Title

Integrating science into liberal arts education through blended learning and open educational resources

Streaming Media

Submission Type

20-minute Presentation

Abstract

Science is an integral pillar of a solid liberal arts education, but providing comprehensive and engaging science curriculum to non-science majors is often challenging. Barriers to integrating science into liberal arts include competition for institutional resources, insufficient laboratory supplies and equipment, and underestimation of the importance and relevance of science to liberal arts students. We have developed a strategy for increasing access to quality science education that is apposite and effective within the ethos and constraints of a liberal arts program. To expand access to science for liberal arts students, we developed two versions of a life science course with varied combinations of online and face-to-face instruction. This approach allows the course to be delivered using different areas of the spectrum of blended learning based on the changing needs of individual instructors. We utilize open educational resources (OERs), which are freely available teaching and assessment tools, to provide laboratory simulations and other active learning exercises without the need for expensive laboratory space or supplies. To complement existing materials, we produced a series of interactive online modules covering core concepts. These can be used interchangeably to support online instruction or the flipped classroom method of teaching in a traditional classroom. Importantly, this approach also allowed us to offer science courses to students at study abroad sites, which was previously not an option due to logistical issues. This report describes how we developed this combination of web-based and in-person instruction. Tips are provided for how our model can be adapted to facilitate blended learning and use of OERs to promote student-centered learning in a wide array of courses.

Session

Presentation

Location

Thomas 110

Start Date

5-18-2017 10:40 AM

End Date

5-18-2017 12:00 PM

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May 18th, 10:40 AM May 18th, 12:00 PM

Integrating science into liberal arts education through blended learning and open educational resources

Thomas 110

Science is an integral pillar of a solid liberal arts education, but providing comprehensive and engaging science curriculum to non-science majors is often challenging. Barriers to integrating science into liberal arts include competition for institutional resources, insufficient laboratory supplies and equipment, and underestimation of the importance and relevance of science to liberal arts students. We have developed a strategy for increasing access to quality science education that is apposite and effective within the ethos and constraints of a liberal arts program. To expand access to science for liberal arts students, we developed two versions of a life science course with varied combinations of online and face-to-face instruction. This approach allows the course to be delivered using different areas of the spectrum of blended learning based on the changing needs of individual instructors. We utilize open educational resources (OERs), which are freely available teaching and assessment tools, to provide laboratory simulations and other active learning exercises without the need for expensive laboratory space or supplies. To complement existing materials, we produced a series of interactive online modules covering core concepts. These can be used interchangeably to support online instruction or the flipped classroom method of teaching in a traditional classroom. Importantly, this approach also allowed us to offer science courses to students at study abroad sites, which was previously not an option due to logistical issues. This report describes how we developed this combination of web-based and in-person instruction. Tips are provided for how our model can be adapted to facilitate blended learning and use of OERs to promote student-centered learning in a wide array of courses.