The Eberly College of Science has a catalogue of about 50 online courses. Many of them use online labs. Here is a list and description of some of the labs we use:
Astro 001 - Astronomical Universe
This course, which is intended for beginning astronomy students, teaches basic astronomy through an immersive video game. All concepts are illustarted within the context of the game. Students get to explore the first Mars colony, visit a virtual reality planetarium, zoom from planet to planet in our Solar System, help an alien find their home planet, and construct a new universe, particle by particle. The faculty team is very hands-on and supports students through interaction on Piazza.
Astro 011 - Elementary Astro Lab
This is the lab section for Elementary Astronomy. Students are assigned weekly lab activities, which take approximately 2 hours per week. The students must also participate in discussions and a semester-long observatory project.
The goals for this course are for students to
- develop skills of recognizing and asking answerable research questions
- design and write clear step-by-step procedures
- systematically collect data
- perform and document analysis of those data
- construct and articulate arguments from evidence
- presenting data visually
To achieve these goals, simple observations, software simulations, and online astronomical data sets and images to explore a number of astronomical phenomena.
Biology 110 - Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity
The goal of this course is to introduce students to fundamental concepts that are common to all organisms and to explore the biological diversity of life on Earth.The course uses web-based tutorials, an online homework system, and online laboratory sessions. The course has 12 online laboratory exercises run through Late Night Labs.
Biology 120N - Plants, Places, and People
While this course does not have an actual lab, it has students critically thinking about plants and the value they provide to the world. The students create a peer teaching lesson and situate their learning within the realm of their particular plant.
Bi SCi 002 - Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution
This course is an introductory course for non-science majors that combines Genetics, Human Genetics, Evolution and Ecology. Students will develop a basic understanding of genetic and biological terms and their importance to our technologically advanced society.
The instructors leverage the McGraw Hill Connect and Learn Smart systems for the course.
Chemistry 005 - Kitchen Chemistry
This course is an introductory chemistry course that incorporates reading, problem-solving, and ‘edible’ home experiments to develop an understanding of chemical concepts and scientific inquiry within the context of food and cooking. Students are required to participate in a Food Safety module. Additionally, they are required to buy certain food items that should be readily available and perform experiments in a kitchen setting.
Chemistry 101 - Introductory Chemistry
This introductory chemistry course incorporates lectures, readings, problem-solving and laboratory experiments in developing an understanding of chemical concepts and practices. Students are required to buy a CHEM 101 General Tool Kit and Lab Kit from the bookstore. Students are also given a list of general materials they can purchase from a store or online.
Chemistry 111 - Experimental Chemistry I
This course is a required course in the Software Engineering online major for Penn State's World Campus. The course contains many integral pieces to the lab experience. Students are required to purchase a Carolina Distance Learning, Penn State CHEM 111 Kit and a subscription to LabArchives (electronic laboratory notebook) subscription.
Forensics 200 - Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation
This course utilizes the book, Crime Lab: A Guide for Nonscientists. The course was designed for students to step into the role of a forensic scientist as they process a case from start to finish - meaning crime scene to courtroom. The textbook provides the details of the case - victim(s), suspect(s), scene details, lab exams, etc. - and supplemental information provided by the instructor helps students better understand the processes and procedures used by real forensic scientists. The student's role, as the criminalist (a scientist who examines physical evidence), is to document the process of evidence collection at the crime scene and then follow the analysis of the evidence once it gets back to the lab. Students document the crime scene, evidence collection, and evidence analysis in case notes. At the end of the semester, Students compile case notes into an evidence summary and a reconstruction/final report in which they will interpret the evidence they have analyzed throughout the semester in order to come up with their own version of how the crime occurred. In other words, they will discover and report whodunit!
Microbiology 107: Elementary Microbiology Laboratory
This course seeks to approximate the lab experience a student would have in a physical laboratory setting on a college campus. While it is not possible to provide students with a hands-on lab experience for most activities, the essential learning process remains the same. Each week students will complete laboratory activities using state of the art simulation technology that is web based so having good access to the internet is necessary. Students will learn microbiology concepts and terminology, engage in various learning activities and take weekly quizzes. This course uses the McGraw Hill Learn Smart system.
Physics 211: General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism
This course is also a required course in the Online Software Engineering Program. It is a calculus-based study of the basic concepts of mechanics: motion, force, Newton's laws, energy, collisions, and rotation. The course employs a combination of tools to create the laboratory experience for students at a distance. Students will be using the IOLab, Piazza, Pearson's Mastering Phyics, as well as labs that are constructed in the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) framework. The course experience is rigorous. Each week is driven by a specific concept that involves group-based discussion boards, tutorials, peer-reviews, lab reports, and quizzes. There will be three more courses to follow in the series.