Csula virtual lab project
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CSULA Virtual Lab Project. CSU eAcademy Workshop for Proven Course Redesign Online Courses and Virtual Labs in Biology II 15-16 January 2014. What courses are being redesigned? BIOL 155 ─ Animal Biology (4) 10 week course with 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of laboratory per week

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CSULA Virtual Lab Project

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Csula virtual lab project

CSULA Virtual Lab Project

CSU eAcademy Workshop for Proven Course Redesign

Online Courses and Virtual Labs in Biology II

15-16 January 2014


Csula virtual lab project

What courses are being redesigned?

  • BIOL 155 ─ Animal Biology (4)

  • 10 week course with 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of laboratory per week

  • Satisfies GE Block B2

  • Usually 192 students with 8 lab sections of 24 students each

  • Facility and labor intensive


Csula virtual lab project

What does the course redesign involve?

  • Overview

    • Redesigning a GE biology laboratory course

    • Replace traditional labs with engaging inquiry-based exercises

    • Experiment with different modes of delivery

    • Two new modes of lab instruction vs. traditional (1) ALL labs online and (2) TWO tracks online & wet labs alternating every week

    • Use GAs for “drop-in help center” and grading


Csula virtual lab project

  • Assessment (formative and summative)

    • Hired an assessment evaluator (Dr. Ji Son)

    • Pre- and post-course student surveys

    • Assess student attitudes (BioCLASS: Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey)

    • Knowledge: Natural Selection Concept Inventory (Anderson, Fisher, & Norman, 2002)

    • Performance individual activities and course grades

    • Comparison of different virtual lab products (Biology labs OnLine vs. Smart Science Labs)


Csula virtual lab project

  • Online Labs

    • Ten weekly labs in each lab section will be offered online

    • Drop-In Help Center staffed by GAs

  • Hybrid Labs

    • Five weekly labs in each lab section will be offered online; the other five will be wet labs.

    • Eight of the 16 lab sections will start with wet labs and alternate with online labs.

    • The remaining eight sections will begin with online labs and alternate with wet labs.


Csula virtual lab project

  • Virtual Lab Assignments (distributed via Moodle)

    • Two types of lab assignment: (1) lab exercises & (2) lab reports

    • All lab topics have a lab exercise, two lab topics also require reports

    • Lab exercises require the student to conduct experiments and interpret the results by answering multiple choice questions in Moodle

    • Lab reports require that students address a specific scientific question by designing and carrying out an experiments and reporting the results and conclusions using a template for producing a brief scientific report


Csula virtual lab project

Who is involved in each project?

  • Bob Desharnais, FT faculty, Project Director

  • Paul Narguizian, FT faculty, Project Co-Director

  • Dwight Beltz, PT faculty, BIOL 155 Instructor

  • Barbara Veno, PT faculty, BIOL 155 Instructor

  • Ji Son, FT faculty in Psychology, Evaluator


Csula virtual lab project

When will the courses be offered?

  • Fall 2013 (two large lecture sections and 16 all online lab sections = 24 students in each lab with 6 GAs @ 10 hrs/week)

  • Winter 2014 (two large lecture sections and 8 all online lab sections = 24 students in each lab with 3 GAs @ 10 hrs/week; 8 all wet lab sections = 24 students in each)

  • Spring 2014 (two large lecture sections and 16 hybrid lab sections = 24 students/lab)


What software products will be used

What software/products will be used?

  • TWO web-based products:

  • Biology Labs Online (BiologyLabsOnline.com) which uses simulations.

  • Smart Science Labs (SmartScience.net) which uses videos of real lab experiments.


How many students will be served

How many students will be served?

  • A total of 2-4 sections of BIOL 155 has traditionally been offered per year. This is approximately 400-800 students.

  • We anticipate being able to offer 6-8 sections per year serving approximately1200-1600 students.


How does the project address bottleneck issues

How does the project address “bottleneck” issues?

  • Online labs would allow enrollments to be increased to the capacity of the lecture hall.

  • Reduce the need for lab facilities, and reduce staffing costs.

  • Example, @ CSULA (quarter system) we offer BIOL 155 with 8 lab sections of 24 students each (38.4 FTES).

  • Personnel needs are 22 units for instruction (6 units for large lecture and lab coordination, 16 units for labs) and 5 hours of graduate assistance (GA).

  • Using a rate of $1105/unit instruction and $14.80/hr/GA, the total cost is $25,050. A course of the same size with virtual labs, assuming 30 hours of GA help for drop-in assistance and grading, costs $11,070.


Csula virtual lab project

  • Using a rate of $1105/unit instruction and $14.80/hr/GA, the total cost is $25,050. A course of the same size with virtual labs, assuming 30 hours of GA help for drop-in assistance and grading, costs $11,070.

  • Thus a course taught with all virtual labs could be offered at 44% of the current cost with no impact on physical lab facilities. A similar calculation for half online and half wet labs would be 71% of the traditional cost and would double the throughput capacity of the physical lab facilities.


Student usage

Student Usage


Student usage1

Student Usage


Student learning natural selection

Student Learning: Natural Selection

Natural Selection Concept Inventory (Anderson, Fisher, & Norman, 2002)


Student ratings

Student Ratings


Student ratings1

Student Ratings


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