Review: Virtual Labs Provide Increased Access to Learning On a Budget
How many high school, college and university science labs have the opportunity to allow all of its students to experiment with some of the world’s most dangerous bacteria, toxic chemicals or explosive materials on the most sophisticated equipment available to science? The answer: very few if not none. That’s where Late Nite Labs comes in.
Late Nite Labs is cloud-based virtual lab provider that allows students to conduct experiments on their computers anytime, anywhere. Radiance, the biology lab, and Reactor, the chemistry lab, provide access to nearly 600 lab materials, 700 pieces of equipment, and more than 100 simulations for high school, college and university students.
“It’s equipped with everything you need from a traditional lab and more,” says Harris Goodman, the Vice President of Corporate Developments at Late Nite Labs.
Between the biology and chemistry labs, students can cover a wide variety of topics including DNA analysis, diffusion and osmosis, photosynthesis, bacteria testing, stoichiometry, redox, thermochemistry, gas laws and more. They can even dive into the dangerous, explosive experiments risk free.
“Most students will never get their hands on dangerous materials, simply because they’re too dangerous and too expensive,” says Goodman.
In this virtual environment, students have access to lab experiments, materials and equipment that they otherwise would not in a standard biology or chemistry program.
With digital equipment and resources on Late Nite Labs, professors don’t have to worry about spending extra dollars on limited resources in order to conduct labs. So, students can really get “hands on” with more labs, a wider scope of materials and highly advanced equipment compared to a traditional, in-class course.
“Late Nite Labs blends sophisticated online science simulations with customized laboratory experiments that enhance student learning and provides flexibility for thousands of faculty and students in our system,” says Katherine H. Davis, Distance Learning Specialist of Learning Technology Services at North Carolina Community College System.
For schools that are well endowed and have access to these resources, students can use Late Nite Labs to run pre- and post-labs to prepare and better understand experiments.
“We use Late Nite Labs Reactor chemistry and Radiance biology as pre-labs, the full online laboratory experience, and in a post-lab exercises as a review resource for final exams,” says Davis.
When students conduct labs, their steps are recorded in a detailed Lab Log. The Lab Log helps students and instructors identify any mistakes made in the lab and provide real time feedback. It also helps cut back on major problem in science courses – cheating, says Goodman.
Simulations like Late Nite Labs can help students gain increased exposure to a broader range of science labs without the cost, waste disposal and danger while adding increased value to the learning model.
Because the labs are completed online with anytime, anywhere access, students can fit lab times into their schedule when it is most convenient.
In a recent Community College Week article, Emily Goins, a chemistry instructor at Mitchell Community College says, “The biggest advantages seem to be cost, no chemicals to purchase, no waste to dispose of, the flexibility for students to work on the labs any time, and to repeat them if needed.”
On the Late Nite Labs Blog, you’ll find featured lab ideas and examples. For more visit latenitelabs.com.
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