In March 2023, Missouri Online staff, along with faculty from Missouri S&T, presented A Recipe for Remote STEM Learning: Bringing Lab Learning Experiences to Life in a Fully Virtual Modality at the Missouri S&T Innovation in Teaching and Learning Conference in Rolla, MO.
The presentation focused on the process of designing a fully online STEM workshop targeting a wide range of audiences. Special attention was given to the process of developing a virtual, live lab component that still preserved the engagement and interactivity of an in-person lab. The presenters discussed various challenges they faced in designing the workshop, such as how to:
- Meet the different learning needs of a varied, general audience by blending asynchronous and synchronous learning strategies.
- Structure and incorporate learning technologies to create an engaging live lab session.
- Create consistent visual design to present complex information in a clear and straightforward way.
Key Takeaways (or Presentation Outcomes)
- Take your learners’ characteristics and goals into consideration when designing your course.
- Provide needed supplemental materials or additional resources to facilitate learning.
- Take advantage of the flexibility of asynchronous materials in order to make sure learners are prepared to get the most out of synchronous sessions.
- Setting up course communication expectations is the key to successful online teaching.
Last, but not least, instructors interested in developing similar online courses/workshops should be prepared for a potentially expanded time commitment in preparation and planning. In particular, if your course involves live components, rehearsal is important as it can help you catch technical and logistical issues, etc. Take advantage of available support such as colleagues who have taught the course (or courses like it) before. Get a sense of their experiences developing and facilitating such courses. Also, know that you are not working on designing and developing your course alone! The UM System provides a variety of instructional support (Missouri Online designers, teaching and learning center staff, and departmental support) to help you plan and facilitate your course/workshop implementation; multiple heads are better than one!
- Javier Caride, Instructional designer (Missouri Online)
- Ying-Hsiu Liu, Instructional designer (Missouri Online)
- Dr. Daniel Forciniti, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (Missouri S&T)
- Tina Fox , Media designer (Missouri Online)
In this presentation, a team of faculty and learning experience designers will showcase how they employed cognitive engagement strategies and cooking-show-inspired presentation techniques to develop an asynchronous online workshop with synchronous lab components. By mixing together both asynchronous and synchronous ingredients, this approach offered opportunities for unique STEM learning experiences on relevant topics (immunology and vaccine development) with the ease-of-access that comes with a fully remote modality. During our presentation, we will cover the context of the project, the design challenges that emerged, and the innovative methods used to solve them. Additionally, the faculty will discuss the experience of shifting to a fully remote teaching modality along with guidance for others considering moving their STEM courses online.