By: Jasmine Anderson, Biopac Student Lab Product Manager
- Simulations are not enough. Students need a practical hands-on lab experience with room to make mistakes.
- Internet is not reliable for students or the instructors and reading material alone does not lend to effective learning.
- Instructors’ hands are tied with limited budgets for investing in distance learning tools.
- Instructors struggle to adapt curriculum to new distance learning programs.
- Most lab kits and software are too complicated for students to use without guidance.
- Students lose the opportunity to collaborate and troubleshoot together while working in groups.
- Many learning tools discourage academic integrity with answers visibly posted online.
- Privacy concerns over personal data used in digital lab and simulation tools.
- Online e-Learning does not accommodate many learning styles – especially for social and/or kinematic students.
- Nothing compares to in-person labs and you won’t find a substitute.
Whether you’ve taught online in the past or are planning for your first time teaching online this fall, most educators agree that it’s not their preferred instruction method. However, the value of online education technology and its innate flexibility became clear this spring when campuses were forced to close early.
Now educators are planning for the fall and are once again having to evaluate how they will meet their learning objectives and goals in an online environment. There’s no question that the landscape of the traditional practical lab is changing, and we are now forced to ask ourselves: what is the “heart” of the practical lab and how can we translate that to the online classroom?
Simulations, virtual labs, and kitchen experiments meet a few of the marks, but none of them touch on the important interpersonal and professional skills gained in the laboratory. How can instructors incorporate communication skills and cooperative learning into the online classroom? And is it even possible to provide that HyFlex (high flexibility) course model given the current online tools?
These are valid and central questions to the new landscape of higher education. After seeing the consequences of the temporary plans put in place by educational institutions in the spring, BIOPAC worked to re-design our student lab systems for the new world of socially distanced learning.
In the old world, students would work around our lab stations in groups, completing guided lessons where they record physiological data from their own bodies. This encouraged cooperative learning, peer-to-peer instruction, and—most importantly—students learned effectively by doing.
With BSL Home, all the above is possible in an online environment. BSL Home includes the same trusted Biopac Student Lab physiology curriculum that is already used in 99% of the top 100 US universities and brings the physiology lab to your students, wherever they are.
BIOPAC can ship BSL Home kits to instructors on campus or directly to a student’s home address. It also comes with affordable purchase options to rent or buy. Unfortunately, the traditional lab is no longer a safe option and simulations or experiments using pipe cleaners and Play-Doh aren’t making the cut.
Practical lab experiments are critical for students that need a Bachelor of Science degree for a career in the medical front line, working in industry, or continuing their education. With BSL Home we can help you preserve your practical lab. For more information on how BSL Home can save your lab this fall, please join us for a live demo and contact us for BSL Home info.