Science at a distance presentation


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A CDE seminar held on 19/4/11: Roger Mills, Guest Editor of a special issue of the journal Open Learning on science teaching will give some examples of innovative science teaching at a distance and discuss whether in some areas online teaching of practical skills might be better than traditional face-to-face laboratory or field work

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Science at a distance presentation

  1. 1. Teaching Science at a Distance<br />Roger Mills<br />
  2. 2. Background-It can’t be done<br />‘In 1969  I discussed the Open University with scientific and academic friends and colleagues. With very few exceptions, they were sceptical. It was clearly a preposterous idea, to try to teach university-level science at a distance to part-time students, many of whom would have had little or no secondary school qualifications and many, if not most, of whom would not have studied science before.<br />Perhaps, one might be able to teach some arts subjects this way, but science....? What about laboratory work for a start?’ It can't be done!', they said’ Mike Pentz, Founding Dean of Science OU<br />
  3. 3. Before the web (BW)<br />Summer Schools<br />Day schools<br />Television- Professor Steve Rose quote: Starting with a piece of liver- and other classic introductions- THE (15th Dec 2006)- issues of Health and Safety<br />Home Experimental Kits- McArthur Microscope<br />Early experience of teaching OU Science Foundation Course<br />
  4. 4. Convergence<br />ICT has driven convergence between distance education and more traditional forms of teaching science<br />
  5. 5. AW ( after the web)<br />Gradual recognition of power of the use of the Web in the teaching of science across distance education and traditional institutions<br />Some examples from the Open Educational Resources offered by the OU in science and related topics<br /><br /><br />
  6. 6. Use of web in different educational contexts<br />Adult and primary/secondary level<br />I spot This site is of great interest to children and adult educators. Includes the OPAL Biodiversity survey,<br />In higher education: ‘The Role of Virtual Microscopes in Distance Learning’ Whalley, Kelley and Tindle: The Open University Open Learning, 26, 2, pp 131-138, June 2011<br />Screen-based microscopes .. Offer significant pedagogic advantages for science disciplines involving the observation of natural samples<br />
  7. 7. Further examples from HE<br />Simulations – Blake and Scanlon 2007<br />Behaviour of a pendulum <br />Natural selection<br />Electron Diffraction<br />Virtual Environments <br />Value for Disabled Students<br />And beyond disability ‘Students felt they learnt more from the virtual environment than standing in the cold identifying biological specimens’-Whitelock and Jelffs,2005 ‘Would you rather collect data in the rain or attend a virtual field trip? International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning 15(1-2) pp 121-131<br />
  8. 8. Remote Experiments<br />Manipulation or control of real apparatus at a distance<br />Helpful for all students <br />Trends<br />Experiments providing public access to scientific apparatus or findings ( enhancing the public understanding of science)<br />Consortia where university share facilities ( Durham 1961)<br />PEARL project (Colwell 2002)- aim was to explore how high quality learning could occur by bringing the teaching laboratory to students ( see Scanlon, E., Technology enabled science learning at a distance Open learning June 2011)<br />
  9. 9. Some References<br />Blake, C. and Scanlon, E. (2007). ‘Reconsidering simulations in science education at a distance: features of effective use’. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23(6), pp. 491–<br />Colwell,C et al (2002) ‘Using remote laboratories to extend access to science and engineering’ Computers and Education, 38 (1-3) 65-76<br />Ross, S. and Scanlon, E. (1995).Open Science: the distance teaching and open learning of science subjects. Paul Chapman Publishing<br />Whalley, Kelley and Tindle(2011) ‘The Role of Virtual Microscopes in Distance Learning’ Open Learning, 26, 2, pp 131-138<br />Whitelock, D. and Jelffs, A. (2005). 'Would you rather collect data in the rain or attend a virtual field trip?': Findings from a series of virtual science field studies. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 15(1-2), pp. 121–131<br />Scanlon, E(2011) ‘Technology Enabled science learning at a distance: remote experiments, mobility and open educational resources. Open Learning, 26, 2 pp101-116<br />
  10. 10. References 2<br />Kennepohl, D and Shaw, L (2010) Accessible Elements: Teaching Science On-line and at a distance, AU Press, Athabasca University. Paperback ( $39.95 CAD) and on-line Open Educational Resource at:<br />It can’t be done!<br />Yes it can!<br />