ASU shares best practices for online laboratory courses with Waterloo

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Arizona State University's Justin HardingArizona State University (ASU) and the University of Waterloo are collaborating to provide additional resources for faculty to support the continuity of online teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The emerging challenges of the pandemic have forced educational leaders in Canada, and further afield, to design and implement adaptive responses to deliver effective teaching and learning opportunities.

As a testament to its institutional resilience and dedication to academic continuity, Waterloo successfully moved most of its course offerings online and continues to provide resources to assist faculty members to address educational needs and responses as the pandemic unfolds.

Offering more than 300 fully accredited online graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates, ASU is a recognized leader in online education. The collaboration has allowed Waterloo faculty to connect with ASUs award-winning faculty members to share best practices, as educators enhance online learning opportunities during these challenging times.

The initiative, spearheaded by Waterloo International, offered a series of virtual open discussion sessions. The first open discussion focused on Biological Sciences online learning and online labs. Discussions abounded and included such topics as how to offer realistic lab experiences, knowledge outcomes for lab courses and developing transferable lab skills in a virtual environment. 

Vivian Dayeh, Interim Associate Chair Undergraduate and Lecturer in the Department of Biology noted that the discussion with ASU was particularly valuable because “we were connected with instructors at ASU, who have experience providing hands on activities to students learning in an online environment, and hands on learning is a significant part of training in the Biological Sciences.”

“This mutually beneficial collaboration has allowed faculty members from both institutions to share tips on best practices for providing hands on experience in a virtual learning environment,” said Professor Bessma Momani, Assistant Vice-President, International Relations at Waterloo International. “These discussions provide a talent pipeline for ideas to flow, as educators continue to find innovative ways to augment educational opportunities for experiential learning online.”

ASU has dedicated its Senior Director of Instructional Design and New Media, Justin Harding, as a point contact for Waterloo faculty members interested in further corresponding with their ASU counterparts. For more information, please contact International Relations Manager, Ishari Waduwara-Jayabahu @ishari.waduwara-jayabahu@uwaterloo.ca.

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