Lt: A Resource to Future-Proof the Laboratory in Uncertain Times
Brandon Calderon, Charlotte Steel, Bridget Ford, Jacqui Sue, and Katie Bracewell
The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly challenged educators to transition previously in-person courses to an online environment. This has been especially difficult for laboratory courses where students must experience the process of science to develop lab skills and scientific competencies. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it is essential that instructional resources are flexible and robust for use in various potential learning environments. The Lt software platform (ADInstruments) is a resource designed to support in-person, online, and hybrid learning environments. Lt supports the in-person lab experience by integrating with data collection hardware and facilitating collaboration through group-based activity. In addition, the platform also provides several avenues for teaching online labs using the same experiments that would be done on campus. At home, students can analyze Lt’s built-in example data, or be supplied with low-cost hardware to complete labs remotely. In conjunction with other online tools, Lt can support online group work and student collaboration. Lt hosts a wide range of pre-built lab experiments and activities covering neuroscience, anatomy, physiology, clinical health science, biology, and chemistry. Although the material can be used “out-of-the-box”, the content is completely editable and new labs can be created. Feedback from students suggests that Lt has proved valuable for supporting flexible instructional practices during the pandemic.