The Tipping Point for Online Science Is Now!
From the book, Teaching Lab Science Courses Online: Resources for Best Practices, Tools, and Technology, by Linda Jeschofnig and Peter Jeschofnig
A major tipping point toward online courses as the primary instructional mode of the future has been reached. Over 4 million higher education students are taking online courses as this book is being written (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakla, & Jones, 2009). Online enrollments are growing at over four times the pace of on-campus enrollments and this trend is expected to continue for at least another decade (Jaschik, 2009). “Responding to rising demand” was cited as the top issue confronting online education over the next two to three years by administrators (Green, 2009).
Still, relatively few institutions and instructors are offering their lab science courses and programs in a fully online format, and this must change. That same tipping point reached by online education in general is also pointing toward a future of increasing demand for online lab science courses. Students want fully online lab science courses. Society needs fully online lab science courses. And it is possible to effectively teach lab science courses fully online.
The examples in this book show that lab science courses can be successfully taught 100% online. They also affirm that college and even high school students can safely and independently learn important science concepts via home-based science experimentation. There is no longer any reason for institutions and instructors to hesitate. The continuing and escalating growth in online education will not abate anytime soon. Online instruction will increasingly become a primary mode of instruction (Allen & Seaman, 2008), so laboratory science courses must be taught in this mode.
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