How do virtual labs change the way students relate to material?
"The thing that I like about Labster is the real world aspects to it. I like the fact that there there’s a story, so for example the crime scene investigation, where students have to solve use science to solve a murder. It’s engaging and it shows real world applications."
How does Labster help you target student needs?
"If I were to be conducting a physical lab, I can’t really identify all the mistakes that everyone is making. But if I assign Labster as homework, I can see their scores and the number of attempts. It tells me what I need to focus on, what kind of guidance I need to provide. If I were to just deliver a lecture, without actually having a hands-on component, it becomes very non-interactive, but with Labster, I lecture less to large groups and instead focus my attention on teaching individually and more meaningfully."
Does Labster help you rethink what you can teach?
"With Labster, I can expose students to skills that I would not have otherwise been able to. For example, NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), requires a $30,000 machine. I would not have been able to teach that, but I do it with Labster and the kids actually particularly like that simulation."
Where does Labster best fit into your curriculum?
"I really appreciate how the condensed format helps students see labs through to the end. For biology even if I were to organise a three hour session, the likelihood of them actually getting a result at the end is very low. Most experiments require a few days of incubation and the right skills to get the results that you want. With Labster, you can always get to the end and analyse your data."
How has Labster impacted learning?
"I feel that at the university level, you know, we should be equipping them with skills for lifelong learning. And this is one one step towards that in a way they cannot take charge of their learning because they can play as many times as they want. They are taking charge of their time, and in doing so, I am transferring ownership of their education onto them."
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