Labster emphasizes the theory behind the labs. With the step-by-step reflection, it is easier for students to carry that knowledge forward so that they don't find themselves in an advanced class when they missed some basic concepts in their gateway class.
Dr. Onesimus Otieno
Dr. Onesimus Otieno is a Professor of Biological Sciences and chairs the Education Technology committee at Oakwood University in Alabama. He is a big advocate for online learning and has been using Labster for over three years, since before the pandemic.
He is currently teaching a fully online gateway course, freshman general biology, that has both majors and non-majors. Professors in the Chemistry and Physics/Math Departments also use Labster. They are currently in the process of introducing Labster and UbiSim to colleagues in nursing.
Gateway courses have both majors and non-majors. How do you level the playing field and ensure all students succeed in class and the lab? Dr. Otieno uses Labster.
Most used simulations:
Curriculum alignment with gateway courses
“I find that the virtual labs map to my curriculum. There are a variety of simulations, introductory and those that are deeper. I think for the introductory for non-majors and first-year STEM courses, Labster works very well. “
Labster is key for building foundational knowledge
“Labster emphasizes the theory behind the labs. With the step-by-step reflection, it is easier for students to carry that knowledge forward so that they don't find themselves in an advanced class when they missed some basic concepts in their gateway class. It's so important they understand the core principles behind what they’re mixing, for example. That is where virtual labs come in.”
Simulation questions better prepare students
“When students do a simulation and they meet their colleagues who did the experiment in class, they actually feel very confident that they had a comparable learning experience and are not intimidated. I believe they likely have a better theoretical understanding than those who did the wet lab because Labster asks questions along the way - just like partnering one-on-one with the instructor.”
Performance and assessment reports
“I like that I'm able to assess as I go. Labster gives students questions during the simulation that they have to answer, and it gives you performance and assessment reports at the end of the simulation. It is hard to do this in class during a wet lab.”
Students as technology advocates
“When I’m speaking to instructors in my digital learning tool committee, students are actually the biggest advocates for Labster. They say to their instructors, ‘Have you tried this thing I used in another class?’ And they may be more open to adopting these techniques.”
Opportunity to repeat experiments
“If a student spills a chemical in the lab, they have to clean it up, and class is over. In virtual labs, they get the excitement of moving things around without negative consequences and can repeat the scenario, focusing on a different aspect of the simulation.”
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