Since our founding, students have used our products to safely perform traditional hands-on science lab techniques in a remote environment. These experiments utilize lab materials and methods that minimize risk while still offering the sophistication of a face-to-face lab facility.
Here are the specific steps we take to maintain both safety and rigor when designing our courses.
Distance Learning Laboratory Safety
Lab Safety First
When it comes to laboratory science, safety is our number one priority — quite literally. Before your students can even unlock their main course content, they must first complete a lab safety lesson.
In this lesson, they’ll learn everything they need to know in order to conduct their experiments safely. This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: how to properly prepare their lab space, what types of clothing and shoes they should wear, how to utilize their personal protective equipment, best practices for handling all of the lab equipment and chemicals they will be dealing with, and what protocols they should follow in the event of an emergency. By the time your students complete their lab safety curriculum, they will be fully prepared to safely perform traditional lab work without direct supervision.
Safe Lab Materials and Protocols
We understand that laboratory work often involves inherently hazardous materials. However, when assembling our lab kits, we only choose materials that students can safely handle in their own homes, and our lab kits include all the personal protective equipment they need to conduct their experiments safely. We limit toxicity in our biological experiments by utilizing formalin-free materials and non-virulent microbes. Safety data sheets (SDS) are available upon request for every chemical used in our lab kits.
Environmentally Conscious and Small-Scale Chemistry
At Science Interactive, we’re committed to designing tactical lab kits that are safe not only for your students but also for the environment. Every experiment in our course catalogue follows step-by-step directions designed by our team of Ph.D. scientists to reduce risk in the distance-learning environment. In addition, all of our chemical experiments adhere to the principles of Green Chemistry, as described by the American Chemical Society. Our labs are designed to reduce waste, avoid the creation of hazardous substances, and limit demand on diminishing resources.
Professors constantly tell us that the labs we choose to include are the same labs they teach in face-to-face classes, simply scaled down to give students a more manageable experience. In fact, Science Interactive’s experiments follow the principles of small-scale chemistry. Widely used across college campuses today, these methods emphasize lab safety and minimize environmental impact without compromising the integrity of the procedure. When designing our lab experiments, we only provide our students with small, diluted quantities of the chemicals they’ll need, all of which are pre-packaged in order to minimize handling.
Our labs are designed around the principles of green and microscale chemistry to prioritize student safety.
Rigorous Lab Science Curriculum
Extensive Course Content Review Process
We know what you’re thinking. You’ve worked tirelessly to develop rigorous curriculum for your campus course, and you don’t want to sacrifice those standards to teach online. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of higher education experts and on-staff Ph.D. scientists who develop our course content; they ensure that our lab experiments meet or exceed the rigor of a face-to-face course.
After being developed by our team of scientists and instructional designers, each lesson undergoes a preliminary internal review to verify that it meets our pedagogical best practices and strong standard. Then, the lesson goes through several comprehensive peer-reviews from our Board of Advisors, which consists of external Ph.D.’s who are currently teaching at the college and university level. By the time our content reaches your students, it has passed through the critical filters of multiple experts in your field.
And it doesn’t stop there. In order to ensure that our course content reflects the latest research and educational best practices, we review our published courses regularly and make real-time updates through our cloud-based lab management platform. We’re constantly working to both expand and enhance our science curriculum offerings.
State-of-the-Art Lab Equipment and Organic Student Engagement
Far from basic kitchen-science procedures, our advanced lab kits reflect the rigor of a traditional campus lab facility without sacrificing safety. They contain everything your students need to conduct sophisticated scientific procedures from the comfort of their own homes, from state-of-the-art lab equipment and microscale quantities of chemicals to proper protective equipment and detailed instructions.
We know that many professors who have spent their career in a face-to-face learning environment struggle to believe online courses can be as good as the in-person experience. These traditional educators often express their apprehension that students outside a physical laboratory lack the structure needed to properly engage with the material.
As many of our instructors have discovered, however, the flexibility and independence offered by our at-home lab kits actually tend to increase student engagement. Instead of taking instruction from a professor leading the experiment, students in these online science courses are required to take ownership over their own learning. They begin engaging deeply with the labs, forming connections between the activity and their course material, and independently discovering the joy of scientific exploration and discovery.
Without an instructor constantly watching over their shoulder, ready to answer any question at the raise of a hand, students have to regularly solve problems on their own. That ability to think critically is a key component of a student’s science education.
Sophisticated and Engaging Distance Learning Lab Management Platform
Much of our course rigor can be attributed to the advanced lab management platform through which they’re delivered. The SI Cloud is a self-contained lab management platform that lets you customize and teach online lab science courses that you and your students can access anytime, anywhere. With an arsenal of built-in features such as a student dashboard, automatic grading, immediate assessment feedback, gradebook analytics, live data tables, and experiment videos, the ADA-compliant platform aims to reduce your time spent on non-teaching activities so that you can better facilitate your online classroom.
The SI Cloud is the only lab management platform built by lab science instructors for lab science instructors. Working with instructional designers, user experience experts, and world-class developers, our team integrated best practices for science pedagogy into every course, ensuring that the unique needs of both learners and instructors are supported from start to finish.
The lab management platform is built on core principles of science education and bolstered with an array of advanced helpful features. This powerful delivery method, coupled with our rigorous instructional design standards, ensures that your students can make clear and lasting connections between the learning material, the labs they perform, and how it all fits into the big picture.
By bridging the distance learning gap, we’ve discovered that learning science online is more than just possible; it’s beneficial to students and instructors alike. Through the independence of at-home lab kits and the interactivity of our intuitive lab management platform, today’s online science students are becoming more engaged, taking control over their own education, and building a strong and complex learning network between themselves, their peers, and their professors.
As Science Interactive pushes the innovation envelope, our team is clearing a previously immovable roadblock to online science and opening up a new realm of learning possibilities for a variety of students. The digital community that science interactive is cultivating represents the future of lab learning in the emerging global education environment.
It’s access to science education — not just for some, but for everyone.
Ready to get started? Let us help you.
At Science Interactive, we’re determined to take the headache out of your transition from an established classroom course to an engaging online experience. Let us help you join the emerging global education environment.