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Wednesday, December 9 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
The Question of Labs: Questions that the Possibility of Online Laboratories Raise for Accreditation and the Role of the Lab in STEM Education

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In STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and other disciplines, laboratory experiences are typically valued as opportunities for students to gain experience by applying concepts they have learned in a hands-on environment. Beyond giving a framework for the concepts, labs are seen as critical to the development of scientific and engineering problem solving skills. However, the structure and implementation of typical laboratories focus on a straight-forward procedure implementation that questions some of those basic assumptions on the utility of labs. As various possibilities for a virtual or online delivery of very similar content arise, fundamental questions around what labs are for, how they are structured and how resources should be allocated begin to gain greater importance in science and engineering education.

In this session, we will discuss the implications of transitioning laboratory experiences from a traditional physical setting to a virtual one in an online course in the context of the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster. In particular, we will examine the questions that the possibilities of going virtual raises within the context of existing simulations and other resources on the Internet. Participants will be invited to engage in a facilitated discussion on the implications of using virtual tools to substitute physical experiments. The facilitators will welcome feedback on possible assessment tools on the pedagogy and engagement nexus.


Carly Van Egdom

McMaster University

Greg Van Gastel

McMaster University

Ayse Turak

McMaster University

Wednesday December 9, 2015 2:00pm - 2:30pm EST
Meeting Room B

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