Run lab activities
Sustaining the lab components of face-to-face classes in an online environment can be challenging. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.
Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:
- Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work), and save the physical practice parts of the labs until access is restored.
- Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but your campus teaching and learning center may be able to advise on suggested tools.
Some publishers and educational technology vendors may offer last-minute deals on technologies and homework platforms due to the current COVID-19 situation. However, most often these platforms are not appropriate for use with IU student data. To ensure the security and privacy of student data, and to ensure that you and your students receive the technical support you need, only use tools that have been approved for use at IU (for example, those listed in External tools available in Canvas). If you're unsure whether a publisher's content or tool is approved for use at IU, contact your campus teaching and learning center.
- Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.
- Explore alternate software access: Some labs require access to specialized software that students cannot install on their own computers. For advice on alternative software, contact your campus teaching and learning center.
- Increase interaction in other ways: Sometimes labs are more about having time for direct student interaction, so consider other ways to encourage communication and collaboration among your students.