Proposal Title

Students as partners in designing virtual labs -- the value of conflict in developing engaging experiences

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A 34

Start Date

6-7-2017 4:10 PM

Keywords

virtual labs, students as partners

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Laboratories are critical to undergraduate education in most STEM disciplines. In principle, they provide opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge, build psychomotor skills and engage in problem solving exercises with an emphasis on experiential learning. As engineering laboratory modules require significant resources and physical laboratories are not well suited to on-line and blended learning approaches, there has been significant interest in producing virtual experiences that mimic, replace or supplement physical in-person labs. Designing these experiences poses challenges and opportunities for educators – particularly in finding the right balance of pedagogical value and student engagement.

In this contribution, we examine the role of having students as partners in designing a virtual lab to be used for a second year engineering statistical thermodynamics class at McMaster University. In this we used a qualitative interview approach to examine how the student perspective can affect development of virtual labs. Though the instructor and student see similar goals in general for laboratory experiences, they have differing views on what constitutes the explicit and implicit goal. For the faculty member, the explicit goal is to foster a practical connection to abstract theoretical concepts, with the implicit goal of discovery and creativity. For the student, the opposite was the case. The lab gave an explicit opportunity for discovery, problem solving and critical thinking, with the generalizability of the concepts or connection to theory as of secondary importance. Having these two perspectives can allow the development of much more engaging experiences for the students with much less turmoil for the educator. By the end of the session, audiences should have an understanding of the benefits of incorporating student involvement, as well as tools, such as the student engagement-pedagogy nexus, as a guide to best practices in involving student input.

Elements of Engagement

we plan to have the audience assess some example virtual labs using our rubrics to see if we can come to a consensus about what makes a good teaching tool while still being engaging for students; being a collection of educators we will also debate what else students can bring to designing labs

This document is currently not available here.


Share

COinS
 
Jul 6th, 4:10 PM

Students as partners in designing virtual labs -- the value of conflict in developing engaging experiences

P&A 34

Laboratories are critical to undergraduate education in most STEM disciplines. In principle, they provide opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge, build psychomotor skills and engage in problem solving exercises with an emphasis on experiential learning. As engineering laboratory modules require significant resources and physical laboratories are not well suited to on-line and blended learning approaches, there has been significant interest in producing virtual experiences that mimic, replace or supplement physical in-person labs. Designing these experiences poses challenges and opportunities for educators – particularly in finding the right balance of pedagogical value and student engagement.

In this contribution, we examine the role of having students as partners in designing a virtual lab to be used for a second year engineering statistical thermodynamics class at McMaster University. In this we used a qualitative interview approach to examine how the student perspective can affect development of virtual labs. Though the instructor and student see similar goals in general for laboratory experiences, they have differing views on what constitutes the explicit and implicit goal. For the faculty member, the explicit goal is to foster a practical connection to abstract theoretical concepts, with the implicit goal of discovery and creativity. For the student, the opposite was the case. The lab gave an explicit opportunity for discovery, problem solving and critical thinking, with the generalizability of the concepts or connection to theory as of secondary importance. Having these two perspectives can allow the development of much more engaging experiences for the students with much less turmoil for the educator. By the end of the session, audiences should have an understanding of the benefits of incorporating student involvement, as well as tools, such as the student engagement-pedagogy nexus, as a guide to best practices in involving student input.