Three Haywood Community College faculty members recently produced a series of online labs to serve as models for other state institutions. Through a Carl D. Perkins Vocational Act grant through the North Carolina Community College System, Susan Roberts, Buddy Tignor and Reggie Widemon created a host of excellent materials which are now available through NC-NET (North Carolina Network for Excellence in Teaching).
The challenge for these online labs was not only did very few labs of this kind exist; they are traditionally very hands-on in nature. As a result of a lot of time, effort and trial-and-error on the part of these instructors, they were able to replicate hands-on learning in an online environment.
Often, this meant using lab activities that could be accomplished at home using common household items. After investigation, it was discovered that no single resource for such activities existed.
“Development of these labs required a lot of research,” Roberts explains. “It was a team effort.”
According to Tignor, labs are one of the biggest gaps between online and traditional classes. “It was a matter of being creative to convert into online labs that students would not have to buy a lot of supplies for. As a result, these labs are flexible for students.”