Reflections on emergency remote teaching for lab courses

Dr. Eric Brevik available to comment on recent research from Natural Sciences Education, a journal of the American Society of Agronomy:

Pivoting to online laboratories due to COVID-19 using the “Science of Agriculture” digital tools: A case study

Core Ideas:

  • COVID-19 led to a rapid shift to online teaching in spring of 2020
  • Lab courses were particularly challenging for remote instructors
  • Animated videos, interactives, and virtual labs helped fill the gap
  • “Science of Agriculture” website provided useful resources

“While pivoting to distance delivery of lectures was achieved with relative ease through platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, pivoting in-person hands-on learning opportunities from lab settings presented more of a challenge,” says Brevik.

“Freely available online activities helped enhance student learning,” explains Brevik. “Some concepts, such as cation exchange capacity or sorption, are more easily visualized using computer graphics and online tools.”

While Brevik does not think online materials were a complete replacement for face-to-face laboratories, they did provide a meaningful way to continue education during a mandated distance delivery environment.

Dr. Erik Brevik is a member of the Soil Science Society of America. Brevik is a professor of geology and soils at Dickinson State University.