The NANSLO team was made up of representatives from each of eight partner institutions involved in the NGLC project. An Advisory Board, three faculty Discipline Panels, representing the fields of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, and staff began collaborating in July of 2011 and continued through the end of the grant to complete the project goals.
Development of openly available curriculum and laboratory experiments
Through NANSLO team collaboration, three first semester NANSLO open core courses and laboratory experiments for Biology, Physics, and Chemistry are now available for broad use. The NGLC wiki was used as the project website and contains many documents generated during the initiative.
Replication and expansion of Remote Web-based Science Laboratory (RWSL) infrastructure
NANSLO staff in British Columbia collaborated with CCCS staff to replicate and expand Remote Web-based Science Lab (RWSL) technology originally developed at North Island College (NIC) for use throughout the 13 CCCS campuses. RWSL allows students to access high quality lab equipment remotely using a combination of software and robotically-controlled equipment.
Instructing faculty on use of RWSL
Introducing faculty at partner institutions and beyond to the use of RWSL technology was an important outcome of this project. NANSLO's train-the-trainer program provided a wealth of documentation including an "Instructor's guide to Teaching with the Remote Web-based Science Laboratory," and a collection of How-to guides for use of equipment such as air tracks, microscopes, and spectrometers.
NANSLO Network & Expansion Resources
Expansion resources included an environmental scan of remote science education labs in the US and Canada; a how-to adoption manual of case studies, policies and procedures that others could use to guide their own adoption of RWSL; and a scale network template that provided guidance on scaling the use of remote labs across all institutions collaborating through NANSLO as well as a sustainability model.
NGLC Outcomes Addressed in the Final Report
The final report was submitted to the NGLC Program Officer on March 8, 2013. The outcomes addressed included:
Outcome 1: Advisory board formed to provide oversight of project’s long-term vision, and plans for scaling network.
Outcome 2: Discipline panels formed for biology, physics and chemistry. Members come from all participating institutions as well as potential future participants building awareness and interest in NANSLO as well as positioning it for future growth. Inclusion of two-year college representatives and four-year university representatives helps ensure transfer and articulation. Discipline panels constitute open curricula working groups who revise, enhance and develop the adaptable open core courses as well as developing localized versions.
Outcome 3: Open core courses in biology, physics and chemistry. Three existing British Columbia (BC) open courses are improved by discipline panels generating three adaptable open courses ready for use by anyone as well as localized versions specific to BC and Colorado Community College System (CCCS) needs. Lab kits are modified to complement remote web-based lab (RWSL) course labs and revised learning outcomes.
Outcome 4: Replication of BC’s RWSL in Colorado and networked to RWSL in BC. Students enrolled in courses have access to RWSL for labs.
Outcome 5: Faculty are trained in use of RWSL.
Outcome 6: Student enrollment (review current estimates of enrollment and refine).
Outcome 7: Formative and summative evaluation is conducted including evaluating student outcomes, faculty acceptance and feasibility of scaling and replicating network.
Outcome 8: Institutions collectively collaborate on and use open core science courses and remote web-based labs. Three expansion resources developed including environmental scan, how-to adoption manual including policies and procedures, and a scale network template to assist in scaling use of remote labs across all institutions of NANSLO as well as sustainability model.
Assessment of Student Lab Report
Panel members reviewed lab reports produced by students who were completing science lab assignments during the NGLC grant period. You can see the evaluation material, student labs and results through the NANSLO wiki on the Physics, Biology, and Chemistry page.
CCCOnline Customized Experiments for Biology, Chemistry and Physics Courses
CCCOline leveraged the work that evolved out of the NGLC effort by customizing two remote web-based lab experiments for each course. These experiments were made available through the NANSLO lab in Denver, CO to CCCOnline students taking these courses. See the project wiki to access these CCConline lab documents.
The following experiments were developed:
Introduction to Microscopy: Introduces students to the importance of determining such things as field of view and magnification power of a microscope. Students complete common characterization activities and compare/contrast the results between the digital microscope and the basic optical microscope used in the at-home kits.
Mitosis and Meiosis: Students examine plant and animal cells in various stages of development and identify cells in various stages. The ability for students to download high resolution images from the digital microscope to their computers and include them in their reports is highly valuable.
Emission Spectroscopy: Students examine the light emitted by four different gases (atomic and molecular) and draw conclusions about electron states and energy levels. One of the gases is carbon dioxide, so students are able to investigate the link between the emission spectrum of carbon dioxide and its functionality as a "greenhouse gas".
Beer-Lambert Law: The absorption of visible light by a series of pre-made solutions of nickel sulfate is quantified. This information is used to create a standard curve of absorption vs. concentration. The absorbance of a nickel sulfate solution of unknown (to the student) concentration is then measured and the concentration determined by the student.
Uniform Motion: Study of constant velocity motion to establish the validity of Newton's first law of motion.
NOTE: Only the Accelerated Motion activity for Physics is currently being used, as the Uniform Motion activity was deemed too simple. We will probably combine them into one activity in the future (this is how they are usually done at most schools).
Accelerated Motion: Study of motion under the influence of gravity. Allows students to reach an excellent approximation of the gravitational constant "g."