The Online Learning Consortium laboratories module is a highly useful set of resources for anyone teaching laboratories in the Natural or Social Sciences. It’s one offered by the Online Learning Consortium in collaboration with Every Learner Everywhere, a network of higher education organizations supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Among other contributions, it:
- Suggests a set of revised learning goals and objectives when teaching virtual labs
- Outlines potential obstacles when teaching online labs and how to address these
- Provides a number of alternative, online activities to hands-on laboratory experiences; many of these are very intentionally interactive and collaborative among students
- Best of all, it provides links to several online databases; free simulations; opportunities to contribute to a number of “citizen science projects” being conducted across the nation, and in different disciplines; ideas for “at home laboratory exercises”; data visualization resources; and searchable indexes of available, online laboratories and simulations.
One drawback is that this set of resources primarily addresses labs in the Natural and Social Sciences, and less so in the Humanities. Nevertheless, the ideas offered here may generalize, to some extent, to studio-type courses.