Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2008

Summary of Projects

Project Title

The Implementation of Digital Wet Practical Laboratories in the School of Applied Science

Project Leaders

Dr Danilla Grando

Funds Approved

$29,483

Summary of the project, outcomes, impacts and dissemination

This project enabled the replacement of traditional laboratory classes with a blended learning environment of teacher-directed instruction, student collaboration, online learning and the wet-laboratory experience. It targeted the large first year biology classes and addressed the challenges of designing curriculum that enhances the learning experience in large classes, via use of online technologies. This blended learning approach created the opportunity to design innovative courseware that imbedded digital instruction and tutor-directed assessment strategies linked to capability development. These assessment strategies were designed to provide continuous feedback and enhance student learning.

Laboratories 14.13.7 and 14.13.8 have been refurbished using the model of a digital wet laboratory, where each student has a dedicated workstation for engagement with the lecturer or tutor using NetOp® software. Support from the Teaching and Learning Investment Fund enabled the employment of a teaching assistants and time-release for academic staff to enable help with curriculum redesign and courseware enhancement. Three courses were targeted for curriculum redesign and through this process many reusable learning objects were created. In 2008 these objects were deployed as pre-laboratory preparation exercises that were designed to be interesting, interactive and instructive. These objects were then adapted as resources for use during class time. Focus groups were held with students and staff to monitor the implementation and use of the Digital Wet Laboratories.

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