Teaching science labs online

As instructors prepare for the fall semester, it is important to consider how laboratories can be created for the online environment. This workshop will explore the basics of creating an online version of your science laboratory course. This will include information on:

  • using existing laboratory kits for hands-on experiments
  • the flow of key course components
  • creation of videos and demos
  • how to find free resources

Keep Teaching: Teaching science labs online

Recorded 05-21-2020

Description of the video:

Gina >> I have some people that will help manage the chat, so if you have questions, please go ahead and type them in the chat so that we might address them throughout, and we'll also have some time for Q&A at the end of the webinar as well. Anusha >> Gina, the webinar is being recorded right now. Gina >> Right. Anusha >> So we'll share the PowerPoint then the webinar recording in a post event email with everybody. Gina >> Okay. Great. Yes, of course. So this is what I said that I wanted to talk about throughout the webinar. So we're first going to look at some first steps and things that I think are very important not only in online courses but also that could really be important in a science lab class that's online. We're going to talk a little bit about the lab kits, different companies that offer lab kits, what those look like. We'll look at virtual things that you can purchase versus physical lab experiments that you can purchase and what my process was and how I did that. We will also look at my overall course layout. So specific units, specific components that I build into every module or to every unit so students knew exactly what was going to happen each time. Then we'll look at some videos and how you can use resources that might already exist, or maybe how you would create your own videos and why that can be really important in an online lab class. So we're going to start with the first steps. First, I just want to talk a little bit about what was really important to me when developing this course. It was really important that I mimicked what the face-to-face course was offering. So to understand that this is not a new course created specifically just for online learning. This is actually a face-to-face course that's been offered since 2013, I believe, where we have close to 400 students enrolled throughout the academic year, and so it's really important that I kept the same learning outcomes that I was using in the face-to-face class. I use some of the same assessments and the learning materials. So that was really important to me. I also wanted to make sure that I included not only virtual lab experiments but also some hands-on experiments for the students as well so that they could physically do certain things at home and try things out and kind of be the scientist. Then I also looked at some of these tools that are already available that we can use and how they might be really important in a lab course. How I used Quick Checks, which is a really neat feature. How I use Google Docs. We'll talk about how I can encourage student interaction through the discussion forums, and then how I use some things that are already existing and things that we might not look at, but using YouTube and Tour Creator were two big components of my online classes as well. So first, let's look at the Canvas tools. It's really important that we are very clear with students that these are the tools that they're going to be expected to use throughout the entire class. I did this with all of my online classes where I highlight what tools I'm going to be using. If you aren't familiar with them, I recommend that you go to a KB document and test those out. There are certain things that students of course are very familiar with, such as maybe Announcements or Assignments, but maybe they've never used IU eTexts where you actually have to explain, yes, your textbook is in the course, this is where you find it. The same thing with the chat and maybe how I want to use the chat as an online instructor. Then I highlight the learning materials and the tools that I'm going to be using to teach these learning materials throughout the class. So these are all of the different learning materials that I use and making sure students understand what the purpose of that material, use of that material is that's going to help them learn as the class goes on. So these aren't just specific to lab classes, these are things that I included in all of my online courses. I don't know that that needs... So things that I wanted to make sure I always included in an online or in an online lab class: safety. So just because we're not meeting in a physical lab room and we have benches and hoods and all of these things, I still want to make sure that students were aware that lab safety is a thing. Whether you're doing the lab experiment at your kitchen table, whether you're doing it on a bench in a classroom, you need to make sure that you are safe and that you take the particular precautions with working with different kinds of chemicals. Because my students do work with open flame or they work with ethanol or other types of things that might be harmful. So what's some PPE or personal protective equipment? What does it look like? What do you use it for? So I definitely go over this with the students. They're required to read my safety rules. So I know that all of the face-to-face labs they're required to look at these rules that the department or the program might have for conducting labs in the space like no gum chewing, you must have close-toed shoes. I go over this stuff with students and I make sure that they acknowledge what those rules are and they actually do sign a lab safety sheet. The other thing that I find important for students is for them to be able to identify specific items. So because we're not in the physical space where I could just point to a graduated cylinder maybe on the shelf in my lab room, I actually want to show them what it looks like. This is where I've used some videos. So I've actually done some videos with myself holding up different items that students might not know what they are. This is a tube that's used for where I do a DNA extraction lab. So it's actually like a standing conical tube. Students don't know what conical tubes are. So I hold this out. I make sure I use that name when I'm explaining what that is. This can be done with images. So even if you can't do a video, you might be able to find images and resources on the Internet that you could then post a document that include what those items look like, or if you're using a lab kit, maybe you physically get the kit, you take out every single item, use your own camera to take pictures of all of those items and then write down what they are. It does seem tedious, but this can really help out students a lot and know what the material is and what it's used for. That's what I have on the second part of this slide here is that identifying which item is going to be used for which lab experiment. I realized that when my students get the kit, it's basically a shoe box filled with a bunch of material and there's really no organization to those items. Also, some of the items might be used more than once. So they might have a 12-well plate that they're using for multiple lab experiments. So I go through the packing list and I actually physically wrote on the packing list which labs they're using that item for, so that way when students pull up that packing list and the items, they can try to match the item to the lab experiment. These things just really save some time. They really help the students figure out what they're going to be using and what they're going to be using it for. Now I'm going to talk a little bit about the lab kits. I know that I have mentioned that I do use a lab kit in my class, but it's not necessary for all classes. So this is the only slide that I have to talk about this because it's really up to the instructor what they want to do. If you want to have hands-on lab components, there are companies out there and I highlight three companies here. eScience Labs is what I use, which is now called Science Interactive, I believe, Carolina Labs, and Hands-on Labs. Those are three companies that I reached out to. Ones that I got their kits, did a lot of research, figured out what I liked, what I didn't like about them. Some of them allow you to modify or customize their kit where you can take out certain items that you're not going to use, or maybe you found a lab experiment in a different course that you thought would be applicable to yours, you can put it in there. Other companies don't allow you to do that. So they are saying, "No, this is the kit, this is how it comes. This is what you get, you can't take anything out or add anything additional." These companies also have a lot of interfaces where students can go to their website, they have an interactive lab manual, they could fill out worksheets right there. They're all variable and it's really up to you what you want to use. I'll have a resource that I can share that you guys can get at the end of the webinar with a bunch of other information, not just what I have on here. These are ones that I just picked out that I thought were the top companies. The same thing goes for virtual labs. So if you want to use some virtual labs in your lab course, there are companies out there that already have these built. You can purchase some of them. Some of them are free. So there's just so many resources out there that you can find and I just wanted to make you all aware of that. So what did I do? I use the eScience Labs to do my kit. They did have a forensic kit already available and I got the kit, identified all the different items, and actually, there were some experiments that I was not going to use in my class. Like, I'm not going to have my students dissect a frog. So I said, "I don't really want this a part of the kit," and they were very happy to customize the kit according to my needs in my class. Something that is very important if you're planning on using a lab kit and this is the idea of the timeline. A lot of these companies currently right now because of what's going on and a lot of labs are going online are very overwhelmed and their timeline is a lot longer than you would expect. So by the end, I was told that if I wanted to do online labs through the fall that I needed to order my kits by the end of May to have those ready for fall. Now, every company is different. My kit is customized, so there might be extra materials that are required or special things they can't find. So really when you decide on a kit, it's important that you communicate really well with their customer service to figure out when that kit will be shipped to students, when the students need to order it by, those types of things so you're prepared for that. Maybe you can move some of your material around to have some of the hands-on components towards the end of the semester if it's going to take longer for that kit to arrive to the student. Now we're going to go into my course layout and how I put my course together, what I thought were the most important sections that I wanted to include. This is just a snapshot of one of the modules from my class. In this module I will have an overview of what we're going to be doing in that module which will include each component that students are going to be doing. I'll have my lecture material, and my lecture material consists of and we'll look at some of those readings and things that I've written up. I use quick checks as a pre-lab for students to make sure they're understanding the material and check themselves. I have reading material in all of my modules as well. This includes reading material from the lab manual that I use. This is the same lab manual that the face-to-face students use. I was able to get that as my e-text. Then I also have reading material that comes from the manufacturer of the lab kit. I actually use some of their reading material as well. Then we go into the lab procedures. Depending on how many lab procedures there are that go with that unit. Here we can see there's actually two hands-on lab exercises that students will complete. Then I actually do have a virtual lab experiment as well. Then the assessment and the way that I'll be collecting their lab worksheets that they're doing would be next. Then the last part, and this is part of every module, is I do a discussion over whatever topic that we're touching base on here. I'll have them maybe read an article, watch a video, and then reflect together within groups in smaller groups maybe on what the importance of crime scene investigation might be in a real world situation, and why evidence might be important, and how it's put into the courtroom. Things that might actually affect them in some way. Things that they might be able to relate to and open that discussion out. We'll talk a little bit. I can show you another example of that. Here's what my introduction of the module looks like. I actually did recordings of all of my introductions where I'm speaking about what we're going to be talking about in that module. Here you can see I did a video, I did them in Zoom or Kaltura. Very simple. I did put thumbnails on each of my videos just so that way it's not my funny face with my hair all over the place and having my eyes closed when students click on that. That's very easily done. This is only two minutes long where I'm just talking about where I'm going to be doing crime scene investigation, there's two different units, these are the different areas that we're going to talking about. Then I also include the learning outcomes so students will know what is going to be included here. Then something that I think's really important is how much time I'm expecting students to spend in that module or on that unit. I clearly tell them it's going to take you 12 hours to do this entire module. That's going to be six hours per unit. This includes reading all of the material, going through all the videos, doing the actual lab experiment, both hands on and virtual, filling out the worksheet, participating in the discussion forums. It's really important to be transparent with students on what you're expecting them as far as time. I do this in my lecture classes as well, where I talk about taking a 15-week course, cramming it into six weeks, and how much time I'm expecting them to spend each week on my course. This gives students a really clear idea, "I need to spend this amount of time in this class this week so I can get through all the learning material." >> Gina, we have a question about group assignment on Canvas for your lab process. >> Sure. >> Do you find these groups online and do you do them on Canvas? >> Yes. I do assign groups to my students. I go into people and then I build a group. I usually do random matching of students. I just limit it to the number of people per group. This is a nice way for discussion. That way there talking with the same five to seven students every time they're discussing a topic, and they can build some type of camaraderie with that group of each other throughout the course. Students don't really know, they don't really see it. As the instructor you see all of the groups, but the students really only see the group that they're in and the group they're interacting with. They don't necessarily know that there are multiple groups. But yeah, good question. I think it's nice to do that because if you have especially large classes, it's nice to have shorter discussion forums for students or not to overwhelm by seeing every students reply. They only see their five to seven members of their groups reply. For my reading material I'm very specific. I tell them which pages they're reading, where they need to find the textbook. If I link them to an article or for other material, I'll have those links as well in that overview of the unit, which you can see here. I use pages pretty regularly to organize a lot of the reading material for students. Most of this I've written myself. Where I wrote material, put some images in there. But I've also used things from the lab manual as well and built that into pages in the Canvas. This just makes the student go like I said, each step-by-step. They start with the overview, they go to the lecture material and their reading material, they go to the quick check. They are very comfortable and everything is right there as they go step-by-step through the course material. I use quick checks as a pre-lab. Make sure that students do this before they start the lab procedure so they're really comfortable with the material. Here's an example of what the reading was. They had to look at different levels of fingerprints and different identification levels. Then they go through this quick check here. They're short, maybe five to seven questions. I tell them which labs they go with. They should be able to find every single answer in all of the previous reading materials if they just complete it. If the students just go to the quick checks and they realize they don't know all the answers, it might force them to go back and do some of the reading as well. It just ensures that students are learning that material before they move on. What's nice about the quick checks is students can always do them. You can't set up due dates for the quick checks so that they are due at a certain time. But then students can go back and do them again if they wanted to use them to study for maybe the exam, but their grades are only counted if they're completed by the due date. >> So here's what my lab instructions look like. I'm very clear. I do a short video for each lab which talks about the items that they're going to use specifically for that lab and I highlight what those items are by showing the student what the item looks like. Then I actually list each item that they will be using that is supplied in their kit or that they must provide on their own. So knowing that students aren't going to be given for this lab here they use a sock, but they actually have to provide their own sock for this lab exercise. Then I'll have step-by-step instructions on what to do. I do this for each of my labs, both the hands-on labs and the virtual labs. So what they're going to do, how they're going to go through the material, where they're going, if they're going to be taking images or drawings, and where they're going to put that information. So they're putting all of that into their laboratory worksheet. Maybe they'll have any mage or material that they might need to complete, that will be embedded into the instructions as well. So I talked a little bit about the lab worksheets, I use Google Docs which has been a really awesome thing. I'm super excited about this tool. When I learned about it, I wanted to use it for all of my classes. What's really great about Google Docs? So I take the lab worksheet which even what I do in my face to face classes, they fill out a worksheet. Maybe they do it right there while they're completing the lab, where they have all of the, not necessarily instructions, but insert or drawing here or record your observations in this table. Then I'll have some critical thinking questions at the end. So why do you think that this did what it did or what if I introduced this solution instead would you expect the reaction to be different? All of those are right written in there in that Google Doc. It was important that I made sure that students were participating in the lab. So in a face to face class you can see the students during the lab. You can see what they're doing, what they're interacting, how they're working with each other, if they're participating, if they're not participating, but you can't really get that feeling in an online class. So what I require the students to do is take an image of all lab materials first. So show me your setup. Where is your lab bench? Where is everything that needed to be? Then take a picture in the middle of the reaction. What does it look like? So I do a DNA extraction and I'll have this fruit and have the students take a picture at each step in the process so I can assure that they're participating. Then at the end, what is your final thin layer chromatography filter paper look like? Take a picture of it. Show me that you measured the different distances that the inks traveled. Then insert those pictures directly into your Google Doc. You can also have students maybe do a recording if you want them to record them doing the lab experiment and then upload their recordings. Something else that might be important is making sure that you know that that is the student that's doing the work. So have them write their name on an index card when they're taking the picture or use some object every time. I want you to make sure you include the same object every time in every single one of your images, so I know that you're the one that's submitting those photographs. Yes. >> We have a question above this photograph. So do all students have access to a smartphone or a camera? If not, what do you do when they don't have this access? This is a question from Kate. >> Yeah, so it's actually required. So in the materials that they must provide, it says that they must provide a smartphone or a camera to take images. So I haven't run into that problem where students didn't have a smartphone or a camera provided. I'm sure that if that happens in the future, it might be something where they draw what's going on and they have to scan documents and figure out how to get me some of those images because it's a big part of lab participation. So one more thing about Google Docs that I wanted to say was you have these in your Google Drive and you can actually make edits to them and they're automatically changed in the assignment that they're connected to which is also really helpful. So maybe you find that you're not too clear on something and you need to make edits, you can make edits directly in your Google Drive and then they will automatically be updated in your assignment in Canvas. They also work really well with speed grader as well. So when you're doing the grading, it flows very well. This is what that looks like. So students would record their observations of the bloodstain patterns in this table that I have listed here, I want them to insert a picture of their bloodstains cardstock when it's dry. If you go further down, it would have maybe some critical thinking questions they should think about during the lab or when the lab is concluded. Then the last part of my class that I wanted to make sure I didn't miss out on was that interactions between other students. When you're in a real lab setting, you're working really closely with a partner, you're bouncing ideas off each other, and I wanted to insist still feel that sense of community a little bit in this online environment. So I picked topics for each module that are real world issues or real situations where forensics might come into play. So this example, I really like this example and it talks about genetic kits that are becoming really popular, like 23andMe where people can see what their ancestry looks like. There's actually these very large databases that are public knowledge. Anyone can access these databases to look at DNA profiles. There's been multiple cases actually one in Fort Wayne, Indiana where it led to arrest of people from a crime, a cold case that happened years and years ago. So I give them some different information like the Fort Wayne case, I also maybe give them a news overview, something that's in the media that they can relate to, maybe even some information about this genetic privacy here. Then I guide their questions and how they reflect on that material and then they talk to each other about that. It's really important when you build discussions that you have very clear guidelines on when that at first initial response is due. So as you can see here, my first initial response is due on Friday, and then they have to respond to two other peers by Monday. So it gives them three whole days to respond to other students. That way, they have someone to respond to. You don't want to have the whole entire thing due on Monday because students might not do their initial response until Monday and no one would have time to respond. So that's definitely really important when building discussions and thinking about when things are due and when you're going to require the initial response, and then replies to other students. Are there any other questions before I move on to how I use videos and images in my course? >> We'll move on. Pictures can do a lot of things for you. I know that teaching a discipline or teaching, I teach non-science majors, concepts that you might not think they would get it, and so I take a lot of pictures. This is something that I just did at home, actually recently, where I wanted students to be able to see how you can take a cast of a tool. So I took a crow bar, I took some Play-Doh and show them what those casts look like. Then I actually did the same thing on a piece of wood. So I took a piece of wood and marked it with that crowbar and then had them try to match the cast to the unknown mark on the wood, and try to match those together. I also do pictures of arson photos here so they can identify different important parts of the fire scene. I've done images of chromatographs, I've done images under a microscope where I've actually, all of these explosive particles, low explosives, I took all of these images myself under the microscope, post them for students to try to have them identify the different explosives that are there. So pictures can do a lot for you, and if you have access to some of those materials, you can do that at home and easily put them in your online class. I also use a lot of videos in both my lecture classes and my lab classes. So here's an example of a video that I found on YouTube. So there's a lot of existing videos already out there where we have a decomposing pig. What's really cool about this video is you can see the clock move. It's only a minute long, but it's on rapid speed, so it goes through, I think five days within one minute, and it highlights each stage of decomposition in the video. You can actually watch the pig move and how those stages hit, and then students can say, "Okay, well, day 3 is when you saw the advanced decay or what not," and they can report that out to me. I'm sorry, my mouse is very sensitive. Another really great resource of things that already are available out there is something called Google Tour Creator. I was fortunate enough to do some of this work myself, but there are multiple virtual labs that you can find. Maybe you want to take your students to different locations and ask some questions about it and what they see and find. So I put this one together of the Indiana State Police crime lab, and I also went to the State Department of Toxicology lab where we highlighted different instruments that are used and what they're used for. This is what that Tour Creator looks like. Once you have access to the PowerPoint slides, the links are directly below, and that can take you to those tours. You can go and Google Tour Creator right now and put Indiana State Police lab and the tour will come up and you'll be able to find it. It's say, public and open to anyone to use. The last thing that I did was I did a lot of lab demos. I do low explosives, and in a controlled face-to-face environment, we could do low explosives and then put them into a flame and see how they ignite. I can't really do that in an online class. First of all, low explosives, you can purchase, but it's going to be really hard and I'm not going to require students to go and buy all these different black powders. So I actually did the demo myself and I did use the Faculty Media Production Space to do this, but you could definitely do this at home. So I show how each explosive, when I put it in the flame, how it reacts. I'm very descriptive when I talk about it because, remember, the student's not there, so they can't smell. It might be hard for them to see what's happening. It might be a really quick reaction, and so as I put that particle on the flame, I talk about the odor that's being produced, I talk about how the particle is burning or if it's smoking afterwards. I really do like that video. Another thing that I did is I showed students how to take their own fingerprint. So that image up there is a snapshot from one of the demos that I did where you might be able to show that very simple in a face-to-face class, or the teaching assistant could show that very easily, but explaining how to do it with words can sometimes be quite difficult. So I'm very methodical. I tell them how to make sure they get ink all over their entire finger from the first knuckle all the way up to the tip of their finger and how they should roll their finger on paper and do some practices before you use your fingerprint card. So that's what that looks like. I also was able to get some experts in the field and interview them. This is a crime scene investigator, and I asked him a couple of different questions about how he got into crime scene investigation, and he shared that with me. Like I said, this was very well planned out and I had quite some time to do this, but it's still possible. So I'm actually thinking I'll most likely be teaching in the fall online my 300 face-to-face students, and I always bring in guest speakers to talk about forensic anthropology and how they go to digs and do all these different things and how they identify bones. I bring in probably about seven different guest speakers, and I really want to make sure that my students get that same experience. So I'm planning on interviewing them over the summer and collecting those videos that I will be able to share with the students. So it's something you can definitely do, it's not that hard. Finding people might be [NOISE] a little bit more difficult, but are troublesome and something you can definitely do. It's just something that I use that I think it just get added a little bit more to the class. [NOISE] So the last thing that I wanted to share, and this was the last part here. Like I said, I've been doing this for a while. I've been working on this course for quite some time really closely with some instructional designers and knew it. So I just wanted to highlight some additional ideas that as you start developing your classes online, what might you be able to do in future courses? Maybe not necessarily in the fall, if you're teaching a lot of online in the fall, but maybe [NOISE] later on in the future. So some things that are really great is Pressbooks. So Pressbooks is a way to put all of your material together in one site. So this is something that I'm continually working on, adding the material, and so students have one publication that they're going to find all of the material. So you can also build a lot of neat activities with Pressbooks as well. So I actually created these really neat H5P, which are these activities for students. So things that I highlight are the highlights or the hotspots in the image. So if you hover over one of these eyes on the bullet casing, it will pop up and say, "This is a pin impression, which is made from the firing pin to ignite the primer to expel the bullet." So I think that's really neat. I'm sorry, my mouse is very finicky. We also did a drag and drop where they can match those pieces together, the puzzle, which talk about physical matches. We also did a branching scenario where students go through a crime scene and they have to pick where's the evidence, locate the evidence. Can they tell me what it is? What were they going to do first? Are they going to collect the evidence or are they going to record? What are they going do? Then what kind of protective equipment are they going to wear? So this is a really cool thing that we were able to develop and all of that. Then the last thing that I did was I did some three-dimensional imaging of things that students would be able to see in the face-to-face class that they wouldn't necessarily be able to see it in the online environment that I wouldn't be able to provide to them. So for example, a bullet. So we actually look at bullets and cartridge casings and where those lands and grooves are, how the striations look, and you can actually rotate this bullet around and see all the different marks on the bullet. We do the same thing with shoe casts where they have the physical shoe and then here's a cast and they try to match up the pattern or match up different wear marks on the bottom of that shoe. So these are above and beyond some of the things we talked about, which is the really neat things that you can do in an online lab class. So with that, I think that puts me, because it's got some time for questions or discussion, so I'm here to answer any questions or share anything further. So if there's something that you'd like to see more in-depth, I can go into my site and I can show you what that looks like. >> [NOISE] You have a question that's just come up on chat, Gina, from Jan. How much was your kit from eScience and how much do you expect students to buy outside of the kit? Is most of it typical things around the house like a sock? [LAUGHTER] >> Yes, that's a great question. So the kits costs $139 plus $20 for shipping, so $160 for the kit. What we've decided to do as a program is we actually purchase all of those kits, our program purchases all those kits, and then we charge the student a course fee, which is going to pay for that kit. Therefore, once students register, I just have to give them a code and so they can go on and go to the website and put in that code in, and the kit comes directly to that student and it's already paid for. The items that the students must include are things that you should have around your house like a sock, like a permanent marker, a masking tape or some tape, a camera, like we talked about. The DNA extraction lab requires a piece of fruit that they have to use for that. But there are very simple items and it's clearly labeled right in the beginning for the students so they should know and be aware of what they need to provide. >> We have a few more questions that have come up. [NOISE] So Elaine's question is, can you please talk about how long it takes to do some of these things? Elaine, by "these things" do you want to elaborate on anything specific? >> Do you mean building the course material or do you mean for the students to do the lab experiments? >> No, I'm talking about your work, the Google tours that you did, the demos that you do, some of those things. >> Yeah, that's a good question. I definitely have to block out time for myself to work on some of those things. The Google tours, I probably spent a whole week doing one of those tours where I worked on it a little bit every day. Maybe I wrote everything up in a Google Doc first before I put it into Google tours and then I have people review things for me and then I might go back and make edits. But like I said, this is something that I worked on for a whole year. One afternoon my son and I made all of those pictures of the tools and did the Play Doh. Maybe an hour it took me to take all the pictures and then upload them to my computer, and that really wasn't that time consuming. The demos, I did a lot of that in the faculty media production space, where what I did was I went in, I believe, last fall semester and I went for two hours every week. Maybe I went three times or four times and just recorded those demos and I just did it on the fly. I wrote out a little bit ahead of time what I was going to say to organize my thoughts and I practiced the demo at home before I did it live. I think I recorded it maybe once and it took maybe twice, so it took like 30 minutes for me to record that. It's something that I'm very comfortable doing, and as instructors I'm teaching this material over and over again, I'm very comfortable with a lot of the lab experiments. I hope that answers your question. I think most of the time is building those pages and writing out the material and I just stuck to a plan every day or every week. This week I'm going to work on this module or this unit, the following week I'm going to work on this unit and I was just very methodical about that. I did it when I was pregnant as well and I knew I was having a baby so I had a deadline. So I literally started in January and my baby was born in May so it took me all spring semester. Last year I worked on writing all that material, doing all of those videos and all of that. >> Our next question we have is with respect to the videos. How do you determine if the students actually watch the videos? Do you have quizzes that go with these videos? >> I have some quick check questions with some of the lab tours, I did build a quick check with that so that they actually go through it. But with the videos I don't, they're to enhance. If students don't want to read all of the materials they're going to need, it just goes along with that. A lot of the introduction material is written out as well. You can actually put Kaltura media in your Canvas and then have students directed towards theirs to watch the videos and it will actually show you, if students have watched the video, when they stopped watching the video, how much time they spent watching a video. So if you want to look at more of analytics that way, you can definitely do that. Like I said, some of them they're really short like two minutes. I just wanted them to see my face because they're not really seeing me and I'm not doing lecture material because I just have the PowerPoints. I want to do a little bit of, "Here's what we're going to do" and then I actually even do a recap after the module's over which I put in an announcement and saying, "This is what you should've learned about this past week and here are the important parts." Just so they see my face. >> We have a couple of questions about the kits. So if the students decide to drop the class in the first week, but they've already requested the kit, do they still pay for it? Can they return it? [OVERLAPPING] How can you get the kits if the school is closed? >> So the way that I'm handling the kits is, like I said, our department paid for all of the kits. So I'm teaching the course right now; we have 20 students in the class. I've actually contacted the bursar's office to figure out how refunds of these and all of that work. So for a six or eight week course, they get 100 percent refund the first week, they get a 50 percent refund the second week, the third week they get nothing, so if they drop the class. So that's the refund, and you have to look at that calendar and you can look at those. I wanted to have a non-refundable fee with my class, but they told me that wasn't allowed. That was my school, not the bursar's office. So what I did is I clearly tell students, if they drop the class within that first week and they do get their kit, that they have to ship the kit to me. That happened to me this spring semester where I had a student who did get the kit and she dropped the class and she did bring the kit. Obviously, we were still in session at the time, so she did bring the kit to my office or to my department so I can get that kit. So I would require those students to ship those kits back if they're getting the fee refunded to them. >> What happens when the [OVERLAPPING] school's closed? How can you get the [inaudible]? >> Yeah, so right now, the students, they order directly from the eScience labs, their company and they have the kit shipped from that company to the students and that's why we pay the extra $20, that way the students have the kit shipped directly to them. So we're not shipping anything. If I had a student I probably would have them ship it probably to my husband's work, to be honest with you. I don't know if I want to give out my home address to my students. So if I had to ask students to ship their kits back, that's how I would handle that situation. I think that there is still a main person in our building that can receive packages. So I might actually just have them ship it to that person or that individual and I know that's happening in my building. So that's how I would do that if I had to handle that situation. >> We have more questions. This is about the camera. What sort of a camera are you using to make your video demonstrations? >> So a lot of the things that I showed you guys today, I did in the faculty media production space that's located at IUPUI. I think other campuses might have them as well. I have an iMac that I took from my office when we were forced to come home and so I just use the video that we're using right now. I use my iPhone for all of my images, that's my camera, I don't use anything high tech. [NOISE] >> How steep is the learning curve to get the H5P activities up and running? >> There is a little high of a learning curve with that. If anyone's worked with building websites in Pressbooks, that's the format where you can put in different plugins and things. I haven't personally done that. Like I said, I feel that that's like above and beyond some of the things, but what I would do is I would reach out to your Center for Teaching and Learning and ask them if they have someone that might be able to help you with that or there might be some information or a KB document on how to start using that in Pressbooks. So like I said, it's a part of Pressbooks. >> Gina, let me jump in there for a sec. There is nothing in the KB on Pressbooks. >> Okay. Sorry. >> There is no KB on H5P. >> Okay. >> But if you're interested in using it, you can contact me, Jeani Young, IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning and we can chat about that. It's not that hard. It gives you a bunch of boxes. You pick what kind of interaction you want to do, and it gives you a bunch of boxes to fill your content in, but choosing what kind you want to use can take a little thinking through. But yeah, feel free to holler. >> Thanks, Jeani. >> Any suggestions when we want to check out and check in equipment, that is, we modified a microscope to do metal samples? >> I teach in microscopy class, so I have a microscope at home, I'm just taking images myself and then showing those images to students. So we have a whole bunch of images of hairs, animal hairs, human hairs. So actually, just not having the students use the microscope themselves but posting those images for them to look at so they can get an idea. I know that using the microscope is part of the experience in a lab, but to be honest with you, even histology labs are moving to a lot of virtual microscopy where they're just looking at images of what they look like to try to identify different things. If you are teaching an upper-level class where you think the microscope is really important, maybe you can have the students check out the microscopes and take them home for the semester. I would be very careful about expecting students to return material and what looks like that and what that looks like and making sure you really think through about having students say, "Okay, if this breaks, I'm going to replace, sure." I know our PLMs are $8,000. I don't know if I really want a student taking that home then expecting them to bring it back to me. I hope that answers your question. >> So is there a lab fee associated with the course? >> Yes. There is a lab fee associated with my class and that will cover the cost of the lab kit. So like I said, what we decided, we as a department, we paid upfront for all of those lab kits. Then, when the student enrolls in the class, they get a code that's unique for each students. So when they ordered that kit, they put the code in onto the eScience Labs website and it's no cost to the student. You can require the students to pay for the kit and not do that. I do not trust freshmen students to pay for kits above and beyond for that class. If they don't have the kit, it's going to be really hard for them to complete the material the way I've developed a class. >> So with online courses, can we then now charge a lab fee? It's a follow up question that we have. >> Okay. So since this is a lab class, there's already a lab fee associated with it. So the way that the fees usually work at least at our campus is there are two-year cycle. So when you put that fee on the class, you can only update it or change it every two years. So I don't know if you'll be able to add a fee to a class that's going to be offered in the fall. That's something that you would probably need to reach out to your financial officer in your school and talk with them about how you can put a fee on to that class. >> We have a question about the report and the activities in the lab. The question is, "I understand that each student would submit a report at the end of an activity and answer critical thinking questions and you mentioned that each student needs to comment on responses given by other students but I don't quite get how this exchange takes place among students." >> I use the discussion forums for students to interact with each other. What I've done is I've put students in groups through Canvas using the Canvas tool to group people within the class. Then, when I build the discussion, I make sure that it will be a group discussion. So actually, we'll build multiple discussion boards. So if you're in group 1, there are six other students in there, those are the students that you will be talking within the discussion board. As far as the worksheets, the labs are all individual, so they're individually done and they don't collaborate together on the lab experiments. >> We have another question about the specifics of how do you deliver instructions and questions to your students on your Canvas page. Can you go a bit more detail into that? >> Yeah. I've used Pages to write up material on the topic. So I introduced the topic. I might put in a video or maybe an image that I want to highlight. Then I will put in PowerPoint slides as well, so they'll have PowerPoint slides that I use in my face-to-face courses that talk about the course content. It will highlight terminology, it will talk about what we're going be doing in the lab a little bit, and then the students do those Quick Checks that are right there as well. So those are the learning materials, and then they have their readings as well. So I do have them read some pages from the lab manual that those students are required that I use as an IU eTexts. >> We don't have any more questions on the chat. Folks, feel free to unmute yourself and also ask questions if you would like to at this point. [NOISE]

Webinar Outline


  • Things to include for all online courses
    • Tools students will be expected to use
    • What to expected time is needed to complete all materials
  • Things to consider for online lab courses
    • Safety
    • Virtual tours

Lab Kits

Hands-on Kits vs. Virtual Experiments

  • eScience Labs, Hands-on Labs
  • Carolina Labs
  • Labster

Content Flow

  • Overview of material for each unit
  • Reading materials
    • IU eText
    • Other resources
  • Pre-lab Questions - Quick Checks
    • Embedded into reading materials
  • Lab Procedures and Instructions
    • Step by step instructions on how to complete the lab exercise
  • Lab Worksheets - Google Docs
    • Assignments tools, external tool - Google cloud assignment
  • Discussions - student interaction


  • Demos of experiments
  • What is in the kits, explanation of materials

Finding resources

  • You Tube

Google Tour Creator