Math and other STEM courses pose unique challenges, especially online, including the level of difficulty of these courses for some students and the resulting anxiety, complex notation, and the need to re-imagine lab activities for a new teaching and learning environment.
Options for teaching math and other STEM courses:
- If you plan to teach a STEM class using Zoom, introduce concepts and terms by using Canvas (myCourses) pages before the virtual meeting so students can be better prepared.
- Use short, focused videos to demonstrate how to solve problems. Zoom provides a whiteboard which you can use to draw and write.
- Take advantage of these STEM Resources developed by the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR). These resources have been carefully selected and/or created to complement the most commonly enrolled UNH STEM courses. Videos are intended to supplement the information presented in class. Strategies are provided for helping students to structure their study plans for these courses.
Lab courses can be difficult to replicate in an online environment. Your original learning objectives were designed and developed based on the hands-on lab activities. When redesigning your lab course, consider the following:
- Will students have access to the resources at home and be able to safely complete the labs?
- Can online videos or simulations substitute for the hands-on experience? For example, if your students were asked to use a microscope to identify cells, can they use a video or simulation to replicate this process and discuss their observations, or even identify process errors in the simulation?
Consider what students can learn without accessing the lab material or equipment:
- Develop hypotheses
- Design experiments to test the hypotheses
- Visualize and interpret data
- Draw conclusions based on data
An online lab course can be more focused on analysis and conclusions – and application of theory-- instead of hands-on experiences. While students cannot work in the lab, instructors may be able to photograph or produce videos of important components of the lab in order to provide students with the opportunity to make the observations and “collect” data necessary for conducting the appropriate analyses and reaching conclusions.
Make sure your students have access to a computer/tablet and internet so they can utilize all the resources to do virtual lab work. Academic Technology has a limited number of laptops available for loan.
The Resource collection contains a sampling of online resources which can be useful in designing remote labs. We encourage you to search your professional networks, or connect with a librarian, to find appropriate resources for your lab.